The island of Bali, which is also one of the most interesting provinces in Indonesia, is ready to satisfy the curiosity of all those, who seek ruins. The contrast of ruined temples like Gunung Kawi and the neighboring rice fields creates a welcoming interior.
The temple is located only 35 km (21 miles) away from the capital city of Denpasar. The nearest town is called Tampaksiring. The walking path to the 10th century temple leads you through magical rice fields. 315 stone steps await you at the end. There are absolutely no artificial sounds, only the refreshing noise of the river Pakerisan and the sighs of labor from the nearby rice fields.
The temple is partly in ruins, but you can still see the towers, called Candi. They were built to honor royalties and their favorite concubines. A shadow of mystical origin makes it even more interesting for tourists. Some insist that towers were specifically constructed for King Udayana, his wife, concubine, and two sons. After becoming a king, the youngest son called Anak Wungsu exchanged his kingdom and royal life with a life of a religious hermit.
Another theory suggests that the tombs belong to Anak Wungsu, his wives, and concubines. The third theory is about a mythical giant, who carved the tombs with his fingernails overnight.
Considering the coincidences in two of the most realistic theories, these towers are most probably tombs, and one of them definitely belongs to Anak Wungsu. It is also highly possible that a few lucky concubines did after all end up here, too. Depending on the creativity of imagination, some people may consider the giant theory equally realistic.
The Governor of Bali has been negotiating for listing the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple truly deserves it, as it looks completely untouched by modern humans and needs to be presented to the vast network of eco-travelers.
A Good Meditation Spot
There are a few caves right behind the temple, which monks used for meditation in ancient times. If meditation is among your hobbies, you’ll be glad to know that this temple is seldom crowded. This means that you can revive the old traditions. Choose a cave that appeals the most, get comfortable, and start the session.
Visit the Rice Fields
The best time to visit Gunung Kawi is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The rice fields look extremely charming under the lighting of the rising sun.
By the way, locals travel miles to their rice fields and harvest the goods. Western travelers will be allured by their tranquility. The fields look like a set of natural cascades, consisting of wide stairs that rise up to the hills and fall down again. Depending on the season, they might look like a labyrinth of small ponds. You might not be allowed to enter the fields, but it is worth finding a convenient spot to have access to a wonderful panorama.