The Mother Temple called Besakih Temple is the most sacred Hindu temple in Bali. The Mother Temple is located right at the bottom of Gunung Agung (Mount Agung), the largest volcano in Bali.
Every Hindu in Bali is expected to visit the Mother Temple at least once a year. Some people have to journey for 2 -3 hours to get there though they make the journy to pay their respects at this temple.
The grounds of Besakih Temple are on the slopes of the volcano and are terraced with various temples. Each of the temples has special meaning and a place to worship to the various gods of Hinduism including Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. They also have special temples for different types of people to prey at. For example they have a temple specifically for metal workers. There are also shrines which is for all to prey in.
Through out the year there are numerous special festivals at the temple and heaps of local Balinese will visit at this time. The temple grounds are decked out with colourful decorations and traditional flags. Out the front of the temple there are heaps of food stalls selling lots of yummy foods and drinks. All the local Balinese are dressed in their traditional costumes reserved for such occasions.
You need to be dressed respectfully when visiting all Hindu temples in Bali, especially this most reverred temple. Your legs should be covered as well as your shoulders so no singlets. If you do arrive wearing shorts (it is hot after all in Bali) you can rent a sarong at the front office before you enter the temple.
When you arrive at the entrance of the Mother Temple you will be greeted by men who will graciously offer to be your guide and take you throgh the temple. They will insist that you have to have a guide to enter (this is not technically true but it is well worth getting an explanation of this huge temple. They will give you an outrageous price of around 400,000Rp for their tour. This is probably the same as it costs to hire a car and driver for a whole day in Bali so to get a 1 hour tour for this price is ridiculous. You can bargain them down to a reasonable amount, I’d say around 50,000Rp is worth it as they will tell you some interested facts about the temple.
Throughout the grounds of the temple you will find some of the amazing moving plants! This small fern like plants called Mimosa pudica rapidly curl up when you touch their fonds. They are only very small plants so ask your guide to find some for you. They are amazing! Nature never ceases to amaze me!
The best time to visit the Mother Temple is morning times before it gets too hot. This is mainly because this is usually the best time to see and take good photos of Gunung Agung. In the afternoons the volcano is usually shroded in clouds so you are unable to see the peak of the volcano.
Getting to the Mother Temple in Bali
Gunung Agung is located in the north east corner of Bali close to Candidasa. The travel from the southern tourist areas of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak will take around 2 - 2.5 hours to get to the temple. You can hire a car and driver for the day in Bali for around 450,000Rp – 500,000Rp.
If making the trip to the Mother Temple at Gunung Agung you could make a great day trip by visiting the temple in the morning and on the way back, stop at the Bali Safari and Marine Park.