Bali is well-known for more than only its beautiful scenery, idyllic beaches, thriving culture, and delectable cuisine. Its temples, often a mix of Hindu, Chinese and Balinese architecture, are works of art unto themselves and contribute greatly to the city’s tourism inflow. Besides the temples, there are numerous monuments that have great historical significance. Bali’s architecture is one of the most distinctive architectural designs and is widely recognized as one of the most admired and well-liked tropical architectural subgenres. Bali is frequently referred to as the “Island of Gods” and is a well-known travel destination for tourists as well as those looking for a place of spiritual solace. (Also read: Bali travel guide to best beaches, resorts, cuisine spots, religious sites, caves, volcanoes and more )
Five must-see architectural landmarks in Bali
Tri Uma Wisata Tours & Travel shared with HT Lifestyle some must-visit architectural marvels of Bali.
1. Gunung Kawi Temple
Gunung Kawi Temple, located in Tampaksiring, Bali, is a remarkable archaeological site and Hindu temple complex known for its unique rock-cut shrines. Dating back to the 11th century, it consists of ten impressive candi (shrines) carved directly into the rugged cliffs and surrounded by lush tropical foliage. These majestic structures are dedicated to ancient Balinese royalty and are believed to be memorials, with some suggesting they were created to honour King Anak Wungsu and his queens.
To reach the temple, visitors must descend a long flight of stone steps that lead to a picturesque river valley, adding to the temple’s serene and mystical ambience. Gunung Kawi Temple is not only a place of religious significance but also a captivating archaeological marvel and a must-visit destination for those exploring Bali’s cultural heritage.
2. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
Dewi Danu, the Hindu lake goddess, is one among the many other gods that have been honoured at this temple. It is situated along Bratan Lake and thus the name Ulun Danu means ‘above the lake’. It takes around two hours to drive from Denpasar, the Capital City to Bedugul, where it sits on the banks of Lake Bratan The intricate statues and carvings that decorate the temple are its most striking features. The design is a mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. The mountainous terrain and the lust green rice paddies make for a stunning backdrop.
3. Taman Ujung
Taman Ujung is a water garden in Sukawati, Gianyar, that was once home to a King. Established in the 19th Century by King Sukawati, it is a stunning example of Balinese garden design. Visitors to Ujung Water Palace will be treated to a visual feast provided by the palace’s ornate pillars, gardens, and statues, and the main attraction is that they have access to the pool for a quick swim, if they so wish to.
4. Bajra Sandhi Monument
It is a historical landmark that is situated in the heart of Densapar, Bali’s capital city. Inaugurated in 1963, standing tall at 45 metres, it was constructed to honour the fortitude and resolve of the Balinese people during their fight for independence from foreign powers. Designed in the style of a Balinese temple, the structure has historical reliefs depicting moments from Indonesia’s past.
5. Goa Gajah
Just outside of Ubud, at a point where two rivers converge, is where you will find Elephant Cave or Goa Gajah Temple. Ancient stone buildings and engravings in rock walls, dated to the 9th and 10th centuries are what this temple is known for. The complex has numerous fountains and pools, thought to have been designed to fend off evil spirits. The ancient temple is easily identified by the ornately carved elephant’s head which is prominently carved at the entrance.