Join local worshipers, and photographers from all over the world, at one of Bali’s most scenic water temples.
Rising from the shore of Lake Bratan, and spectacularly backdropped by one of Bali’s highest peaks, is Ulun Danu Temple. A fascinating window into Balinese history, culture and spirituality, this stunning temple and its surrounding landscape are a photographer’s dream.
Ulun Danu Temple is a water temple; the name means “the beginning of the lake.” It is a directional temple, which means, according to Hinduism, its function is to guard Bali from evil spirits.
When you enter you will first see a stupa, or burial mound. Then, on the shore of the lake, the Pura Teratai Bang, or main temple, with its dark, tiered roof and surrounding garden.
Explore the four temples within the complex, each devoted to a different god or goddess. The Lingga Petak Temple is devoted to the Lord of Siva; Penataran Pucak Manggu Temple to the God of Vishnu; Terate Bang Temple to the Brahma God; and Dalem Purwa Temple to the Danu Goddess. Two types of ceremonies are performed here; the twice yearly temple ceremony, and the Pakelem ceremony, which is performed as needed.
Because it is 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, this part of Bali is cooler, so pack a jacket. Walk along the shore and enjoy the expansive views. The lake itself is open to the public. Rent a boat and float out to the middle to capture some incredible photographs, or join the locals and drop a line for some fishing.
Ulun Danu Temple is located in the Bedugul area, 31 miles (50 kilometers) north of Denpasar. Bemos (mini-buses) service the Bedugul area. To get to the temple, rent a car or a motorcycle, take a tour with a local operator, or hire a driver and guide. If you are feeling fit, rent a bike and explore the area on two wheels. Allow anywhere from an hour to half a day to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.