The ‘Mother temple’, the most important, largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, is built nearly 1000 meters up on the slopes of sacred Mount Agung. It probably dates back 2000 years, but certainly over 1000 years, when it was dedicated to the dragon-god Besakih who is believed to inhabit the sacred mountain. The widespread complex consists of 23 separate but related temples, built on six levels.

The main temples are, to the left, Pura Batu Madeg, which is dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver, symbolised by its black banners. One the right side, with red banners, lays Pura Kiduling Kreteg, dedicated to Brahma, the creator.

The central, largest and most important temple is Pura Penataran Agung, devoted to Shiva, the destroyer, represented with white banners. Long stairs lead up to a large split gate. The temple behind this gate entails numerous courts to the left and right, leading up to the main spire or Meru structure. A lotus throne or padmasana, forms the ritual focus of the entire complex.

Besakih from top


Besakih is designed to lead the spiritual person upward and closer to the sacred Mount Agung. Stairs, thus, are an important part of the temple’s philosophy. Stairs are present everywhere on the temple complex.

For visitors with difficulty to climb stairs but wanting to get up and discover the upper levels of the temple, we organise assistance and carriers. Other visitors may prefer to enjoy the spectacular view of the temple from ground-level. Another option is to take, by permission, a side-way up to view the complex from above, at Pura Gelap, the dark temple.

For detailed information with photos about accessibility at Pura Besakih contact us.

Pura Gelap