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Gunung Kawi Temple


Gunung Kawi (Historical Site) is a name of place located in Tampak Siring District famous with the ancient relics including old temple look like the tombstone (grave), Hindu Temple and an ancient miniature of old Balinese living concept made from the stones. The complex of ancient relics from the primordial era is located beside of small river with rice terrace surround it. The green panoramic views of rice field with the breeze of tropical atmosphere are the additional of this tourist destination. This place has been opened for public and appointed as a tourist destination by the local government which is many visited by tourists every day despite its location far enough from the parking area passing through the stairs surrounded by the beautiful rice terrace.


In the inscription of Tengkulak A year 945 Saka had been issued by Marakata King that the ancient heritage complex located at Pakerisan River was named Katyagan Amarawati. Pakerisan River is also called by Jalu based on the inscription carved on the greatest temple door saying Haji Lumahing Jalu. Later on the name of Gunung Kawi is given by indicating that these ancient relics are the temple complex because temple is symbolizing the mount.

It should be aware that there are at least 3 temples with the same name of Gunung Kawi existed in Bali Island those are Gunung Kawi at Sebatu Village, Gunung Kawi at Keliki Village and Gunung Kawi at Babitra Village.

The Existence of Temple Complex

The relic ancient complex of Gunung Kawi began to be established in the 10th century AD. The establishment began in the era of Udayana around 989 AD. In the reign of Marakata around 1023 AD, this achient relics called Katyagan Amarawati and then the process of development is continued in the reign of Anak Wungsu allegedly reigned between 1049 – 1077 AD. Gunung Kawi is an ancient relic complex consisted of 2 parts:


  1. Temple Complex
    Temple complex is consisted on one row. The row located in east of Pakerisan River is consisted of 5 temples and west of river consisted of 5 temples scattered on the north with 4 temples and another one located far away in the south of other temples. The row located in east of river there is a temple set in the north with the Kediri type script on the top of temple says Haji Lumahing Jalu. Haji means king, Lumah means made a temple or Sidha Dewata that mean back to the heaven. Meanwhile the word of Ing Jalu means in Pakerisan. The whole means of those words are the king had been made a temple at Pakerisan. Based on that reason, it has been predicted that temple for Udayana King.  In the south of this temple right on the top of the second temple existing an inscription say Rwa Nakira which that mean the second children. Based on those scripts that temple is for both children of Udayana King those are Marakata and Anak Wungsu. Meanwhile the other temples are devoting to the king’s wife. There 4 other temples located in south part of this complex are alleged for prime minister or king assistants because on these temple written the scripts says Rakyat (people) those are for the high official of kingdom.
  2. Vihara Complex (Vihara = Buddhist Temple)
    Vihara Complex is used for a residence and a place for meditation. It is consisted of several niches, centrally located in east of Pakerisan River precisely in south part of temple complex. The other niches are dispersed and located close to temple complex. One of the niches is a cave located in the northern corner separately with other niches complex, it seems that serve a special niche. In the cave where in the middle of the floor, there is a hole. May be the hole had been used as a place to put the ceremony material in form of Api Homa.


Based on those reasons, the function of cave is predicted as a meditation place. In front of cave, there are several pieces of Pripih, a square stone with 9 holes that formerly placed in the temple. The existence of 9 holes on Pripih is used as a premise that the Pripih