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Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: The Floating Pagoda

Tracing a long way back to 1634, I Gusti Agung Putu was the brain behind the construction of a Hindu temple named Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. Due to its neighbouring location to Mount Batur, the eruptions forced the temple’s re-creation in 1926. Therefore, it was rebuilt in safer land, side by side with Lake Bratan, the lake with a notable and most prominent role in the whole island. What is so unique about the temple? What can you do to spend a day here? What is special about the lake? We will reveal all in a second.

If your memory is familiar with depiction of Bali from a postcard--where a pagoda, soothing lake, and crystal sky coexist--then most likely you know the face of Ulun Danu Bratan temple. The most iconic piece from the area is inarguably the 11-tier roof pagoda, “floating” seamlessly on the edge of the loch. This water temple is perched above a sedate and waveless water, where the appearance of the meru (pagoda) and everything around is multiplied with vividly displayed reflection. Up high in 1239m above sea level, sheltered on the flank of Mount Batur, the largest volcano in Bali. Note this as one of the best places to watch sunset, and one of the 5 must-see temples to visit in Bali all at once.

There are 4 majestic temple complexes and 1 stupa: Lingga Petak Pura is the 3-tier meru, dedicated to worship Shiva god. Puncak Mangu Pura is the 11-tier one, was built in dedication for Vishnu god. Teratai Bang Pura is the main temple, functioning to worship Brahma god. Dalem Purwa Pura, the wondrous temple devoted to worship the goddess of the lake, Danu goddess.

“Ulun Danu”, which is the second largest lake in the island, means “head of the lake”. The initial purpose of this site’s establishment is in consequence of adoration and honoring the goddess of lakes and rivers, Ida Batari Dewi Ulun Danu. Lake Bratan is the primary wellspring of the rice fields plantation and irrigation system not only throughout Bedugul, but throughout Bali. Crop harvest that is obviously supported by consistent watering, is the symbolization of prosperity. That is the reason this sacred place is where people pray for fertility and opulence. Also coming from the lake flowing in high altitude, expect the arrival of gentle breeze blowing occasionally, and the appearance of a layer of thin mist swaying right above the water. The whole place looks intensely mystical and fantasy-like.

Alongside the pagodas scattered all around, have a tour traversing the beautiful flower garden that looks similar to painting art predominated by green, red, and yellow colors. As the ornaments to the garden, some cement statues moulded into lions, owls, and fishes are assigned to occupy a spot. If your curiosity to the lake is rising, you should rent a little swan paddle boat to paddle cross-cutting the water. If your mood was telling you to go for calmer activity, choose a point along the lake’s edge and throw your fishing rod. Just like paddle boat, you can also rent fishing gear.

This floating temple “floats” in mountainous region in Bedugul, Candikuning village. The overall temperature is slightly lower and the morning is pleasantly fresh. April and May are feasibly the best time to visit since it is around dry season and the tourists visit is not too crazy. The gate opens from 8 AM to 5 PM, yet unlimited for worship purposes. Entrance fee for kids costs Rp, 25.000 while adults costs twice as much as Rp, 50.000, so better prepare some cash with exact amount to not be bothered with changes. Those rupiah spent in Ulun Danu temple will return its worth in such priceless moments.

The temple along with the lake deserve a time and spot in your Bali’s travelling schedule. This entire destination is condensed with spiritual significance and ingrained cultures, making it a spotlight you cannot neglect. It can be your solo restful journey, a calm date for two, and even an educational trip for the whole family. Inform yourself with the etiquettes of visiting temples in Bali and choose your transportation. May you have an unforgettable visit.. and photos in Ulun Danu Bratan!