Photo: By NaidNdeso - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

There is an archeological site called Gunung Kawi in Bali. It is different from the Gunung Kawi temple in Malang, Java Island. The Balinese Gunung Kawi is situated in Tampaksiring village. In olden days, the Central Government of Bali kingdom was also located in Tampaksiring.

Gunung Kawi isn’t the name of a mountain in Bali, but it is one of the cultural heritages where everybody can have a close look at the outstanding collection of ancient shrines carved into the surface of the cliff.

Besides the unique rock cut architecture, there’re a number of caves which are believed to be the ideal places for meditation. Only a few spiritual gurus or fakirs have ever reached the state of enlightenment. They’re free from all the sufferings of the world and will never be back to samsara.

This historical site was founded in 11th century during the reign of King Udayana. It was first discovered by a Dutch researcher in 1920. According to the folklore, this Gunung Kawi was built by a giant called Kebo Iwa. He cut his long fingernails and used them to carve all the shrines into the sheer rock face with inner power. A work that needed a lot of time to finish could be done by him overnight.

There is a long staircase which has 315 stairs leading to Gunung Kawi. This is the way for visitors to reach the temple complex. It should be a very good physical exercise while walking down the staircase. The rustle of the falling leaves and the flow of water in the river give a strong impression that this place is indeed a part of the Western Pure Land.

The rock cut shrines are divided into two groups by Pakerisan River, four are on the west of the river and five are on the east side.

The west shrine complex is equipped with bathing pool and fountains. It’s so amazing to look at each of the hollow in the cliff rock in which an artistic shrine can be seen.

Menstruating women are banned from visiting this sacred place. The pilgrims entering the shrine complex should wear a kind of Balinese sarong which is specially used in worship. Every visitor should also buy the entrance ticket and it doesn’t cost much.

I recommend bringing some snacks and water because the scared location is a kilometer away from the entrance door, and you should walk down the stairway containing hundreds of stone steps that will consume a lot of energy. While you’re walking down, you’ll feel as if you were practicing kungfu at Shaolin Temple.

Gunung Kawi Ubud is about 40 km from Denpasar. It needs an hour to arrive there by car or motorcycle. Tourists can take the shortcut from Gianyar town and it needs only half an hour to reach the sacred site. If you don’t drive your own car, you may take taxi or tour bus.

There‘re lots of souvenir stalls selling various kinds of souvenirs at this tourist attraction. Visitors stand in line at the food stalls to buy delicious food to satisfy their appetites. The foods at this sacred place are so tasty, which are hard to find at any expensive restaurants in the city.

My friend said that he met a white bearded old man with a walking stick in his dream after visiting Gunung Kawi Ubud. The old man advised him to stay calm and stop worrying so much about his bankruptcy.

Slow but sure, my friend was able to overcome every of the difficulties he had encountered. He made enough money to set up a new company. I asked him whether he had performed money ritual at that sacred temple complex. He said he didn’t know any get rich ritual and told me that he went there just to pray for good luck. Fortunately, all his wishes and dreams come true at last. I’m not sure whether he got help from the gods and goddesses or it’s just the self fulfilling prophecy.


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