Monday, May 14, 2012

Gunung Kawi and Tirtha Empul

In April we went to Bali. This is our third trip - and yes, we still want to go back. We love Bali, and Bali loves us! I think we could live in Bali, we'd fit right in!

Jennifer and I love to visit places of worship in Southeast Asia. Here we are in Gunung Kawi with my mom and Craig. Since we had seen quite a few major sites, this time we chose to visit a few sites that are a bit older. Gunung Kawi, was built sometime in 1100 A.D. To put that in perspective, Angkor Wat in Cambodia was built around the same time.

Gunung Kawi is located at the bottom of a canyon with a river running through it and rice terraces located all around. Just the walk to the temple area was beautiful!

The temple itself was carved into the sides of the canyon walls. There are 10 of these carvings in all, each of them about 23 feet tall!

The monks who used to live near the temple also carved their living quarters into the rocks.

Here is a close up of one of the monk's rooms. Doors and windows were smaller back then to provide privacy to the inhabitants. The carpeting is made of all-natural renewable fiber, but it only comes in one color: mossy green.

On the hike out we got a little thirsty. Luckily, we found an entrepreneur along the path who graciously sold coconuts to dry-mouthed tourists who huffed and puffed their way out of the canyon.

Coconut milk, while not that sweet, is naturally full of electrolytes and is very "cooling". I enjoyed my drink of nature's Gatorade!

After the walk out of Gunung Kawi we stopped at Tirtha Empul. We visited this temple last time in Bali. On this visit, we wanted to take a dip in the natural spring waters found here.

So, we got in, sarongs and all! We stopped by each fountain and let the cold spring water soak our cares away!

We visited each of the fountains - except the two that are reserved for funerals only. The water was really clean and cold. In the heat of the day, it was really refreshing!

Afterwards, we changed and visited the rest of the temple. This is the area where the spring water comes from. If you look really closely, you can see the magical fish that inhabits the spring. He looks like a cross between a catfish and an eel. It's considered good luck to see this fish, and our tour guide has only seen it twice in his life!

Our guide, Ngurah Rai, or Rai, was excellent as always and helped us understand all of the customs associated with the Tirtha Empul temple. He and Craig are good friends!

Here we are at one of the gates leaving the temple with a carving of Barong above the doorway. Six months ago, the brick was clean and red. Things grow fast in the jungle! We had a fabulous time, and after our dip in the spring we didn't feel hot the rest of the day! Stay tuned for more posts from Bali!

1 comment:

  1. Great post and description - very lucid and pictorial. Except that it is coconut water or juice that you drank, not "coconut milk" which is the milky white product of squeezing grated old coconut flesh, "santan" we call it in Malay, and local Hokkien.
    Looking forward to your next travel posts.