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TEMPLES

UBUD

Gunung Kawi (Jl. Tampak Siring - Tel # 361-235-300)

Gunung Kawi is the largest and maybe also the most impressive of the old monuments on Bali. Like Goa Gajah this site is around 1,000 years old, probably built at the end of the 11th century. Gunung Kawi was first discovered by Europeans in 1920, even if the local population had knowledge of it a long time before that. The monument is located just south of Tampaksiring city, about 40 km north of Denpasar. It was in this area Hinduism first got a foothold on Bali.

The site consists of a total of 10 temples, or shrines, carved out of the mountain. Each of these stands inside a 7 meter high niche for protection against the weather. The shrines are only facades; there are no inner chambers. The 10 monuments are spread on three sites; 5 are located east of the river; 4 are on the west side; and one is built on a separate site about 1 km further south in the valley.

There are differing opinions on what Gunung Kawi really means. One explanation is "carvings in mountain,” another “mountain of poetry.” It's also not clear who built the monument and why. Like Goa Gajah, and all other ancient sites between the Pakrisan and Petanu rivers, this one is, according to old tradition, carved out of the mountain in one night by the giant Kebo Iwo.

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