Posted by: tourtaxiubud | December 2, 2008

Now in Bali: Nick’s Ubud Tour & Taxi !!!

Call  Nick : 0062 (Indonesia) 85 237 545 885

Mail Nick :

Ubud Tour & Taxi is established in Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. From Ubud no place is too far to visit in one day.

We offer our guests a pick-up from any place to make an interesting tour through the beautiful landscape of Bali and show  many interesting places and buildings.

You can make a choice of the programs we show in the website, or you can discuss your own program with our driver Nick.

He speaks very well English and can tell you a lot about the Balinese culture: his culture.
Because, however he is interested in the culture of his guests,  he loves the culture and the religion of his own country.

If you want to see more; if you want to know more; if you want to understand more: let Nick bring you to the special places  and let him explain the meanings of it.

For a fair price he shows you the pearls of Bali.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | April 11, 2009

Prices from Ubud to other destinations




call   Nick: 0062 (Indon) 85 237 545 885
mail Nick:

Ubud – Airport………RP 195.000
Ubud – Sanur…………RP 140.000
Ubud – Kuta……………RP 200.000
Ubud – Lovina………..RP 385.000
Ubud – Padangbai…..RP 200.000
Ubud – Kintamani…..RP 250.000
Ubud – Amed………….RP 400.000
Ubud – Candidasa……RP 250.000
Ubud – Gilimanuk……RP 700.000

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | April 11, 2009

Nice tours to famous destinations on Bali




1 Singaraja – Lovina


*        Mengwi:     Royal Family Temple

*        Bedugul:     Botanical Garden & Lake Bratan

*        Gigit:          Waterfall with nice scenery

*        Lovina:       Beach in the north of Bali

*        Banjar:       Hot Spring

*        Minduk:     Coffee Plantation

price: US$ 60,- (RP 700.000)



2 Sunset Tour


*        Sayan:                  Rice terraces

*        Mengwi:               Royal Family Temple

*        Belayu:                 Batik painting

*        Alas Kedaton:      Holy Monkey Forest, big bats

*        Tanah Lot:           Sunset at the beautiful temple in sea

price: US$ 42,- (RP 500.000)



3 Bedugul Tour


*        Sayan:        Rice terraces

*        Mengwi:     Royal family Temple

*        Belayu:       Batik Painting

*        Bedugul:     Botanical garden & Lake Bratan

price: US$ 42,- (RP 500.000)



4 Kintamani – Besakih Tour


*        Goa Gajah:                   Elephant Cave Temple

*        Tampak Siring:   Holy Spring Temple

*        Penelokan:           View over Mount & Lake Batur

*        Besakih:               The big Mother Temple

                                      with a view on Mount Agung

*        Bukit Jambul:      Nice view on rice terraces

*        Klungkung:          Old Court for Justice

                                      of Klungkung Kingdom

price: US$ 47,– (RP 550.000)



5 Kintamani – Volcano Tour


*        Goa Gajah:                   Elephant Cave Temple

*        Pejeng:                 Mount Temple

*        Gunung Kawi:     The Rock Temple

*        Tampak Siring:   Holy Spring Temple

*        Penekolan:           View over Mount & Lake Batur

*        Kintamani:           Ulun Danu Temple

price: US$ 38,- (RP 450.000)



6 Besakih / famous Mother Temple


*        Goa Gajah:                   Elephant Cave Temple

*        Gianyar:              Batik Factory/hand weaving

*        Bangli:                 big Kehen Temple

*        Besakih:               The big Mother Temple

                                      with a view on Mount Agung

*        Bukit Jambul:      Nice view on rice terraces

*        Klungkung:          Old Court for Justice

                                      of Klungkung Kingdom

price: US$ 42,- (RP 500.000)



7 Besakih & East-Bali


*        Gianyar:              Batik Factory/hand weaving

*        Klungkung:          Old Court for Justice

                                      of Klungkung Kingdom

*        Besakih:               The big Mother Temple

                                      with a view on Mount Agung

*        Sebetan:               Salak Fruit Plantation

*        Candidasa:          Nice beach and terraces

*        Tenganan:           Original Hindu Village & ikat weaving

*        Goa Lawah:         Bat Cave Temple & salt products

*        Kusamba:            Fisherman’s Village

price: US$ 50,- (RP 600.000)



8 Uluwatu Tour


*        Peliatan:     Painting Exhibition

*        Mas:           Woodcarving Centre

*        Celuk:        Gold & Silver Centre

*        Denpasar:  Historical Museum of Bali

                             (closed on Monday)

*        Kuta:          White beach

*        Uluwatu:     Temple at searocks

price: US$ 50,- (RP 600.000)


NB entrance fees are not included


These tours are meant as a suggestion.

Of course it will be possible to make your own tour-program.

You can discuss this with your driver and tourleader.

The price of a tour depends on the time and the distance you need.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | April 11, 2009




Beyond the last houses of Tampaksiring is a road leading to the famous watering place known as Tirtha Empul. A general survey of the scene is available from the resthouse high above the sacred spring, reachable by steps. In the nearby Pura Sakenan in the village of Manukaya, an inscribed stone mentions the name Tirtha di (air) Mpul, which was founded by Sang ratu (Sri) Candra Bhaya Singha Varmadeva in the territory of the village of Manuk raya. The inscription, in Old Balinese, covers both sides of the stone. Much damaged, and not yet fully or reliably deciphered, it apparently refers to the formation of two ponds here. The text is dated Saka 882 (A.D. 960, according to Damais; Stutterheim and Goris read 884 – 962) Tirtha Empul is still , for all Gianyar, most sacred. In the past. All Gianyar barong dance clubs went there to bathe their barong masks. While editing the Manukaya inscription, Stutterheim related that every year on the exact date of Tirtha Empul’s foundation, on purnama ning Kapat (full moon of Kartika, the fourth month) the inscribed stone was brought for bathing; this may be one reason it is so badly worn. Since nobody knew the inscription’s contents before Stutterheimread it, this date must have been handed down orally. Now the stone is brought down much less regularly.




Tirtha Empul is worth visiting for its sacred wells, which draw from part of the Pakerisan’s sources. It was to Tirtha Empul’s sacred well that the gods came for restauration after Mayadavana tried to poison them. Apart from a few ruined bases and some detached fragments, the buildings in these venerable surroundings (duly labled as to their functions), are modern.


During the course of a renovation of Pura Pegulingan, in the same village of Manukaya (Banjar Basangasmbu) in the late 1980s, the remains of the foundation of a stupa were found, in the middle of which stood a miniature stupa (height about 80 cm)




To the south of Tirtha Empul is another spring, beautifully situated under a large tree. People bath their kerises, the locals told us, in the water from a neighboring bathing place (pancuran). Atop a small hill beside this spring is a pura with the remains of an old building and a few sculptures. In the mid-1980s, the remains of a (free standing) prasada were discovered at Mengening. After excavation they were marked out for restauration.

From: A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | April 9, 2009

GOA GAJAH, the Elephant Cave



Goa Gajah, situated just south of the road between Peliatan and Bedulu, is clearly indicated by a concentration of curio shops. Today it seems difficult to believe that until 1922 or 1923 this well-advertised antiquity was known only to local people. It is even more remarkeble that only a comparatively short time ago an extensive watering place was discovered here – one whose existence was unsuspected even by villagers.


Goa Gajah was first mentioned in a report to the Archeological Service by L.C. Heyting, a young civil servant at Singaraja visiting Central Bali (1923) He referred to a “monster’s head with elephant’s ears”, deserving expert study. A similar reference ( “a cave overshadowed by an enormous elephant’s mouth”) led Nieuwenkamp to the Goa Gajah region dduring his third visit to Bali (1925). By this time Bali had been opened to visitors, and Nieuwenkamp could reach the Goa Gajah by then by motor car : a foreshadowing of things to come!


The name “Elephant Cave” perhaps originated with early visitors, mistakenly interpreting the monster’s head as an elephant, or from villagers with the same misunderstanding (or else refers to certain elephantine sculptures, presently discussed). There bmay also be a (much older) connection with a gajah. A Balinese place named Lwa Gajah, ‘Elephant Water’ is in fact mentioned in the 1365 Nagarakrtagama as the seat of a high Buddhist official. Since it occurs immediately after Badahulu (nearby Bedulu) this Lwa Gajah, named for some reason unknown to us, may very well have later given its name to the cave.


After his first visit to the site, Nieuwenkamp rightly had doubts about the head above the cave being an elephant’s. Its face was badly damaged. There was no sign of a trunk. Neither the ears nor the ear ornaments suggested an elephant. For some time the question remainde unanswered, but a clearing of the rock’s surface and recent restorations left no doubt about there being no elephant whatever in the rock wall.


The cave lies south of the road , several meters below its level, and must be reached by a steep path. Whereas for a long time since its discovery, the situation of the Elephant Cave and the little pura in front of it had notably changed, the 1954 excavation of the watering place gave new character to the cave’s surroundings.

The interior cave was first reconnoitered by Nieuwenkamp, who paid no attention to bystanders’ remarks that “there was nothing inside”. The cave consists of a man-made T-shaped excavation opening to the south. Recent research has revealed that there may have been a stone screen (aling aling) in front of the cave’s entrance. Such screens saveguard dwellings and sanctuaries against evil influences. According to Balinese views, such influences may be expected from the south, which the cave faces. In Central and South Bali south is kelod, towards the sea and the Nether World, thus dangerous.


The entrance, 2 metrs high and only 1 meter wide, leads to a very dark interior. (a flashlight comes in handy here, but most of the time there is some obliging person around who will light up the darkness with an oil lamp for a small fee.) The T’s straight leg consists of a porch and a passage which together penetrate into the rock over a depth of around 9 meters.

The cave contains 15 niches hewn out of the walls. Some of them are long. They may have served as sleeping places. Those along the lateral passages are short and may have served several pusposes.

To the right of the entrance are two vagely engraved grafitty in the wall (inside), one above the other. The upper one seems older than the second and recalls the writing of an A.D. 1074 inscription. The meaning of the engravings is not clear. If the writing is correctly dated, the cave itself might have been made early in the 11th century. Sculptures found in the neighborhood cover a longer timespan.


The cave has been cut into a projecting part of a rock wall whose surface was simultaneously streightened on eihter side , the more to emphasize the salient, which has a flat surface. The salient’s front and lateral faces are entirely covered with sculptures suggesting stylized mountain scenery interspersed with large and forcefully modeled leaves. Animals and monsters climb the rocks, peep around corners or comprise funny scenes. The animal kingdom is further represented by a snake in its hole, another highly stylized snake, a tortoise, and some indistinct animal. Two little figures climb a rock. One, whose loincloth is sliding down, has his genitals showing. In addition there are a monster’s head with pointed ears, a lingga. The baroque scene presents a mysterious mountain forest, set apart from the civilized world of human beings.


In the center of it all emerges the enormous monstrous face which ever since the early 1920s has intrigued visitors and which still leaves us with many questions. It most probably is a wich for the ear ornaments are female.The combination of a monster’s head and a hermit’s cave is also known in east-Java. If it originates from the kala heads over a candi’s entrance, it is a version turned fully Balinese: a real witch taken from the theatricals and impressed upon the rock. It is difficult to say whether this specific witch should be considered ‘threatening’. A Balinese, for that matter, likes threatening temple decorations, which make him feel safe from the dangerous powers repelled by the ugly faces. The witch seems to emerge with all her powers from the mysterious world enclosing her, and to which she belongs. In the 1950’s a large piece of the witch head which had fallen down was restored to its original place.


Until 1954 several figurative spouts stood on eigther side of the cave’s entrance: one shaped as a two-handed Ganesha, the others (6) as the upper halves of female figures. They evidently came from some watering place in the neighborhoud. In the early 1950’s the spouts were provisionally placed around a small pond not far from the cave. Water came from a well via an old tunnel parallel to the rock. But the spout figures did not fit this situation because there was no connection between the busts and the pond’s border. In 1954 the flat courtyard in front of the cave was excavated. Rock bottom was struck around 50 cm, without any soil finds other than the wall screen in front of the cave.


Acting on information received from locals, the field was widened with the border south of the cave. There, so was said, were some stone steps. The beginning of a three fold flight of steps was found, which after excavation led to a former watering place. It consists of two separate partions, probably one for women and one for men. Each formerly had been connected with a water system by three figurative spouts, shaped like standing nymphs. Only the lower part of these figures were still in situ. They proved to fit the upper parts found in front of the cave! The watering place could be restored and its original function re-established. The walls of the basins were renewed to construct an aestetically satisfactory and workable bathing unit. The back wall’s top is in a line with the courtyard in front of the cave. Part of the wall between the two groups of three spouting figures has not been restored; the narrow basin’s exact layout has not been ascertained. The Ganesha spout found with the other figures in front of the cave may have been situated in the middle basin and provisionally given a place there, albeit unconnected with the water system. The other spouting figures are fed from the original water system.

The lower part of the figures was carved from the living rock. Presumably, masses of earth, and carved stones from walls or gateways slipped down from the side of the stairs, eventually covering part of the figures. On top of this piled-up mass was situated a pura, which still partially exists. The loose upper parts apparently were taken away to be replaced in front of the cave. In the neighborhood of the cave several objects were also located: a pot-shaped stone object, two cylindrical stupas, and some pinnacles.

The discovery of the watering place was one of the gratest surprises of archeological work in Bali after World War II.

One of the pavillions in front of the cave harbors an image of the Buddhist goddes Hariti. A child-devouring ogress, she was converted to Buddhism, an she became a child protectress; she is always accompanied by quite a number of children. She is found in sanctuaries in India as well as elsewhwere in the Buddhist world. In Bali she acquired an established position – perhaps through aidentification with some indigenous legendary personage. In the ravine south of the cave, several parts of an enormous relief were discovered, the first in 1931. This relief evidently broke off the rock wall high above and slid down into the depths in pieces. After World War II some of the fragments were further exposed. Several more sculptured stone pieces were found in the neighborhood, in and around the affluent of the Petanu River, flowing from East to West along the Goa Gajah complex.

The fragments so far best known are two big pieces of stone, each around five meters broad. Their connection is not quite clear. The main subject on one of them is a fragmentary pillar decorated at the top, supporting a lotus cushion carrying a complicated system of stupas. Its central element is a stupa’s body, whose spherical shape seems to be compressed under the heavy weight of its pinnacle. The latter consists of an apparently octangular pedestal and a series of sunshades; of which four has survived.


The general arrangement resembles the candelabrum-shaped lotus stalks used to support Buddha images, niches for statuettes, or lamps, known from Ancient Java. At the very top of the fragment, the lower part of a Buddha image can still be vagely seen.

The relief is stylistically very different from the cave’s decoration, and is presumablymuch older. On the other hand, there is a general resemblance between the stupas on candelabrum –shaped branches and the lotus cushion-crowned  Sanur pillar. The relief possibly dates from the same period, and might even have a certain connection wth King Kesari, who had the pillar made.

In the neighborhood of the fragmentsdescribed above is another relief showing a series of 13 umbrellas. It seems reasonable to suggest a realtion between the various pieces, though it is not yet established from which part of the original relief the 13 umbrellas originate. In the rock high above the location of the several fragments, a niche was noticed. This is far too small to have harbored the relief, which now mesures about 5 meters from right to left and must have been considerably larger. The relief may have been fallen either from the rock’s corner to the left of the niche, or from some point lower down.


Since the rock-cut candis were probably associated with the cult of deceased kings and their relations, there is reason to connect the enormous relief with a deceased king’s “monumentalization”. The arrangement of the stupas with their multitudinous sunshades recalls the various superimposed and juxtaposed heavens of later Balinese religion. In this case, the subject is a Buddhisst king. We do know of such an apparently Buddhist ruler, kesari of the Sanur pillar inscription. It was partially written in a specifically Buddhist Early Nagari script, on a shaft supporting a lotus cushion. This certainly recalls details from the Goa Gajah relief.
That would make this relief, as well as the Buddha statues, contemporaries of the Central Javanese period.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | April 8, 2009



In Bedulu, close to Goa Gajah, another rock with many large carvings was discovered in the same period around 1925.
This turned out to be Toya Pulu, usually called Yeh Pulu.It had previously been discovered by the punggawa (head of the district) of Ubud. In 1925 the site was provisionally investigated by the Archaological Service.


The Yeh Pulu reliefs referred to as ‘wayang figures’, are carved into a rock wall bordering paddy fields between the rivers Petanu and Jurang, between two roads leading to Bedulu. The best way to get there is via a small road leading of the main Goa Gajah – Bedulu connection. The border of the paddy fields can be reached by car; after that, one has to walk over a small path. A guide will be necessary; any child will be able to point out the way.


The reliefs have always been endangered by water streaming down from the sawahs immediately above the rock wall. In 1937 the paddy fields were purchased  and put out of use, though this had no tangible effect. In 1949 a cemented stone gutter was made atop the carved rock wall to drain off any moisture causing erosion and vegetation . Simultaniously, the lower part of the reliefs was brought to light.
The rock wall’s sculptured surface measures approximately 25 meters, with an everage height of around 2 meters. The reliefs were originally plastered over, but most of this cover has dissapeared. At thr southern end is an excavation 6.5 meters long. It is devided by pillars into 3 partitions. Either it was the hermit’s task to care for the reliefs, or the reliefs were there as an addition to the hermit’s simple abode. In any case, we notice again the importance in Bali of hermits and ascetics.


Although damaged by moisture and vegetation, the reliefs are comparatively well-preserved. Big and vigorously modeled, the carved figures show clearly. Even so, their identification has proved difficult, and so far does not cover all details.

The carvings start with a horseshoe arch filled with stylized leaves; leaves cover the reliefs as a background and frame, often shaped with much fantasy and technical skill. ( This entry decoration recalls the gunungan or kekayon, a leaf-shaped theatrical prop used in shadow plays to indicate location: the fairy world of woods and mountains where the heroes and heroines go in search of adventures.) Among the leaves the vague traces of a seated figure can be seen.


The figures in the reliefs emerge clearly from the background, with niche-like excavations carved around all of them. Beginning the series is a standing man, his arm raised in a guesture which might be mistaken for a salute. It actually is one of the conventional ways of representing the divine hero Krshna (one of Vishnu’s incarnations). Young Krshna, as a shepherd’s boy, has offended the god Indra, who threatens to destroy Krshna and his friends with floods of rain and a thunderstorm. To protect his playmates, Krshna uproots Mount Govardhana to use as an umbrella. This demonstration of miraculous power, indicated by Krshna’s standing with one hand raised, is occasionally used as a leitmotiv for Krshna’s presence.

There is a curved line running from Krshna;s raised hand all along his body to his left foot. This line might indicate the mountain’s lower border, or may merely separate the standing figure from the rock, as is done elsewhere in the series.


The remaining reliefs can be divided into five scenes, apparently illustrating a continuous story from left to right:

  1. A man (clad the same as the tanding figure) shoulders a carrying pole (pikulan) with two vessels possibly containing palm wine (tuwak). He walks behind a woman of a higher social class (as evidenced by her walking in front, and being covered wit trinkets) This part of the scene is separated from the wall above by a slanting line sharply cut into the rock. Above, partially covering this groove, there is a minor scene of a man hunting a boar. Engraved in a very different style, it is apparently a later addition. The woman and her companion move towards a profusely decorated hut. The double door is partly open, and an old woman stands in the opening.
  2. An old woman sits in a cave, legs folded. Three monkeys play. To the left a man stands with a hoe (pacul) on his shoulder, a woman to the right. The old woman faces the man, from whom she accepts something. Behind the man crouches a dwarf-like person, his chin resting on his folded hands. He has an astetic’s turban ( the prototype of a present-day pedanda’s crown) This attribute he shares with recent pictures of the Tantric priest Bharada, famous from Balinese history. Bharada is supposedly the prototype of Merdah, a clownish page (punakawan) in heroic tales. The ascetic dwarf may have played an attendant’s role. To the scene’s extreme right is a heavy-set creature kneeling on one knee. He holds a ladle, and wears a heavy neck ornament. There is a square whole in his belly. Brows, eyes and fangs are definitely demonic. There may be some connection between the contents of 1 and 2, but what exactly?

The scene within a strictly rectangular frame is separated from 3 by a flat strip. There may have been a gateway at right angles to the rock. The lower part of the fragment was excavated about 1950: a man lying in the grip of an elephant’s trunk.

  1. Another scene in the woods, flourishing leaves all over. A man, curly hair, left hand outstreched, sits on a richly caparisoned horse. Another man stands in a fighting pose, left hand outstreched (magically) threatening; in his right hand is a curved cleaver (kudi) He attacks a bear which is already involved in a fight with another man who holds a peculiar weapon vertically in the bear’s mouth. The man can hardly remain erect. The bear is attacked from behind by a fourth hunter. For some reason a face is carved to either side of the bear’s head, and again behind the fourth man: still more hunters? In the upper right-hand corner, a man and a woman, one offering a jar to the other.

Javanese and Balinese heroes and heroines are often accompanied in plastic arts and theater by comical personages who amusingly parody their master’s exploits. In the right lower corner the hunting scene is parodied by a heroic frog swinging a short sword and sticking a double-pointed weapon into a large snake’s mouth. Perhaps funny to the onlooker, but a matter of life or death for the valiant frog!

  1. Two men carry away two bears on a long pole.
  2. A woman holds the tail of a rider’s horse (either to move speedily, as is done in mountainious country, or to detain the man on horseback) Are the two monkeys at the woman’s back chasing each other, perhaps parodying her actions?


The end of the series is marked by a two-armed Ganesha.


The Yeh Pulu reliefs are distinct from any reliefs we know from ancient Java and Bali. Working on a rock-wall instead of framed panels, the sculptor used a unique style and working process. The figures are astonishingly realistic and vigorous; high relief suggest figures in the round. It is difficult to attach any specific date to sculptures of such a deviating type and style. Because of certain details (the curved leaves filling the open spaces, the woman’s flat headdress, etc.) the 14th or 15th century was suggested, corresponding with the heyday and beginning decline of Majapahit.


Posted by: tourtaxiubud | March 20, 2009

Indonesia, Bali, PURA GUNUNG KAWI

Pura Gunung Kawi




A turnoff to the east of the mainroad in Tampaksiring village leads to the Gunung Kawi, (the ‘mountain of the poets’) and its Royal Tombs. More conspicious than any neighboring mountain the name might refer to is the Pakerisan valley, one of Bali’s most beautiful landscapes. The first view of the area comes from a steep footpath descending into a sunken passage and a fortress-like gateway, both cut from the solid rock. Solid rock is the one and only material used for shaping Gunung Kawi’s rock-cut candis, cloisters and niches, effectively enclosed by the ravine’s walls.




The Gunung Kawi complex consist of two rows of rock-cut candis. It has one row of four directly to the left after the gateway and one of five on the opposite riverside. South-east of the four is a cloister (patapan) consisting of courtyards, rooms and niches, likewise cut from the rock. Its inmates must have been the religious people who cared for the candis. The cloister was apparently not roomy enough , for at some distance are rows of niches and a second cloister. These are more simply conceived than the first, consisting of a rectangular courtyard, niches and a central platform. Still farther away, on the opposite side of the river, is one more rock-cut candi, the so-called “Tenth Tomb”  This additional candi as well as the first and the third group, have alcove niches in their immidiate neighborhood, either for ‘hermits in charge’ or pilgims from afar.




The rock-cut candis consist of temple façades hewn in relief from the rock and framed by a seven-meter-high nice deep enough to provide effective protection for the monumental carving. Just as with other Balinese carvings, the reliefs have been covered  with a protective plaster layer. The candis in either group are on a commun base, reached by a staircase. There are courtyards in front for festivities; their shorter sides have niches. There are also niches on either side of the carved gateway.


The group of five candis on the river’s northern side is apparently the more important. One of the candis  -the one at the left end- is placed higher than the others, seperated from them by a vertical band on the common base.


Each of the monumental reliefs represents a complete candi or prasanda seen en face; the roof consists of superimposed rows of turrets shaped like linggas on yoni pedestals. The arrangement is similar to the superstructures of candis in both Central and East Java, yet it is different because the Balinese turrets differ in shape as well as arrangement (in central Java they are treated as separate elements; in East Java inserted in ornamental bands; in Bali something in between, and differently shaped) The doors of the candis are sham, indicated in relief. There is, however, one exception to the principle of mere suggestion. In front of the sham door a small platform is left free. At its center is an excavation, slanting into the interior of the candi’s base. It appears that each of the said pits contained a quadrangular stone slab with nine partitions originally containing various minerals and metal objects. These represented the deseased’s spiritual being as well as the differend aspects of the Universe. When the candis were discovered in 1920, the stone slabs had already been removed from their hiding places. Now they are kept in one of the nearby cloister rooms. One is still in situ, and can bee seen on the platform close to the slanting pit.




Since they did not contain ashes or bones, the ninefold devided stones cannot be properly called cinerary urns. Funerary remains were presumably thrown into the sea, or a river emptying into it, as is nowadays done. The candis were not intended as ‘tombs’ or ‘mausolea’ to contain the remains of the dead, yet they were connected with dead, liberation, and potential resurrection of certain outstanding personages, such as a king. They were made for the spiritual aspects of his personality; acting as ‘monumental documents’, they stated the fact of his delivery after cremation, and acted as an architectural ‘new body’ and temporary dwelling place to which the deceased could later return if desired.




The Gunung Kawi candis have no statues representing deceased king in his devine state (as seems to be the case with the Kalebutan candi), yet written notices indicate for whom the candis were made. Over the sham door of each of them are short inscriptions written in a highly decorative script , called ‘figurative’, ‘square’, or ‘Kadiri Quadrate’ characters, since it was used during the East Javanese Kadiri period for about one century after its first appearance in A.D. 977. It was usually reserved, as here, for concise monumental inscriptions. Unfortunately, most of the characters can no longer be deciphered. Those on the south bank are unreadeble; four on the northern side read rwa – – (da) kira, which makes no sense. The inscription on the remaining and principal candi provides no difficulties. It reads haji lumah ing Jalu, i.e. ‘the king who was ‘monumetalized’ at Jalu’

Jalu might be this very place, the word meaning ‘a cock’s spur’ which is thought synonymous with keris (dagger). The Pakerisan, the “Keris River”, thus might be another name for Jalu. (Jalu as an element of personal titles -such as Udayana’s- is a different word meaning ‘male’) Personal names constructed with lumahare posthumously conferred, mainly on royal personages; they are determined by the place where a memorial (candi) was founded for them. The king of the inscription is taken to be Anak Wungsu, whose inscriptions cover the period A.D. 1050 – 1077.


Scanty data concerning the purpose of the candis make it hard to say for whom they were founded. Stutterheim’s suggestions are tentatively accepted: Anak Wungsu’s four principal consorts were probably given their candis here after they had sacrificed themselves to follow their deseased spouse. The apparently identical inscriptions point to identical relations with the king. (on the other hand, a first lady might reasonably be expected, as seen in certain portret statues showing a king and a queen. One of them -in the nearby Tampaksiring Pura Penataran- is even supposed to represent Anak Wungsu and his principal consort.) The four candis on the river’s opposite side may refer to four concubines or spouses of lower standing. The isolated “Tenth Tomb” is locally called “the priest’s house” (gria pedanda), which is inconsistent with thw title rakriyan over the door. “A prime minister who died some time after his lord’s death “ has been proposed instead.




Visits to sacred sites helped one to acquire thr spiritual assistance and power neccesary for continued successful life. There was also another method for the distribution of health and fertility expected from the magic powers concentrated in these sanctuaries: flowing water. Flowing water is living water, generating life wherever it is needed. A candi might be effectively placed near a river, which conveys its miraculous power to whatever values may be represented by yhe sites sacredness. Conversely, the passing stream may also derive strength from the candi, to spread it over the surrounding fields and transmit to its bathers. With the Gunung Kawi candis, there is a gutter above the series of five, belonging to the king and queen. The water is carried -if required, the channel can also be closed- to another channel in front of the monuments, provided with spouts ( a naga gargoyle for the king’s candi, a plain spout for the others) Again, it is led to a watering place between the river and the candis; people bathing there benefited from the wholesome influence of the mighty deceased. Water taken away was activated by the same reviving power ensuring successful crops.


The main cloister situated next to the five principal candis is also hewn out of solid rock. It is entered by a gateway and a portal which could formerly be closed with a wooden door. Inside are two partitions, seperated by a small courtyard. There is anoter enclosure to the left with two rooms opening onto it; one of the rooms has windows and a ceiling opening. The center has a dais with seats around it, all of them carved out of rock. This might have been a refectory or assembly room.


The cloister’s right side consists of another courtyard. A large stone block, shaped like a house with niches in its outer walls, stands in the center. Cells for the inmates have likewise been cut from the rocks on all sides. Each excavation comprises two small rooms, probably one for daytime use, one for sleeping. An opening in the southeastern corner leads to a row of outside niches.


The entire complex was known to the Tampaksiring people long before Resident H.T. Damsté made its existence widely known in 1920. Soon after its discovery the Archeological Service further examined and described it. A few years later Nieuwenkamp discovered the ‘Thenth Tomb’. In 1949 the restauration of one of the cloiser’s niches had started. A study of the neighborhood led to the discovery of a second cloister hitherto covered up and unknown, situated at the end of a row of hermit’s niches to the east of the first monastery, opposite the ‘Tenth Tomb’. In type it resembles certain monasteries discovered elsewhere (in connection with the Kalebutan candi) There is a courtyard surrounded by niches and a central platform. This new discovery underlined the importance of the Gunung Kawi site. The second monastery can be clearly seen at the valley’s southeastern end, even from the beginning of the footpath leading down from Tampaksiring.


The ‘Tenth Tomb’ can be reached by a path through the paddyfields and along the rocks, starting from the rock-cut gateway leading into the ravine. On the way one passes a smaller gateway likewise hewn from the rock. To the left from the ‘Tenth Tomb’ and adjacentniches are more alcoves behind another gateway.


Before leaving the vilage of Tampaksiring, one may take a path to the right which leads to the Pura Penataran Sarasigi. There is a statue here (height 93 cm) which Stutterheim believed to be king Anak Wungsu and his principal queen.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | March 9, 2009

Bali, Uluwatu Temple




Pura Uluwatu (or Ulu Atu) is situated in the westernmost part of the Bukit (mountain) in the southern part of Bali. The Bukit is actually a raised seabed, turned into a tableland of grayish white coral rock. (karang) The same word karang happens to be used for a characteristic decorative ‘mountain’ motif in Balinese art, which is very frequent at Uluwatu. The pura stands 250 feet above the surf, recalling a ship’s stern. It is an extremely beautiful spot, especially toward sunset. Formerly difficult of access and forbidden country to outsiders, the site nowedays can be easily  reached by car or bus. The Bukit is connected with Bali’s mainland by a narrow strip of land.



Uluwatu is a temple of some antiquity, difficult to date. Because very hard, dark grey coral stone was used for this construction, the sharply cut decoration is much better preserved than in most Balinese monuments. Some damage has been caused by monkeys who climb up and down the steep slopes and jump about on the walls and gates, thus loosening the stones.


The outermost gateaway is a split gate (candi bentar), exeptional in that the inner sides of the two halves were not left smooth, but end in curved wings. The front and back surfaces are decorated with stylized flying birds, a more complex version of the Chinese phoenix. The gate’s main decoration -especially in the transition to the innner courtyard- consists of various kala (monster) heads, partly one-eyed, partly two-eyed. There are also triangular ornaments ending in a bird’s beak, eihter isolated or in pairs. In short, the gateway provides a catalogue of various kala heads (similair to the ornamentation of old Balinese house posts). As celestial symbols, these kala heads support a symbolic representation of the Cosmic Mountain, Mount Meru. Above the large head near the second gate’s top, there is an ‘amrta vessel’.(Balinese as well Javanese temples are often considered replicas of Mount Meru, their central buildings as well as their gateways shaped and decorated accordingly. There is also a close connection between Meru and amrta, the former thought to contain this nectar of immortality.) The inner gatewayis flanked by a very unusual feature: Ganesha’s (elephantine gods) as guardians.



The southern part of the Bukit used to be wild, inhospitable country. Approaching Pura Uluwatu was strictly forbidden to anyone but the prince of Badung who owned it, once a year on the pura’s festive day, visited it to perform his offerings.


This procedure had been followed since Badung took over power in southeast Bali from the dynasty of Mengwi, much further upcountry in Tabanan. The State Temple at Mengwi had the same festive day as Uluwatu, and the raja of that minor kingdom claimed control over the latter. This situation may have started around 1690 and came to an end around 1810 when coastal parts of southeast Bali were lost to Badung.


Pura Uluwatu was badly damaged on various occasions. It had to be repaired several times, either after a long period of neglect, or because of natural phenomena (such as dropping into sea of part of the cliff together with a good deal of the stone structures, as happened shortly before Nieuwenkamp


visited the site early nin the century.) In the mid-19th century when the first foreign visitors reported on the situation, there had been a war (ascribed to the pura being negected) and the local people repaired some of the buildings. Half a century later, renovations had to be carried out. In 1949 further new additions took place and in the 1980’s history repeated itself. (the candi-like building actually is as new as it looks.) Uluwatu consequently presents an interesting mixture of ‘old and new’ which for various reasons is still worth visiting. After the 1906 expedition against Badung, resulting in the prince’s death, Nieuwenkamp was the first to enter the temple. A year and a half before his visit, part of the temple had fallen into the sea.


Pura Uluwatu is considered one of the so-called sadkahyangan. The use of coral stone, the decorative design and the Ganesha gate-keepers recall another pura on the opposite side of the Bukit: Pura Sakenan, on the island of Serangan.


From: A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali.

Posted by: tourtaxiubud | March 9, 2009

Bali, Mengwi, The Royal Family Temple


The Pura Sada (or Prasada) at Kapal is easily reached. The route is clearly marked by a signpost at a turnoff past the bend near the marketplace.

This Pura is an old dynastic sanctuary of the Mengwi Kingdom. The most important feature inside the sacred enclosure was a temple (prasada) dedicated to the king’s defied ancestors, constructed in a style similar to that of the Javanese candis. The original edifice was believed to date from the Majapahit period.


When Kapal detached himself from Mengwi, the poor village community had to care for the pura. The temple increasingly deteriorated, and the earthquake of 1917 nearly finished off the prasada When the Archeological Service resumed its work in Bali in 1949, the last remains of this building – a few fragments still standing- had already been removed by the villagers. An incident which had recently befallen the communiyy’s barong outfit had been interpreted as a punishment for the continuous neglect of the sacred building. This neglect had to be compensated for by yhe erection of an entirely new prasada, which was accomplished in 1949-50.


A beautiful brick “split gate” also showed large cracks and seemed doomed. Fortunately, it was possible for the Archeological Service to restore this candi bentar with the enthousiastic help of the local people. The prasada proper (now 16 meters high) and the other buildings in the pura -certainly a highly interesting compound- have been independently renewed by Kapal village under the guidance and after the design of one of the villagers, I Made Nama. He was assisted by members of an older generation who knew the building before the 1917 earthquake. The new prasada’s shape harmonizes with the gateway. Its body is solid; a small niche in the front serves as a temporary abode for the deity during temple feasts. This deity is Siva out of whom eight other gods have emanated: the guardians of the cardinal directions, whos images are affixed to the prasada. Wishnu and Brahma, with Siva constituting a trinity -the Tiga Sakti- are also portrayed on the eastern side. A lower series of images represents the Seven Seers, or Saptaresi. It must be stressed again that all these sculptures, as well as the Prasada itself, were made after about 1950. Although practically no part of the present Pura Sada, exept for the restored Candi Bentar, is really old, this pura nevertheless presents a remarkable example of the splendid work which can be achieved by “simple village people” under the guidance of an equally “simple” young carpenter who had never before built anything comparable in his life.


Apart from the pura’s general layout, only the Candi Bentar and a few sculptures are old. The Candi Bentar, for that matter, has been completely restored and partly reconstructed. A very fine detail in its decoration is the Kala head, both at the front and the back. Like the gate itself, the head is split in two.


Another split head is found on one of the buildings in the Pura Taman Ayun at Mengwi. The compound is essentially modern, but there is a brick construction at the back, the paibon (“offering place”), which plays a part in the ancestor cult, as do the three brick pasadas (about 4 meter high) opposite the building. The paibon’s basement is completely decorated; the design includes the “split head” previously referred to.


From:A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali.



Posted by: tourtaxiubud | March 8, 2009

Indonesia, Bali, Besakih mother temple




The large complex of Besakih, a sanctuary for all Bali, is situated on the slopes of Gunung Agung, the Peak of Bali, 1000 meter above sea level (within the territory of Karangasem). Today you can reach it easily by car (from Klungkung) by way of Selat. Formerly it must have been a laborious expedition for pilgrims of all parts of the island, certainly fitting the idea that visits to a holy place should reflect the difficulties of any devotional act; this still holds for modern Balinese who have not switched over to motor vehicles. It should be noted that Besakih was a worshipping place for the princes of Bali (Klungkung, Karangasem and Bangli) and their viceregents or family members – it was not intended for commoners. The several compounds were formerly cared for by the ‘king of Bali’ (Klungkung) and the princes of Karangasem and Bangli. Their descendends, along with most of the other rulers, still maintain temples here. Tabanan, however, has an ancestral temple of its own on Mount Bataku. Certain prominent families and castes are also connected with the Besakih sanctuary. Despite modern additions, Besakih has preserved its archaic character even more fullyn than the Pura Kehen at Bangli. It has always been regarded as a highly sacred place, once a part of the remote and mysterious world of mountains and forest peopled by ghosts and supernatural powers. The names and titles of the gods worshipped in Besakih’s manyfold shrines are archaic Balinese if not Old Indonesian (without either Javanese or Sanskrit). This, of course, does not apply to the Trimurti gods, related with the main complexes as they are now. An old tradition has it that Besakih was founded by King Kesari, whom we know from the Sanur pillar inscription. The site may actually have been very much older. Certain crudely shaped linggas exhibited in some of the buildings by their crude shape recall the monoliths of early Indonesian (and again late Indo-Javanese) monuments located in equally mountainous places; they fully fit in eith the site’s archaic character.



In the early 15th century, the ruler of Gelgel made the sanctuaryhis ancestral temple. Actually descended from the Javanese governor of the island after the 1343 conquest, he was an ancestor of the Deva Agungs of Klungkung (who had changed their residence from Gelgel to this place). Klungkung henceforth took care of the central complex, Bangli and karangasem the two adjacent compounds.


Along the road leading to the central complex (Pura Penataran Agung Besakih, or Pura Besakih proper) four shrines mark certain stages on the pilgrim’s route. Somewhat farther away, west of the road, are the remains of a Pura Dalem Puri. This is regarded as the essence of the entire island’s Dalem Puris, temples for the dead in princely residencies. The central complex is flankedby two similar but smaller series of terraces: Pura Madeg (“Erect stone”, containing the most clearly lingga-shapedmonolith) and Pura Dangin Kreteg (“East of the bridge”). These are situated at the proper left and right (roughly north-west and and south-east) of the central complex, respectively. The longitudinal axes of these compounds point in a northeastern direction, straight to Gunung Agung’s sacred peak. The compound’s central part is dedicated to Siva, the other two to Vishnu and Brahma. There are also many small shrines in the neighborhood. The various terraces within the compounds are strewn with shrines, seats and mérus.




The central complex consistsof a series of six or seven (the sections are variously indicated in descriptions) terraces, one higher up the slope than the other yet successively connected by gates and flights of steps. The stairs leading from the courtyard to the first terrace are flanked by rows of sculptures.(monkey’s, etc.) One of the second terrace buildings contains another of the linggas already referred to, surrounded by an offering stand. The higher terraces are reached by passing through those below. There is a separate courtyard with its own entrance on a level with one of the upper terraces to the north-west. On the opposite side is a larger cluster of courtyards.


The 1963 catastrophe which destroyed so many villages on the Gunung Agung threatened the very borders of the Besakih complex, but stopped precisely there.


From: A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali