Hidden temple walk

If rice is the food of mystery, walk on! Gunung Kawi lives by this ideology, offering treasure hunters and sculpture seekers a veritable treat. Take a hat, brace yourself for a good climb down and up 300 steps, and begin your trek. The lush green paddy fields offer a stunning view of the landscape and trick you into what is in store.

Walk down the steps to find yourself on the banks of a river. And there, hidden inside rock cut cliffs are 8 m high, breath-taking temples – ten rock cut shrines that have withstood the onslaught of time for over 1,000 years. The temples or Candi as they are called appear as burial towers, honouring the Balinese royalty. Now that the shrines are in full view, try guessing which Candi is dedicated to which member of the royalty!

Many surmises have led people to believe that the monuments on the eastern bank belong to King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta and their three sons. The four other candi on the western side are in honour of the King’s son, Anak Wungsu and his concubines. The case of the unaccounted 10th Candi is still open to the wildest guesses! Some say it belongs to a royal minister. Mull on these facts for a while, before you begin your return journey – the climb up the 300 odd steps. And don’t forget to treat yourself to refreshing tender coconut on the way.

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