Ulun Danu Temple is located in central Bali on the west side of Bratan Lake. It is the second most important temple on the island after Pura Besakih. The image of Ulun-Danu can be seen on the 50,000 rupee bill. Travelers fortunate enough to be near the temple are unanimous in saying that the views leave a strong impression. The water comes very close to the shrine, making it seem as if Pura Ulun Danu is floating on the lake surface. The scenery is enhanced by the mountains, which form a picturesque backdrop to the temple and are shaded by the sun’s rays at sunrise and sunset.
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Video: Oolong-Danu Bratan
Ulun-Danu Temple has sacred significance to the indigenous inhabitants of Bali. It was founded in 1663. The temple is consecrated in honor of Devi Danu, the Hindu goddess who commands the element of water. Ulun Danu translates as “head of the lake”.
The Balinese have always developed a cult of water. There are few freshwater reservoirs on the island, so Lake Bratan has always been of particular value. Irrigation canals that irrigate rice terraces come from it. Locals used to bring generous gifts to the goddess and ask for a rich harvest in return.
As a side note, there are four temples in Bali that are called Ulun Danu! In addition to the most famous one on Lake Bratan, there are temples of the same name on lakes Buyan, Batur and Tamblingan. Sometimes an explanatory word is added to the name of the shrine to distinguish them: Ulun-Danu-Bratan, Ulun-Danu-Buyan, Ulun-Danu-Batur and Ulun-Danu-Tamblingan.
Ulun-Danu-Bratan temple is one of the top attractions on the island, approaching such places as Uluwatu and Tanah Lot in popularity. Despite the fact that Ulun-Danu is located away from the crowded resorts and coastline, many travelers and locals come here. On days when there are colorful ceremonies, the number of visitors increases even more. Newlyweds come here to ask for the blessings of the gods.
There is also a botanical garden and a rope park in the same area of the island, so a trip to Wulong Danu and the surrounding area is sure to appeal to families with children.
Pura Ulun-Danu is one of the 9 main sacred temples designed to protect the island from evil spirits and to bestow happiness and prosperity on the Balinese. The shrines are located in different parts of Bali, each in charge of its own element, but together they form a single complex. If you plan to visit all the shrines, stick to the following list: Pura Besakih, Goa Lavah, Lempuyang, Batukaru, Uluwatu, Masketi, Pasar Agung, Ulun Danu Bratan and Ulun Danu Batur.
History of Ulun-Danu-Bratan Temple
The temple complex was built in the middle of the 17th century, by order of King Mengwi. The shore of Lake Bratan was chosen as a place for the shrine honoring the goddess of water for a reason. According to legend, the lake is able to heal and rejuvenate. To get a miraculous result, it is sufficient to bathe in the reservoir at sunrise. If we rely only on facts, Bratan is no less striking – it is the largest lake of crater origin in the world. Its length and width are about 2 km and depth is 35 meters. The lake lies in the crater of an extinct volcano, at an altitude of 1202 m above sea level. Because of the pressure differences over the surface of the water periodically lays a fog, which gives the towering here Ulun Dan special mystery.
The buildings were built by talented blacksmiths who used to make ritual weapons. According to legend, when the lordess of water Devi Danu saw the temple, she liked it very much, and the goddess wanted to hide it from prying eyes in the lake, so she partially flooded the shrine. At high tides, the water level rises and actually partially overlaps Oolong-Danu, which creates the effect of a “temple on water”. It is also called “floating”.
In 1917 there was a violent eruption of the volcano Batur. Then the lava came close to the temple complex, but stopped right at his feet. The temple survived even after a series of earthquakes of the 20th century. To no longer hope for a miracle, the area around Oolong-Danu was strengthened and landscaped.
Ulun-Danu Temple is fully consistent with the canons of Hindu architecture. For Bali are typical sanctuaries with many tiers, each of which is dedicated to a particular deity and has a sacred meaning. The temple complex consists of 5 buildings with from 3 to 11 tiers. The roofs are covered with black palm resin.
Sanctuary of the god of creation Vishna Three-tier sanctuary of Shiva
There are 3 main sanctuaries. They appear before the guests of Oolong-Danu immediately upon entering through the central gate. The pyramid-shaped buildings are dedicated to the triune deity: Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
- The sanctuary of the god of creation Vishna is the most important in the temple complex. It is considered to be the symbol of Ulun-Danu. The temple of Vishna has 11 tiers dedicated to worship and prayers.
- The second temple is dedicated to Brahma, the creator of the universe. It consists of 7 tiers.
- The third sanctuary is a three-tiered sanctuary. Shiva, the embodiment of cosmic consciousness, the motionless male and dynamic female principles, is worshipped in it.
The other buildings are also located on the shore of Lake Bratan, they are surrounded by mountains and gardens.
There is a small playground and a cozy park area on the grounds of Pura Ulun-Danu.
Other temple buildings in Oolong-Danu
Oolong-Danu Bratan Temple is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, no weekends. A ticket will cost 30,000 Indonesian rupiah for adults and 15,000 rupiah for children.
Ulun Danu is one of the most beautiful temples of Bali.
Tourists are allowed to enter all halls of the temple except the main one – services are held there. When visiting the shrine, it is important to show respect and wear closed clothing covering the head, shoulders and legs. Be sure to wear warm clothes, as Wulun Danu is located in the mountains and can be chilly.
It is advisable to visit this site in the afternoon to catch the sunset. The temple looks especially impressive in the rays of the setting sun, and the water rises, and the effect of the shrine growing out of the lake is enhanced. At this time the most beautiful pictures are obtained. In the surrounding area travelers expect restaurants, cafes, and hotel and hostel for overnight stays.
It is considered a special good fortune to get to Pura Ulun-Danu during the festivals, accompanied by lavish ceremonies, colorful rituals and sumptuous offerings. There are two main events here: Piodalan – temple day and Piodalan Agung – Devi Danu day. These events have no fixed calendar date. Piodalan is celebrated every 210 days and Piodalan Agung every 420 days.
After seeing Ulun Danu, don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat ride on Lake Bratan. On the other side of the body of water you can spend active time – swimming, water-skiing, parasailing, going fishing. The water temperature in the lake is invigorating – about +22 °C. It is also worth exploring the neighboring lakes – Bujan and Tamblingan – and the picturesque surroundings, such as the rice terraces of Jatiluvi, spread by Mount Batukaru, and the Munduk waterfall, which is 1 km from the village of the same name.
How to get there
Address of Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: Jalan Raya Candi Kuning, Desa Candikuning, Kecamatan Baturiti, Tabanan, Bali.
The temple is located in the western part of Bali, in the village of Candi Kuning. There is a direct road from metropolitan Denpasar, so you can get there in a rental car or scooter. You will need to cover 52 kilometers. It takes about an hour and a half. Head north to the Denpasar-Gilimanuk highway, and turn off at Jl. I Gusti Ngurah Rai. You can be guided by the road signs pointing to Bedugul. Then go through the town of Mengwi – and hit the highway Jl. Raya Denpasar. After 25 km, the road starts to curve, which means that Lake Bratan is close. The temple is located on the left and is indicated by a sign. The main gate is visible from afar.
To get to Ulun Danu from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak you will need to drive similarly, only choose not through the center of Denpasar, but through Jl. Raya Kerobokan.
You can also take public transportation to the shrine. At 10:00 am, a shuttle bus leaves for Bedugul. The ticket costs Rs. 75,000. The travel time is two hours. To take the bus, you must first get to the terminal in Kuta, Jalan Legian No.39, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung. From the center of Denpasar, it takes no more than 30 minutes to get there. A similar trip can be made from the resorts of the Bukit Peninsula – Jimbaran, Nusa Dua.
You can go to Lake Bratan as a part of excursion groups from all districts of Bali.
The island of Bali is a unique province in Indonesia and attracts tourists with its unique identity, beautiful scenery and the hospitality of the local people.
Temples as the foundation of the Balinese spiritual world
The temple architecture of Bali is the calling card of Indonesian culture. Temples can be found everywhere: in town and in small villages, on the ocean and the lake shore, at the foot of the mountains and in the crater of the volcano. Their number reaches tens of thousands on the area of the island of only 5.8 thousand square kilometers. It is almost impossible not to meet a temple structure on the island. And you should definitely plan to visit those that, being ancient monuments of history, are included in the list of the six most important temples of the island.
Each Temple has its own purpose, its own traditions and the rituals and ceremonies performed.
Pura Temples – what are they?
The local population of Bali adheres to a type of Hinduism called Agama Hindu Dharma. Some sources claim that 90% of the islanders practice this religion. “Agama Hindu Dharma is a religion of sacred water, combining the tenets of Buddhism and the teachings of Shiva, diluted with pagan rituals, combined with magic and spiritualism.
Balinese temple structures have their own name, Pura. In the ancient Indian language (Sanskrit) the word means “fortified city” or “a place surrounded by walls.
In fact, the temples of Pura is not a building in the usual sense, but a complex of several structures (walls, gates, pagodas, platforms), harmoniously blended into the natural landscape. Many of them do not have a roof. The lack of the latter according to the beliefs of the islanders allows the gods to freely descend into pura.
The sacred place of Bali
The temple belongs to the six sacred temples of the province. This high status is emphasized by the definition given by the Balinese to this group of buildings – six earthly sanctuaries. Each of the temples has its own spiritual purpose, their location is aligned in such a way that together they create a system of protection of the island and the Balinese people from evil forces.
The temple is located in the center of the island, in one of the most picturesque mountainous areas. On the map it is easy to find on the west shore of the mountain lake Bratan, sometimes called Beratan. Nearby is a resort village Bedugul.
To visit the temple, you need to climb to a height of 1239 meters above sea level. Such a place was not chosen by chance: according to the belief, the higher to the sky is a building, the closer to the deities.
Before you appreciate the magnificence of the Pura Ulun Danu temple, you will see such a stunning view: the mountains surrounding the calm surface of the lake located in the mouth of an extinct volcano, the Meru towers soaring above the lake. You will not find a more suitable place for the erection of a spiritual structure. Even in the photos taken in these places, you can feel the special aura of the greatness of Nature and the presence of the spirit of the water goddess Danu.
History of Pura Ulun Danu
The temple complex was erected in the second half of the 17th century by King Mengwi in honor of the water goddess Devi Danu. As the national and staple food of Bali province is rice, a crop that requires a lot of moisture in the soil, worshippers make offerings and ceremonies to the Goddess of Water and Fertility. Lake Bratan, on the shores of which the temple is located, is sacred. Its abundance directly affects the fertility of the surrounding areas and the success of agriculture on the island.
Architecture of the temple
The composition of the temple consists of several buildings on the shore of the lake and on the tiny nearby islets. The Meru pagodas, with their black tiered towers covered with dried black sugar palm leaves, are particularly eye-catching. The main pagoda is located on a small island connected to the lake shore by a wooden bridge. It is dedicated to the gods Shiva and Parvati and has 11 levels. This is the maximum possible number of tiers, which emphasizes the status of the divine couple.
All the buildings are surrounded by a flowering garden and look like one with nature.
A Hindu legend has it that whoever bathes in the sacred Lake Bratan, i.e. has undergone water purification, is guaranteed youth and longevity. Therefore, locals visit this place at least once a year for ablutions. Many tourists also come here to take the procedure of purification. According to the stories of people who have undergone the ritual, peace and lightness are really felt both in the body and in the mind. The most important thing is to believe it!