Pura Gunung Kawi Bali Temple

Pura Gunung Kawi eastern cliff

Pura Gunung Kawi north of Ubud

Pura Gunung Kawi north of Ubud is a stunning Bali temple complex with shrines cut into the rock honouring kings and queens from the 11th century.

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13 ks north of the Goa Gajah temples east of Ubud, Pura Gunung Kawi is accessible via quite a long walk, most down steps, through firstly a long row of shops and then gorgeous ricefield views.

Pura Gunung Kawi ricefield

Quite a walk, but it has its rewards!

I did not buy anything from the shops here, but they all seemed desperate to make a sale, as their starting prices were already lower than what I would have expected to pay for shirts and sarongs. A sarong I was offered here for 20k I had previously bought at Ubud market after much haggling for 45k!

Pura Gunung Kawi river

A cool lush bubbling rivers splits this complex

Set on both sides of the ravine split by the Pakerisan river, this ‘temple’ is a bit unusual, and features shrines carved into the cliffs and meditation caves also hewn out of the stone cliffs.

Not really a usual Bali temple, there are very few of the usual Hindu deities represented here, nor is this a tomb as the royalty these were carved out of the cliffs in honour of were most likely cremated according to custom.

Once you arrive at the ravine it is very cool, almost grotto like, with big trees and water flowing quickly over boulders, making this a very pleasant area to relax in.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for more photos of Pura Gunung Kawi Bali temple north of Ubud and a map.

There is a more standard Bali temple complex in its own compound that seems to be set aside for prayer and rituals. This is where the priests do their thing, while inside this compound there is another area you have to remove shoes before entering.

Pura Gunung Kawi meditation caves

Meditation caves carved into the rock.

This area seems to be disused, possibly because the more formal Hindu religion no longer has space for ascetic monks meditating in caves.

When it comes time to go back, it is quite an uphill trek and the stairs do seem endless. Not so great if you have knee issues.

There is however a lovely little restaurant at the top of the stairs called Kafé Kawi when you can rest, have some organic food or drink and enjoy the view, if you are blessed with the weather, or Mount Agung in the distance.

Pura Gunung Kawi view to mount Agung

Mount Agung in the distance

I think Pura Gunung Kawi north of Ubud is definitely worth a visit, and from Ubud it is probably a four hour round trip, including dropping in at Goa Gajah, the elephant temple, on the way home.

See Temples on Bali and Bali Fun Day Tours on this site.

See the review of Kafe Kawi on this site for a map of how to get here.

By Mark O’Brien, September 2015

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