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Gunung Kawi temple

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Gunung kawi means “Mountain of poetry” lies in the heart of the archeologically rice pejeng area, a region where the Hinduism first took hold on Bali. This is one of the most impressive historical sites on Bali: a blinding green watery canyon where two row of ancient blackened tombs have been hewn out of natural rock hillsides as royal memorials. The whole complex is well swept and well maintained. At the lookout on top of the long, steep stairway, look down upon overwhelming scenery: sunlit waterfalls and palm studded rice terraces plunging to a deep ravine with a rushing river flowing through it all. The holy water of the river was means to sanctify the site. Carved into niches on two facing cliffs, the somber and unembellished temples contain no interior chambers, only facades. Built in the late 11th century, the temples are remarkably well-preserved. There are 10 temples in all. Across the gorge is an abandoned hermitage for the keepers of the tombs. All around flows holy water and steep –sided rock walls covered with dropping moss, all of which gives the site an elevated and venerated atmosphere. The Balinese knew of the gunung kawi long before they were discovered by H.T Damte in 1920. The exact identity of the royal personages honored here is unknown. One very credible theory suggests the five temples in the main groups were built for King Udayana, his Javanese queen Gunapriya, his concubine. His illustrious eldest son Airlangga who ruled over East java , and his youngest son anak Wungsu. Reigning over Bali from A.D. 1050 to 1077, anak Wungsu is believed to have given up his kingdom to become a religious hermit. Gunung kawi is also believed to use as sacred meditations sanctuary and spiritual purification.

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