It was the start of the wet season and the water level had dropped by a meter or more exposing the muddy banks of Lake Beratan. There was a brown steak between the temple and the lake. Water lilies and water willow lay exposed and dying on the edge of the lake. Ulun Danu temple no longer looked like the beautiful photoshopped images that you can see on the Internet. Still, I had finally arrived.
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Ulun Danu Beratan Temple was built in 1663 and is dedicated to the Hindu Gods Brajma, Vishnu and Shiva as well as the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu. The name of the temple means the power or source temple of Lake Beratan. The design is a mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture.
How to Get There
The temple is located just outside of the town of Bedugul in the highlands of Bali. It takes 90 minutes or more to reach Ulun Danu Temple from Ubud and more than three hours to get here from Kuta, Seminyak or Legian. That’s not accounting for the traffic that clogs up the small single lane road on weekends and the high season.
Ulun Danu temple is open every day of the week and it costs Rp 10,000 to enter. The temple opens at 7am in the morning and closes at 5pm. If you want to get a great photo, the best time to visit the temple is for sunrise during the wet season, which lasts from October through to April. Although I’ve never been there that early I can imagine it will be a lot calmer and more peaceful (though you will probably be surrounded by photographers). Here’s an example of the kind of photo you can hope to get if you get there early in the morning.
Ulun Danu Temple
Ulun Danu is composed of four different temples. These are the Lingga Petak temple, the Penataran Pucak Mangu Temple, the Terate Bang Temple and the Dalem Purwa temple. Though Ulun Danu is made up of four temples the actual complex is very compact.
The three main temples in the complex are tiered shrines. The shrines are each of different heights. The tallest, 11 tiers, is dedicated to Vishnu, the second tallest, seven tiers, to Brahma and the shortest, three tiers, is dedicated to Shiva.
Twice a year a celebration is held at Ulen Danu, The ceremony is called Piodalan and takes place every 210 days following the Balinese calender. A Piodalan means the birth of a temple and the celebration is considered a karmic obligation for people who live close to Ulun Danu. A large Piodalan is held every 420 days.
Hiring a Boat
If you are looking for a different perspective it’s possible to hire a boat to take you out on Lake Beratan. There’s a pier located outside of the temple grounds where you can choose to hire either a traditional fishing boat or a small speedboat. This is really something for photographers who want to get a different shot of the temple.
Combine Your Trip
You can combine a visit to Ulun Danu temple with a couple of different tourist attractions around Bali. I would recommend combining a visit to the temple with a trip to Sekumpul Waterfall. You can read a review about the waterfall here. Another popular place to visit is Jatiluwih, which is famous for its rice terraces.
It’s easy to understand why Ulun Danu temple is so famous. Enclosed on four sides by tall hills and perched on the edge of Lake Beratan, the setting is picturesque. The temperature is also cool, which is a nice break from the tropical sunshine of Bali.
Have you visited Ulun Danu? What did you think about the temple? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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