Introduction to Central Bali
Central Bali is the most mountaneous area of Bali. In this part of Bali you will find the more isolated and thus more traditional places of Bali. For example, in the mountains one can find the Bali Aga or mountain Balinese, such as in Trunyan at the shores of Lake Batur. The Bali Aga consider themselves as descendants from the ‘pure’ or original inhabitants of Bali.
The most well known places in Central Bali are Ubud, Bedugul, Candi Kuning, the botanical gardens of Bedugul, Kintamani, Batur, Catur, Tampaksiring, Tirta Gangga (the water palace).
Central Bali can easily be reached from the South of Bali (Kuta/Sanur) as well as from the North of Bali (Singaraja), with an average travel time of 1 hour by car, depending on the amount of traffic on the road.
Places of interest in Central Bali
Ubud. One of the most famous places in Central Bali is without any doubt Ubud. Ubud is generally considered as the cultural center of Bali and has a lot of art shops and galleries. Ubud became famous to the world since well known artists such as the painters Walter Spiess, Rudolf Bonnet and Arie Smit started to settle and work here in the 1930s. Their paintings can still be admired in the art museum of Ubud, Puri Lukisan.
Bedugul is situated at the shores of mountain lake Beratan. Bedugul is especially well known for its Pura Ulun Danu, the temple of the lake. At this temple the goddess of the lake, Sang Hyang Dewi Danu, is worshipped. She is the goddess who bestowes the Balinese agriculture with fertile land. At Lake Beratan you can relax at a number of restaurants. A number of watersport facilities are also available here.
Candi Kuning is situated at a few kilometers from Bedugul, up in the mountains of Central Bali. At Candi Kuning you will find a well visited market where you can buy all sorts of exotic fuits and vegetables (especially famous for its hot corn and strawberries). Besides vegetables and fruits you will also find souvenir shops and food warungs here.
Botanical gardens – very close to Candi Kuning are the botanical gardens. Thanks to the high elevation in the mountains the temperature is cool which makes it perfect to walk around and enjoy the many kinds of plants and trees that can be found here. The botanical gardens are unique in its kind to Bali.
Tampaksiring is a mountain village and is well known for its extraordinary pre-Hundu temple, Gunung Kawi. The temple is located amidst beautiful rice terraces and has a number of remarkable candis that are hewn out of the rocks. The candis of Gunung Kawi are believed to be constructed in the 11th century (1080 AD) by king Anak Wungsu in honor of his father, the great Balinese ruler Udayana.
+ Read more about the Gunung Kawi temple of Tampaksiring
Kintamani is located at the rim of the Batur caldera. With an average altitude of 1500 meters it is one of the highest areas of Bali. The Kintamani area was formed between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago by two volcanic eruptions of incredible magnitude, leaving an enormous, double elliptic caldera with the enormous diameter of 10 km by 13 km.
Batur is located close to the village of Kintamani in Central Bali. Batur is well known for the Batur volcano and lake Batur in the caldera of the volcano, and the Ulun Danu temple of Batur. Until 1926 Pura Ulun Danu and the village of Batur were located down in the caldera, at the foot of the Batur volcano. After the volcano erupted violently in 1926, both the village and the temple were destroyed except for the most important shrine, an 11-tiered meru dedicated to Dewi Batari Ulun Danu. The villagers moved to the highest and oldest rim of the caldera where they rebuilt their village and the temple.
+ Read more about the Ulun Danu temple of Batur
Trunyan is located at the shores of lake Batur in the caldera of the Batur volcano. The Trunyanese are often referred to as Bali Aga (mountain Balinese), a classification which refers to a conservative, pre-Hindu way of life with ancient, neolithic customs and a conscious avoidance of outside influences.
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