Located in Central Bali, Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is one of Bali’s best kept secrets. Known by the locals as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu, it is one of Bali’s least visited temples despite being one of the most tranquil and beautiful. A special find for visitors, the temple complex features ancient shrines and verdant gardens surrounded by natural spring-fed crystal clear pools and ponds filled with blooming lotus and carp.
Located 12km northeast of Ubud, the temple is situated within Sebatu, a highland village in Tegallalang. Approaching the temple, a small winding descent offers a bird’s eye view of the entire complex and water gardens. A refreshing spot to relax and soak up the peace and tranquillity of the water features, one of the main highlights of the temple is the singular shrine Taman Suci. Situated next to a rectangular pond backed by dense green hills, this is the perfect photo opportunity for a postcard perfect shot.
However before you reach Taman Suci or the main Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple you’ll need to visit the ticket booth to pay the 15,000 Rupiah (AU$1.50) entry fee and don a customary waist sash. Following a cobblestone path you’ll be presented with an incredible water garden complete with a large pool containing golden carp. At its centrepiece is the figure of Sarasvati, a goddess, as well as a ‘floating’ Wantilan where you can feed the fish (for just AU50c ).
Beside this pool there are actually a couple of walled bathing sections that locals and visitors are welcome to use for bathing. Of course photography in this area is forbidden and there are signs in both Indonesian and English that clearly state this.
Heading north within the grounds you’ll pass a green lawn before reaching the ‘candi bentar’ temple gates. These lead to the elevated grounds of the main temple. Adding life to the stone statues and temples are a handful of animals including rare chicken breeds, free roaming tam fowl and even juvenile deer. Although included as a highlight on some tour itineraries, Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is not as well known or regularly visited by tourists exploring on their own however it’s well worth a stop when visiting this culturally rich region of central Bali.