Gunung Kawi is located near Tampak Siring village, around 5 km from well known Tirta Empul Temple. The location is 35 km from Denpasar, city, 50 km from Kuta, and 68 km from Nusa Dua. It is still one route from Gowa Gajah, Pura Pusering Jagat, Gunung Kawi, and Tirta Empul temple. This area preserves many ancient sites, stone sculptures and rock cut structures, especially along the slope of Pakerisan river. The site of Gunung Kawi is reachable only by foot from the parking area, passing elevating slope of the river with more then 100 steps down and up the river. It is just after the village of Pejeng, a village full with ancient remains of ancient stone sculptures, and even the oldest historical fact on Buddhism is found also around this village. Today due to the rich contains in historical fact a museum has been built before the village of Pejeng, near the temple of Kebo Edan. Within the village of Pejeng to mention a few of them there are some temples with ancient heritages such as Pura Pusering Jagat, Pura Rejuna Metapa, Pura Kebo Edan, Pura Samuan Tiga, Pura Bedugul Kana, and still many other smaller temples that preserves the ancient stone sculptures. Pejeng is a real historical museum.
Gunung Kawi Monument
If we see from the name we know today, it might be the possibility of translation of Kawi as poet, so gunung Kawi can be meant the mountain of poet. The river that forms the ravine which slope is cut for the temple is Pakerisan river, kris means Balinese long blade or knife. What is actually referred by the name is not clear until now. The people today consider this complex as part of a temple which was constructed much later time. See from the history it is not part of a temple in the meaning of temple for worshipping, but having the relation with personal deification of a king.
The whole complex consists of 5 smaller complexes, including the temple are 6 complexes. Two complexes at the east slope of the river and 3 complexes are on the west slope. Two complexes facing each other separated by the river are identified as belong to the king and his Queen or concubines. The complex for the king consist of 3 rock cut candis and the complex for the Queen consist of 4 rock cut candis. It is hard to understand that only the candi for the king made in 3. It might be the king was with his 2 principal consorts, and the 4 candis across the river were only for his other concubines.
At the door of the candi for the king is mentioned in a inscription of the king died at Jalu. Jalu can mean kris or taji, a sharp small blade armed for the cock fighting. Who was the king monumentalized here? is un-answered question until now, except based on highly decorative writing of inscription called "Quadrangular Kadiri writing style" The influence of Kadiri kingdom to Bali was only arrived around 1227 AD under the king Kertanegara. While the date carved at the stone sculpture on Mount Panulisan with the same style mentioned the dates 1011 AD, 1074 AD, and 1077 AD. While the period between 989 AD to 1001 AD was the rule of king Udayana Warmadewa with his Queen Mahendradatta. In their charters it is mentioned that king Udayana was deified at "Banyu Wka", and his Queen Mahendradatta was deified at Buruan which is already identified, and only Banyu Wka is not identifiable until today, and archaeologists supposed that Banyu Wka is Gunung Kawi, as Banyu means water, and Wka means clear or clean, so he must have been deified at a river with very clean water, yet an ancient monument just renovated is Pura Mangening which also refers the name of ening or clear. The problem is the complex of the temple is not big, only one stone shrine with small zone. If we compared with his Queen monument in Buruan it makes sense that the king would not need big complex to commemorate himself.
Who was Commemorated at Gunung Kawi
So who was monumentalized at Gunung Kawi? Some archaeologists believed that was the son of Udayana, either king Marakata Pangkajasthana or Anak Wungsu. The rule of Marakata is not known much and there is not many record about his reign. Different from Anak Wungsu who issued many inscriptions and he was a diligent king in making every record which leads an idea that he was a great king just like his father king Udayana. With the length of time of ruling that was from 1049 AD to 1077 AD can be a proof that during his rule the condition of the society was good, and it was not impossible he was respected by the whole people. As the fact of many great kings in Indonesia who were commemorated with candi or sculpture was a normal way to respect their king that was able to bring the welfare for the society. In this case writer wish to believe that Gunung Kawi has been dedicated for the great name of king Anak Wungsu.Bali History
Gunung Kawi Rock Carving
Guwa Gajah Stone Carving
Kerta Gosha Tribunal Pavilion
Le Mayeur Museum
Yeh Pulu Rock Panel
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.
- Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting see description
- Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century see description
- Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. see description