|Another way to see the temple|
|Fantastic craftsmanship in these carvings|
|Ulun Danu Homepage|
Edward Kurtz Author / Photography and Production Keith Eaton
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, or Bratan, is a beautiful Hindu water temple on the island of Bali, Indonesia. It sits on the western shore of Lake Beratan, a lake found in the mountains near the town of Bedugul on the eastern side of the island.
Also known as Pura Beratan, it is an important Hindu temple complex built in 1663 by the King of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Putu. It is in this scenic and spiritual place that the Balinese make offerings to Ida Batara Dewi Ulun Danu, also known as Dewi Batari Ulun Danu. She is the goddess of lakes and rivers, and the Balinese people pray to her for prosperity, an abundance of water, and lots of crops, especially rice.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of nine "directional temples" on Bali. The Balinese people believe that these nine temples help to protect the island from evil spirits. It is not unusual to stumble on a ceremony or procession while visiting this special temple.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most frequently photographed temples in Bali, perhaps second only to Tanah Lot on the far western side of the island, so bring your camera! It is a magical sight: surrounded by lush green mountain scenery, the temple almost looks like it's floating on water.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is a complex made up of several shrines, or puras, and a Buddhist stupa. Inside the main gate, which is shaded by a large banyan tree, the visitor will find the stupa and then the first shrine, as well as a second smaller shrine, before reaching the side of the lake.
The gardens are beautifully landscaped and inviting: they extend from the temple entrance to the shore of the lake. Several paths weave through large areas of grass with many different kinds of exotic trees and plants as well as statues of animals. Many people find this a very soothing atmosphere and choose to relax here while enjoying the views of the garden, the temples, the lake, and the surrounding mountains.
Pura Lingga Petak is the most well-known shrine in the complex. It is located on a small island in the lake, not far from the shore. There are actually two puras that sit on this island.
The first is the picturesque pagoda-like Palebahan Pura Tengahing Segara with its 11 classical Hindu thatched roofs, or merus, made of palm fiber.
The second is the smaller Palebahan Pelinggih Lingga Petak. There is a holy well in this structure with its three merus. The sacred water called "tirta" from this well is used to bless people who come here to pray.
Back on the "mainland," the other temples are Pura Penataran Pucak Mangu, Pura Terate Bang (dedicated to the god Brahma), and Pura Dalem Purwa. The wood carvings in the temples are colorful and very ornate. Don't miss the carved decoration of the nine gods, and the garuda.
Lake Beratan, the home to Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, fills the crater of an old volcano. The lake is an important source of water for irrigating the fields in this area of Bali. It is located at a high elevation and this gives the temple and surrounding area its cool tropical climate.
It is also a very fertile area, and so it is sometimes called the "Lake of the Holy Mountain." From the edge of the lake, visitors can see several mountains including Puncak Sangkur to the north, Puncak Mangu to the east, Teratai Bang to the south, and Tapak and Batukaru to the west.
Bedugul is the closest town to Pura Beratan, and is about 30 miles north of Denpasar, the largest city on Bali. Located on the main road between Denpasar and Singaraja, Pura Beratan can easily be visited as part of a day trip from the popular tourist areas of Kuta or Ubud. Transportation choices include car rental, car/driver hire, or moped rental.
Or go the local way, on a "bemo," an open-air minibus (you might share your ride with livestock or produce, but it will certainly be a trip to remember!).
The best time to visit is early in the morning: opening hours are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is a popular tourist destination, so it's best to visit this breathtaking temple before the tour buses arrive. Because of the high altitude, it can be cloudy, so this is another reason to visit in the morning, when there is a better chance that the cool breezes will blow the fog away. Sweaters or jackets are recommended because of the cool climate.
There is a parking lot (additional charge), restrooms, and an on-site restaurant called the "Ulun Danu Restaurant," serving fresh fish from the lake, and featuring indoor or outdoor seating in small Balinese style huts called "saka pat" or "kupel."
There are several lake activities including speed boats, two-passenger pedal boats, and traditional "jukung" fishing boats. Fishing is also a popular past time at the lake. A great way to see the temple from another angle is to use the services of locals who, for a fee, will paddle you around the lake and give you a guided tour.