Saturday, January 18, 2020

Bali's Lempuyang Temple

Saturday, January 18, 2020

My siblings and I knew beforehand that the drive to Lempuyang Temple in East Bali would take three hours and that the queue for a photo at the gate would take another three hours. We went anyway. Instead of whining about it, we considered the long queue in the oppressive heat of the midday sun as something to enjoy, not endure. Instead of whining about it, we thought of waiting in line for three hours not as a waste of time but a singular feat that required tremendous patience.

Tourists line up for a photo at the gate of Lempuyang Temple, with mighty Mt. Agung in the background.
I wonder why some tourists feel so cheated when they find out that the lake is merely an illusion created by holding a mirror under the lens of a camera. Of course it’s fake. Have they not read anything about the temple at all? If you went there just to have your photo taken at the gate with the fake lake, you’d undoubtedly feel deceived. Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s six temples of the heavens. It is sacred to the Balinese because it is located at the top of Mount Lempuyang, the island’s easternmost mountain. That gate where tourists pose for photos only marks the entrance to the outermost sanctum of the temple. The uppermost inner sanctum of the temple actually sits at the top of 1,700 steps, another two-hour climb from that infamous gate.

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