The Batuan Temple is one of a pair of temples in Batuan Village, Bali. It’s a fascinating place with over 1,000 years of history making it one of the most ancient temple sites on the island.
The village is also very interesting with an important role in the artistic heritage of Bali.
Our guide will introduce you to both and what you can expect if you decide to visit this exciting area.
Where Is Batuan Village Temple?
Batuan is a small village in Central Bali around 10 kilometres to the South of Ubud and about 15 kilometres from Denpasar.
About Batuan Village
It’s famous in its own right not just for the pair of temples that grace the Western part of the village but also for its artwork.
There is a style of painting that was popular in the village in the 1930s, which is now a major style in Balinese art and it’s called Batuan painting.
If you visit any of the art galleries in the village or in any major city in Bali, you will come into contact with the Batuan art genre.
It’s also an interesting place on the day of the full moon each month because the village performs a very famous version of the local Gambu dance.
This is one of the oldest surviving forms of Balinese performing arts and is accompanied by a lovely gamelan orchestral ensemble.
There are, perhaps, only four places on the island where you can see this style of dance as it’s a very demanding art form – both the steps and music are very technically precise and complex.
The orchestra requires 17 musicians to play the songs and requires a wide range of instruments, three of which – the kenyir, kangsi and gumanak – are only played in this style of music.
To sing the choral work, the singer requires a basic understanding of the Kawi Language (Old Javanese – a dialect that has fallen completely out of common use).
And to make things even more awkward, the performances tend to be very long and involved with no comic touches, which can be demanding not just for the performers but also for the audience.
However, the chance to see these Balinese dances and the traditional Balinese costume worn by the villagers is not to be passed up. It’s not often that you see a truly rare and authentic traditional art form here in Bali.
There is a giant sculpture of a fat Buddha, locally referred to as “the fat baby statue” at the crossroads to the East of town.
How To Get There?
If you’re coming from Ubud or Denpasar, you can easily take a Grab or Gojek to the Batuan Village but you might struggle to get a ride back from here.
It’s probably best to join an organized tour or to hire a private car and driver for the day. This won’t cost a lot more than a Grab and has the advantage of being able to set your own pace and itinerary.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Batuan Temple
We always maintain that there’s no bad time to visit Bali and this is true for both the Batuan Village and the Batuan Temple area.
In the rainy season, you can expect some rain but it doesn’t rain all day long and you will find there are long periods of sunshine.
It is a little hotter and more humid at this time of year, but there are fewer crowds at the village temple complex and it’s easier to blend in with the Balinese Hindu community going about their day.
You’ll also find that accomodation, flights and tours around the island are all a little cheaper in the rainy season as it’s the low season.
Conversely, it’s great to go out in the dry season too because there is less rain, it’s a little cooler and it’s less humid.
When Is Batuan Temple Open?
The Batuan temple grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with the exception of Nyepi, the Hindu day of silence, on which all attractions in Bali are closed.
However, the Puseh Temple and its neighbour are open to Hindu worshippers at any time of the day or night.
Hindu Gods don’t keep strict daytime hours and locals may worship Lord Shiva or the God Brahma at any time of day or night.
Is There An Entrance Fee For Batuan Temple?
Yes. The entrance fee for Batuan Temple is 30,000 IDR as we go to press (and is subject to change at any time).
This price includes the use of a shawl and sarong in the local colour scheme and parking for any vehicles that you may have with you.
The History Of Pura Puseh Batuan
This temple is mentioned in Balinese historical records that date back over 1,000 years.
It appears to have been founded in the year 1020 AD (944 Isaka in the local calendar) and the design would have been based on the teachings of Mpu Kuturan, the famous Hindu priest of his era.
The name “Batuan” means “stone” and people who worship at Batuan Temple are said to be as “tough as stone” or “hard enough to eat rocks”.
However, if we put the jokes to one side, this probably means that Batuan Temple is founded on an ancient megalithic stone circle (rather like a Balinese Stonehenge) which would have been used for the worship of ancestral spirits.
Animism, the worship of ancestor spirits, was the dominant religion of Southeast Asia before Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam arrived to displace it.
The temple and village have produced a large number of priests and Brahmans and their influence reaches across Bali.
What To Expect At Batuan Temple
Batuan Temple is a very ornate temple and the first thing that should catch the eye is the thatched roof made from the fibres of the chromatic black palm tree.
The Wantilan, an ancient building, is where the local Balinese dancing is held. You must not enter this building unless you are wearing the shawl and sarong that were provided to you at the gate.
You may be called upon to make an offering (financial) while inside, it’s OK to give any amount that you choose – you’re not under pressure to leave a fortune, anything you do leave will be used towards the upkeep of the temple.
In the main courtyard of Batuan Temple, you will find a Bale Agung (which is a long building) and a Bale Kulkul (a ceremonial gong made of local wood or bamboo).
Look for the high entrance Balinese gate (a Kori Agung) which is surrounded by some impressive-looking guardian statues shaped like Hindu Deities.
You can also find the Padmasana which is the only part of this temple dedicated to Sang Hyang Widhi – Bali’s only official Hindu God.
Batuan Temple is a great place for photography and you’re fine to take photos here to your heart’s content, however, there are some basic tips that can make this experience more rewarding:
Wide-angle lenses are very useful – you will find it hard to take photos of buildings and statues, etc. in cramped spaces without a wide-angle lens of some kind.
A tripod can come in handy – you may not be into long exposure photography but you will get better photos, particularly at golden hour, if you support your camera on a tripod
Get to the temple early – not only does this guarantee the best light but also the lowest volume of people, which makes shooting much easier
Don’t use flash indoors – this temple is a place of worship for Bali Hindu’s God and as such, it should be respected, just crank up your ISO and fix the grain in post if you can’t get the perfect shot indoors
Don’t take photographs of people praying – this is simply a matter of respect, but it’s fine to photograph the Hindu priests, unlike with Buddhist priests in Thailand, as long as you don’t interrupt them
Don’t move objects or climb on things to improve your shots – the temple has survived for hundreds of years because it’s been left untouched by photographers, it’s best to keep it that way
General Tips For Batuan Temple
There are also a few basic hints that we can offer to get more out of your visit to a temple without causing any cultural conflicts:
Make sure to follow the dress code – you’re provided with a shawl and sarong at this temple complex in the temple parking area, so please wear it. You can get into a lot of trouble in Bali if you don’t follow the dress code in temples.
Please keep your voice low and don’t swear – this is a place of worship and that means treating it like one, it’s fine to talk with the people you’re with, but try not to interrupt people praying or meditating.
Ladies, please don’t go on the grounds while you’re menstruating – Pura Puseh Batuan is a Hindu Temple and that means women who are on their period are meant to stay outside. This is a long-standing cultural tradition.
Consider using a local guide – we find that using the services of a guide can really help unlock what you’re seeing from the concept of tri kahyangan or tri murti to the purpose of the small statue called Pratima, these are things that you can’t figure out by yourself unless you have a deep background in Balinese Hinduism
What Should I Wear To Batuan Temple? What Is The Dress Code For Ubud Temple?
If you visit a local Balinese Hindu Temple, you should always dress respectfully. At most temples, you will be asked to cover your shoulders and legs, and you can rent a shawl and sarong for this purpose at the door.
However, at the Batuan Temple, you will be asked to don a local shawl and sarong in a bright vermillion colour and you should wear this to both temples in the village.
How Long Do You Need At Batuan Temple?
This very much depends on you. The Batuan Temple is 1,000 years old and continues an ancient megalithic tradition of worship at this site. It’s very well-maintained and attractive.
However, it’s not the largest temple site in Bali and once you’ve viewed the ancient and unique statues, Balinese ornaments, and some of the amazing ancient relics, you may be ready to move on after 30-45 minutes.
Your visit might take longer if you visit the smaller, less significant temple next door or if you are a keen photographer looking to get the best possible images from the temple.
Can You Go Inside Batuan Temple?
In keeping with local Hindu culture, you can enter most parts of the temple grounds but you are not permitted to enter the main sanctuary.
The only time you may enter the sanctuary is if the Hindu priests invite you in, this does happen occasionally, but you should not try to solicit an invitation.
Which Temple To Visit In Bali?
There are nearly 20,000 temples in Bali and the island is called “the island of a thousand temples” for good reason.
It’s not for us to decide which of these temples is the most important or the most beautiful. There are many sites around the island that are quite amazing and in addition to Batuan Village Temple, you might want to visit Pura Ulun Danu Batur, Tanah Lot, Besakih Temple, and many more.
Visiting temples is a wonderful way to better understand and appreciate Balinese culture and the concept of tri kahyangan or tri murti that governs the way of life on the island.
What Is Batuan Village Well Known For?
Batuan Village is well known for Balinese dances, a major Balinese artistic style (Batuan genre art), many amazing ancient relics, its temples (where you may worship God Vishnu or worship God Brahma) and their roofs made of the fibre of the chromatic black palm tree.
Who Are The Artists In Batuan Bali?
There have been many artists emerge from Batuan Village but the most famous have been Patera, Tombos, Ida Bagus Togog, Ida Bagus Made Jatasura, Ida Bagus Ketut Diding, I Made Djata and Ida Bagus Widja.
If you come across any of their village scenes in galleries you should know these Batuan artists depicted life around the Puseh Batuan Temple for a higher purpose than creating tourist art.
Their pieces are valuable and an amazing part of local culture and history.
How To Book A Trip To Batuan Temple
We always recommend that you book a tour to explore the mystic Balinese religious ethos or for any other purpose in Bali through the fantastic people at Bali Res Centre.
That’s a locally owned and operated travel agent with a focus on Balinese travel and superb customer service.
Their prices are very competitive and when you do business with the Bali Res Centre, you ensure your holiday money stays in the local economy rather than being drained into a multinational company’s bank account!
Final Thoughts On Batuan Temple
We think that everyone should visit the Batuan Temple on their Balinese holiday if they have the time to do so.
This is a part of Bali that has managed to preserve much of the local culture and offers you a truly authentic insight into what it is to be Balinese.
Of course, you don’t have to spend your whole holiday at temple sites, we recommend taking a balanced approach and doing some sightseeing, before you take a trip to Canggu to relax at FINNS, the best beach club in the world.