Saraswati Temple: The Ultimate Guide To The Ubud Water Palace

Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati which is more commonly known as Pura Taman Saraswati or Saraswati Temple and sometimes as the Ubud Water Palace is a temple in the heart of Ubud.

It’s dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Saraswati and the grounds are attractive and very popular with holidaymakers in Bali.

Our quick guide to Saraswati Temple will help you better understand what you’re seeing at the temple and what to expect when you get there.

Where Is Saraswati Temple?

SARASWATI TEMPLE FINNS BALI MAP

The Saraswati Temple is in Central Bali in the town of Ubud.

It’s centrally located in the town and it’s within a 10-minute walk of most other attractions in the town such as the Ubud Art Market and Ubud Royal Palace (both on Jalan Raya Ubud).

The address of Saraswati Temple, Ubud is F7V6+JHX, Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571

How To Get There?

If you’re coming from anywhere in Ubud, it’s going to be a short walk to the temple.

If you’re coming from further afield we’d recommend that you either join a tour of Ubud or hire a car and driver to get here.

We don’t recommend riding a scooter in Bali, even though it’s cheap, because accidents are very common and many people find that when they get to the hospital, their insurer does not consider them to be road-legal and won’t pay up.

It’s best to pay a little more for transport and get to your destination in one piece.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Saraswati Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati
Picture Source: balioasistourandtravel.com

There is never a bad time to come to Bali and we encourage people to come to the island all year round. The rainy season doesn’t see as much rain as you might think and there are an average of 9 hours of sunshine a day!

However, it is a bit hotter and more humid in the rainy season, which can be offset a little by coming to Ubud which is higher up than the beach towns and thus, a bit cooler.

The good news is that the rainy season offers cheaper flights, accomodation and tours.

So, it makes sense to visit Pura Taman Saraswati at this time of year if you can as the temple area is pretty small and you’re not going to spend very long at the site.

However, it’s just as nice in the dry season, it’s just that your trip will cost a little more if you come at this time of year.

When Is Saraswati Temple Open?

The temple opens early in the morning at 7 a.m. but it closes to the public at 5 p.m.

Because it’s a temple and not just a tourist attraction, Pura Taman Saraswati is open to worshippers 24 hours a day.

Is There An Entrance Fee At Saraswati Temple?

Pura Taman Saraswati
Picture Source: envato.com

No, while there is often an entrance fee at temples in Ubud and Bali, this temple welcomes all visitors for free.

However, there is a Balinese dance performance held at this temple (at the Café Lotus by the lotus pond and there is a fee to watch that performance.

The best seats for the dance require a minimum spend at Café Lotus in addition to the ticket cost.

However, we think the dance at Pura Taman Saraswati is very good and the food at the cafe is good too, so it might be worth your investment if you love Balinese culture.

The History Of Pura Taman Saraswati

The temple was designed by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, a famous Balinese sculptor, architect and painter) by the Prince of Ubud, Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati.

The architect was taking refuge in the court of Ubud at the time as he’d had a falling out with the royal family in Blahbatuh and was unable to return there.

He began building on the site in 1951 and Saraswati Temple was finished in 1952.

The Hindu Goddess Saraswati

The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati and she is the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, learning, wisdom, flowing water, literature and art.

She is revered in India and you can also find Jains and Buddhists making offerings to the goddess.

She is commonly depicted as having four arms and holding a book, a rosary, a veena (a kind of musical instrument) and a water pot.

You can find references to the Goddess throughout Hindu folklore and in most epic tales.

She is also regularly associated with a lotus pond which explains the presence of such a pond at this temple.

What To Expect At Saraswati Ubud Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Picture Source: balioasistourandtravel.com

There is some unusual Balinese temple architecture at Taman Saraswati temple and some traditional Balinese architecture too, the grounds are full of carvings of Hindu mythological figures and there are three notable features:

The Aling-Aling

An aling-aling is not a common feature of Balinese temples and it’s meant a sort of wall that is used to make evil spirits unhappy and confused and to prevent them from carrying out their intent.

The aling-aling here is actually part of the back of a statue of a rakshasha (a malevolent being in the Hindu lore) known as Jero Gede Mecaling.

Padmasana Shrine

This is the most important shrine here and it’s located in the North East of this beautiful place.

Look at the base and you will see it has been carved with “paras” (carvings from volcanic tuff) showing the cosmic turtle of Hindu lore and some nagas.

The Lotus Pond

The pond is the most popular part of the temple grounds and it is surrounded by attractive Frangipani trees. The pond is covered in pink lotus flowers when they’re in bloom and they’re very pleasing to look at.

The water garden around it has a bridge-like entrance and more paras this time carved by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad himself.

Look at the Kori Agugng gates as you approach the inner courtyard as they are fine examples of this red-bricked design.

Photography Tips For Saraswati Temple

You are free to take photographs anywhere at Saraswati Temple, Ubud but there are a few things you might want to consider to make your images stronger:

  • Take a wide-angle lens – you often find yourself wanting to capture a whole scene in tight spaces on temple grounds, it’s easy to do if you have a wide-angle lens to fall back on

  • Go early – not only will you get the golden hour light, but you will also find that there are far fewer people inside

  • Take a circular polarizer and possibly an ND filter too – this will help you get better shots of the water and the sky and the ND filter can help you get nice long exposure shots too

  • Take a tripod – we find the best landscape shots are usually the ones you get when working with a steady camera

  • Don’t climb on things to get better angles – yes, we know it’s sometimes frustrating to see a shot you can’t get, but it’s just not polite to clamber over things in a house of worship

  • Don’t move things around to improve your shot – again, it’s just not very polite

  • Don’t use flash indoors – feel free to use flash outside whenever you want, but it’s not fair to other people to use it inside

  • Don’t photograph people who are praying or meditating – people should feel free to worship without any outside interference

General Tips For Saraswati Temple

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Picture Source: envato.com

We’ve also got some general tips for getting the most out of your trip to this Hindu Holy Place:

  • Please don’t swear or raise your voice in the temple area – again, it’s somewhere people come to pray

  • Ladies should not enter the temple area if they are menstruating – the Hindu faith says this makes a woman unclean and she may contaminate the temple with bad energy

  • You must obey the dress code – if you don’t have garments that cover your shoulders and legs, please rent or buy a shawl and sarong outside the temple

  • Check in advance for special events at the temple – festival days can be amazing and give you additional insight into the workings of Hinduism in Bali

  • Consider hiring a local guide – it’s not mandatory but apart from bringing needed employment to someone, it also helps you learn more about the temples than you can glean by just looking

FAQs

Can You Go Inside Saraswati Temple?

You are welcome to go into the temple grounds, however, as with all Hindu temples in Bali, you’re not meant to go inside the main buildings.

It is only possible to go inside the buildings if you are directly invited by the local priests (it does happen occasionally but it’s a rare occurrence and you shouldn’t try and harass a priest to get them to let you in).

The main part of a Hindu temple is meant to create a serene atmosphere for prayer and meditation and thus, even when temples have become popular tourist attractions, the core of the temple is reserved for Hindu worshippers.

How Much Is The Ticket For Saraswati Temple?

There is no entry ticket required for Saraswati Temple. You can enter this temple in Ubud completely free of charge and spend as long as you like on the grounds.

However, you will need to pay if you want to watch the dance performances at Saraswati Temple, Ubud.

How Long Do You Need At The Saraswati Temple?

Pura Taman Saraswati, Ubud is not the biggest temple in Bali and you could probably explore the grounds in about 20 minutes.

However, if you want to get some photographs of the Saraswati Ubud Temple then you will probably want to allow about an hour.

Because of its central location in Ubud and the lack of an entrance fee, this is a very popular place and you may need to wait a little while for people to get out of the way before you get the perfect shot.

We think it’s worth the wait.

What Time Does The Saraswati Temple Open In Bali?

Pura Taman Saraswati, Ubud opens to the general public at 7 a.m. each day and then closes at 5 p.m. each day.

The only exception to this is Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence when there is a public holiday in Bali and no one is permitted to go outside of their hotel or home.

This temple in Ubud is open to Hindu visitors 24 hours a day, as all Balinese temples are.

This is because Hinduism is not “time-constrained” and thus its adherents are welcome to worship when they feel the need to do so.

What Is The Meaning Of Pura Taman?

“Pura Taman” translates into English as “water temple”. You can find other water temples throughout Bali and they all have the prefix “Pura Taman” in the local language.

 

What Do You Wear To The Saraswati Temple In Ubud?

There is a dress code at every temple in Ubud and throughout Bali and you are expected to dress “respectfully”.

In one of the temples that is a common tourist attraction, such as Pura Taman Saraswati, this means you should have your shoulders covered and your legs covered.

You can rent a shawl and sarong cloth at the entrance to the temple if you aren’t dressed properly.

We need to stress that you should not enter the temple without being appropriately attired and you can get into a lot of trouble (including potentially being arrested and/or deported) if you ignore this rule.

The good news is that it won’t cost very much to rent or buy a shawl and sarong, and if you buy them, you can use them at every temple in Ubud and beyond.

How Do You Book A Trip To Saraswati Temple?

You can book a trip to Saraswati Ubud Temple or any other temples or parts of Bali through the lovely people at Bali Res Centre.

This is a locally owned and operated travel service that specializes in Balinese travel. They can arrange everything you need and ensure you get competitive prices.

When you work with the Bali Res Centre, you’re helping the local economy and ensuring your money is used in Bali.

Final Thoughts On Pura Taman Saraswati

Saraswat Temple, Ubud is an attractive and interesting water temple located in the heart of Ubud. We think it’s one of the best temples in Ubud. 

If you’re visiting the area, it’s a must-see item to add to your itinerary that won’t take too much time out of your day.