Besakih Temple known also as the Mother Temple is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. Local people call it Pura Besakih.
Pura Besakih is a temple complex in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia. Located nearly 1000 meters up the side of Gunung Agung, it is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung.
The amazing temple is located in a mountainous area and offers a breathtaking panorama of rice paddies and hills. It is built on six levels, terraced up the slope.
It has been regarded as a holy place since pre-historic times in Bali. The first recorded mention of its existence is from an inscription that dates from 1007 A.D. It was certainly used as a Hindu place of worship from 1284 when the first Javanese conquerors settled in Bali. By the 15th century, Besakih had become a state temple of the Gelgel dynasty and was regarded as the central temple of Hinduism in Bali.
Besakih was hit a few times by earthquakes and also by several volcanic eruptions of Mount Agung, particularly a major one in 1963. The volcano erupted destroyed several villages around and killed more than 1000 people but the floating lava missed the temple complex by mere meters.
The saving of the temple is regarded by the Balinese people as miraculous, and a signal from the gods that they wished to demonstrate their power but not destroy the religious monument.
The latest eruption of the volcano was in November 2017, when it erupted five times, causing thousands to evacuate, disrupting air travel and causing environmental damage, the alert level was at its highest and evacuation orders were in place.
Besakih Temple is considered the most popular tourist attraction in Bali visited by people from all over the world. Due to religious reasons, visitors must wear a sarong around their waist and legs while in the temple complex.