Gunung Kawi Temple is located near Tampak Siring village, around 5 km from well known Tirta Empul Temple. The location is 35 km from Denpasar, city. It is still one route from Goa Gajah Temple, Pura Pusering Jagat, Gunung Kawi Temple, and Tirta Empul Temple. This area preserves many ancient sites, stone sculptures and rock cut structures, especially along the slope of Pakerisan river. The site of Gunung Kawi Temple is reachable only by foot from the parking area, passing elevating slope of the river with more then 100 steps down and up the river.
Bali's own Valley of the Kings is Gunung Kawi Temple in Tampaksiring. This collection of candi is beautifully situated in a river valley surrounded by rice fields and jungle. This has been one of our favorite day trips for years. Gunung Kawi Temple is a collection of ten candi, created to evoke the appearance of temple fronts and designed to provide residence for the souls of ancient kings. The candi are hewn into the valley walls on both sides of the Pekerisan River.
The Gunung Kawi Temple does have an interesting history. Inscriptions over each Candi approximate the date of construction to be in the 11th C. It is believed that each temple served as a memorial to a deified royalty principally because they are shaped like the burial towers, or Candi’s, found throughout Central Java. But in Java they are free standing whilst those found at Gunung Kawi are actually hewn relief's in solid rock. While the exact origin of the candi is unknown, there is evidence to suggest that the first set of five were built to honor King Anak Wungsu, whose rule over central and east Bali extended from AD 1050 to about AD 1080. It is possible that one was built for him and the other four for his wives, who would have ceremonially committed suicide after his death.
Gunung Kawi Temple is two rows of ancient royal tombs on the banks of the Pakerisan River deep in a ravine overlooked by terraced rice-fields. The holy Pakersian River flows through the centre of Gunung Kawi cutting the site into two separate sections with a bridge to connect one side to the other. It is believed the holy waters of the Pakerisan sanctify Gunung Kawi, and the beauty of the place evokes a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.
On the east side of the river are situated five candi which constitute the main group in this complex. Across the bridge are four candi on the west side. The remaining candi at the southern end is often referred to as the ‘tenth tomb’. At the bottom of the stairway and to your right-hand side through a small field (about one kilometer) is where the tenth tomb is located. The legend to this amazing place is intriguing. It is believed that the mythical giant Kebo Iwo carved out all of the ancient tombs in one night with his fingernails. There are 3 temples which so called the name as Gunung Kawi in Bali those are Gunung Kawi in Sebatu countryside, Gunung Kawi Temple in Keliki countryside and Gunung Kawi Temple in Babitra countryside. Behind the small temple you can find a couple of meditation caves, which indicates that this is a pre-Hindu place where monks and pilgrims came together to meditate.