Gianyar is famous as the heart and soul of Balinese culture. A regency where traditional arts, crafts and ceremonies are still remain a vital part of everyday’s life.
Gianyar town - district capital of Gianyar regency - is located in the South Eastern part of the regency. Gianyar is well known for its roasted babi guling (suckling pig). It is a large town that holds little of interest for the tourist. The temple of Pura Dalem just North of the town has fine examples of stone carvings and you may wish to visit some of the small weaving industries.
Stone carvings lineup along the road, many are made on the premises. However a few are also carved elsewhere. Many types of Balinese dances including trance dances are performed here for tourists.
Gaduh Temple houses the ancient, folklore, stone head of Kebo Iwa, a Balinese hero of the Majahapit era.
This village houses the museum of archaeology, which exhibits pre-Hindu artifacts, stone carving, old Chinese porcelain and finally the Samuan Tiga Temple, which stages an eleven day ceremony during the 10th full moon according to the Balinese calendar.
A village dedicated to producing bamboo products. Said to be the place where the Kecak dance originated.
This village specializes in gold and silver works, producing all kind of jewellery and ornaments. The skills of the Celuk artisans are such that they can move effortlessly from their traditional art to highly decorative filigree ornamentation to the streamline geometrical shapes of today, creating contemporary pieces which are popular all over the world.
The cottage industry has spread through the entire village, far beyond the rows of ornate art shop buildings that front the main road, to the family compounds, where children work beside their elders, learning the skills of the art from a very young age.
Goa Gajah, or Elephant cave. This is an 11th century Buddhist meditations cave with a statue of Ganesh in the interior and other elaborate carving.
Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex in Tampaksiring, North East of Ubud.
The temple is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river.
It comprises 10 rock-cut Candi (shrines) which are carved into some 7 meter high sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face.
These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens.
On the East side are five temples which are dedicated, according to one theory, to King Udayana, his queen Mahendradatta, and their sons Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata.
The temples on the West side are dedicated, according to the same theory, to the king's minor queens or concubines.
Mas is the hometown of some of Bali´s most famous woodcarvers. The studio of Ida Bagus Tilem, master woodcarver, is a showroom of antique and modern woodcarving and he has a permanent exhibition of his own priceless sculptures that are timeless works of art. There are many home studios in the village, where one can watch artisans at work, bringing the specially chosen pieces of wood to life with skillful strokes of the chisel.
Pejeng is home to the temple of Penataran Sasih or Temple of the Moon. It contains the famous bronze Moon Drum, said to be over 2000 years old. It is the largest, single cast, bronze drum in the world. Good examples of the 13th and 14th century stone carvings can be found at the nearby Pusering Jagat and Kebo Edan temples.
A market town which is selling all of Bali´s souvenirs in just one location. It is also a market for the local Balinese looking to buy ceremonial articles.
Shops abound on either side of the road. Slightly north rice terraces abound and, at nearby Petulu, see white Herons return to nest as the sun goes down.
Since the 10th century Tirta Empul has been one of Bali´s holiest places. Balinese come to bath in the ancient pools as the waters has said to have curative powers.
Eighth-century legend tells of a Javanese priest, Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers (an auspicious site for Hindus) at the Ubud locality of Campuan.
Here he founded the Gunung Lebah Temple on the valley floor, the site of which remains a pilgrim destination.
The town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants; Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad (medicine).
In the late nineteenth century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords who owed their allegiance to the king of Gianyar, at one time the most powerful of Bali's southern states.
The lords were members of the Balinese Kshatriya caste of Sukawati, and were significant supporters of the village's increasingly renowned arts scene.
Tourism on the island developed after the arrival of Walter Spies, an ethnic German born in Russia who taught painting and music, and dabbled in dance.
He, together with foreign painters Willem Hofker and Rudolf Bonnet, brought in some of the greatest artists from all over Bali to teach and train the Balinese in arts, helping Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
A new burst of creative energy came in the 1960s after the arrival of Dutch painter Arie Smit and the development of the Young Artists Movement.
The town and area has a number of art museums, such as the Blanco Renaissance Museum, the Puri Lukisan Museum, Neka Art Museum, and the Agung Rai Museum of Art. Close-by is the Museum Rudana in Peliatan.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is an animal park located near the southern end of Jalan Monkey Forest. It houses the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, and approximately 340 crab-eating macaque monkeys live there.
The Campuhan ridge walk is a hill in nearby Campuhan, from where one can see two rivers, Tukad Yeh Wos Kiwa and Tukad Yeh Wos Tengen, merge. A one meter wide paved-block track runs about two kilometers to the top of the hill.
Close to the Elephant Cave are some 14th century bathing pools with interesting carvings.
Batuan is known for its dancing and the originality of its painters and wood-panel carvers. Batuan has long been a famous centre of arts. There are active Topeng, Legong and Gambuh dance troupes here, and many young foreigners come to Bali to study dance in this village. The carved wooden friezes are replicas of the detail found in stone temple walls, depicting scenes from the ancient. Mahabharata and Ramayana epics in exquisite detail. Several of Batuan´s best painters exhibit their work in Ubud´s Puri Lukisan and some have exhibited overseas. Few artists in Bali are so well traveled as Batuan´s Made Bali.
This village has two communities, Teges Kanginan, famous for its musicians and dancers, and Teges Kawan, a community of sculptors. The Teges Kanginan community has a large Seman Pegulingan orchestra, a Kebyar orchestra, a childrens gamelan and a Angklung bamboo ensemble. Their dancers are the top of the Balinese stage. The original Kecak dance was choreographed in this village. The wood carvers of Teges Kawan specialize in contemporary ornamental and functional carvings. They create replicas of trees, plants, flowers, ducks, fishes and fruit that makes interesting pieces of interiors. Each carving is painted in lifelike colors, so realistic they will confuse the casual observer.
This village became famous when Queen Elizabeth visited in 1974. Pengosekan has an active community of artists, with a studio near the main road, who work together under the guidance of Dewa Nyoman Batuan, who is himself an accomplished artist. The Pengosekan artists create attractive compositions and scenes from nature in pastel shades that delight the eye. They also have a group who carves furniture, trays, cupboards and other household utensils in shallow relief, to which the artists apply a delicate rendering of color.
Past Pengosekan the road meanders through the rice fields to the sacred Monkey Forest just South of Ubud, where is a secluded bathing place in a deep ravine bridged by the roots of a huge Banyan tree.
Above the Monkey Forest is a forbidding temple with striking sculptures of the evil witch Rangda, devourer of children, guarding the inner temple.
The village of Nyuh Kuning is close by, yet another community of farmers who sculpt and paint in their spare time, creating statues of birds, frogs, fish and insects, and detailed canvas renderings of nature´s wonders.
The meeting of two rivers, deep in the valley forms a narrow platform where the ancient temple Pura Gunung Lebah was built by the Hindu priest Rsi Markandeya in the 8th century.
Coffee plantations over the land around Taro and the classics Balinese architecture of the compounds are reminiscent of the Bali of the past.
For stunning views the village of Sayan is unsurpassed. The village backs onto ravine that drops far down into a deep valley carved by the Ayung River. Over the past twenty years a number of foreigners have built holiday homes along the ridge, looking out over the spectacular view to the mountains of west Bali in the distance.
The village of Payangan, just 12 kilometers past Ubud, is famous for its lychees, durian and pineapples. Just North of Payangan is a village called Tihingan with beautiful bamboo groves. This is a particularly beautiful part of Bali for countryside walks.
Behind the village of Kedewatan the ridge looks over the curving valley of the Ayung River and here are cottages and swimming pools, and some restaurants, perched of the ridge top taking advantage of the splendid view.
Belega and Bona both have many bamboo furniture workshops and a large part of their work is for export. In Bona, women and children of all ages make delicate basketry cleverly women and dyed in bright colors.