Bali’s famous Gateway to Heaven Temple will be closed to the public from the evening of 4th January until 8th January. The temple is closed to both domestic and international tourists while the community participates in Galunguan festivities. The Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple, known in English as the Gateway to Heaven, is located in Karangasem Regency and is one of the island’s most significant spiritual landmarks.
The Head of Purwayu Traditional Village, I Nyoman Jati, confirmed the temple closure to the media and explained why it is important to prioritize community ceremonies at this time. He said, “we are not banning, but temporarily postponing visits for both domestic and foreign tourists.” He confirmed that visits to the Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple and the surrounding Lempuyang Hill complex would not be permitted over the five days of the ceremony.
@thetau_s The Gates Of Heaven 🧡 #lempuyangtemple #temple #honeymoon #love #travel #bali #Indonesia #love #asibehappy #travel #holiday #vacation #southafrican #married #december #marriedlife #couple #couplegoals #festive #2022 ♬ original sound – amapiano lover
Jati shared that “we are taking this step so that there is no accumulation of visits during Pujawali [prayer and ceremony] so that the parking area and roads are used specifically for worshipers who will pray at the Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple.” He asked for understanding from the public around the temporary closure and confirmed that the temple would be open for visitors as per usual after the 8th January.
@thelittlemerrmaaid 📍Bali Gates of Heaven #worththe3hourwait#Bali#gatesofheavenbali#paradise#mountain ♬ The Nights – Avicii
Travelers in Bali may experience Galungan festivities for themselves while they are exploring the island. Visitors are reminded that the Galungan and Kuningan festival is of huge importance to communities in Bali who prioritize family, friends, community, and ceremony over the duration of the festival. This can sometimes have a knock-on effect on tourism services; some cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions either close or have limited opening hours.
@travelwithft Thinking of going to Bali? Set your expectations right! #bali #gatesofheaven #reality #instagram #travel #indonesia #southeastasia #glam #fake #reflection #expat #expatlife ♬ original sound – Andrei King
Galungan is one of the most important festivals in the Balinese Hindu calendar. The festival celebrates the triumph of dharma over adharma, good over evil. The Galungan festival lasts for ten days. The last day of the celebration is called Kuningan, which is the day that spirits leave earth.
The Galungan festival occurs on the eleventh week of the 210-day pawukon calendar which is the calendar used specifically in Balinese Hinduism. The 210-day cycle means that the Galungan festival happens twice a year. In 2023 Galungan will be celebrated from the 4th-14th January and the 2nd-12th August.
One of the most famous symbols of the Galungan festival is the penjor. These are bamboo poles that line the streets all across Bali. The penjor are installed on Galungan and generally left standing until the next cycle, unless they fall or need to be removed for other reasons. The bamboo penjor poles vary between 5-10m in height and curve towards the top. It is believed that the curve of the penjor is like that of the Barong’s tail.
The closure of the Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple over the next few days will no doubt bring disappointment for some travelers who are in Bali for just a brief time. Thanks to social media and travel blogging, Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple has become one of the most iconic landmarks on the Island of the Gods. In fact, in September this year, tourists were seen queuing for upwards of four hours to get their photo between the world-famous temple gates.
On a clear day, the Gateway to Heaven offers a stunning view of Mount Agung, but due to the altitude of the temple complex, the view is often obscured by thick fog and mist. The poor visibility and the queue time have kick-started Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang Temple’s very own Instagram vs. Reality trend, where tourists share their expectations of the experience vs. the view when they actually reach the top of Lempuyang Hill.
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