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Bedugul / Ulundanu Temple

To reach the mountain range, you drive west from Denpasar through Mengwi. As you leave the southern plains, the landscape changes from flowing tiers of rice to motley patches of onion, cabbage and papaya grown in the cool climate of the highlands.

The clusters of farmhouses along the way are no longer the familiar thatched huts of the south, but sturdy cottages made of wood and tile to withstand the steady downpour of heavy rains. This is rich alpine country. The earth, saturated by mountain streams, is smothered with thick moss and creepers. The road climbs and winds its way around steep cliffs hung with ferns, wild flowers and elephant grass.

In jungle terrain lies the serene lake of Bratan, veiled with mist. It fills the ancient crater of Mt. Bratan. Because the lake is an essential water source for surrounding farmlands, the people of Bedugul honor Dewl'tanu, goddess of the waters, in the temple UluDanu on a small promontory on the lake.

One can stay overnight nearby at a rest house on the shore. It is peaceful and cool. Children fish for minnows and canoes cross the still waters, carrying firewood to villages on the further bank. Just near Bedugul is the market of Bukit Mungsu selling wild orchids and both temperate and tropical vegetables grown in the fertile soil here. Near the market are the botanical gardens.

Lake Bratan is so lovely that it is easy to forget the surrounding forest-clad mountains. From the market a path leads through pine plantations up towards the primary jungle on the peaks. An old Dutch forestry house and the remains of a once extensive garden lie mysteriously within the forest.

There is a small temple high up, its walls carved with superb reliefs. On the road north of Bedugui, past the new international-standard golf course, the road rises along the lip of Lake Buyan, affording a clear view of the Bratan basin.


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