Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gunung Kawi Wow Factor

Exploring Bali





At the bottom of a long long set of steps (315 in all) is a magical world and one that elicited a "Wow" from the both of us.  These are the moments I crave.  These are the moments I live for.
But first . . . .oh, those lovely rice terraces of the Pakerisan Valley which line the walk downward.  Our first "Wow" was muttered at this view point.


 These rice terraces represent de facto the cultural landscape of Bali which has been designated a World Heritage Site, along with four other rice growing areas.  The Balinese system of "subak" dates back to the 9th century.  Not only does this system employ democratic and egalitarian farming practices, but it reflects a beautiful philosophy called Tri Hita Karana:  That the spirit, human and natural worlds are One.



And then at the bottom are two incredible rows of 11th century funereal monuments, shrines that house the souls of ancient kings.  The Pakersian River flows through the center of the site, separating the rock-cut niches into two sections.  There are five on one side and four on the other, connected by a bridge.





Next to these monuments is an old monastery, also cut out from rocks.  We had fun exploring the caves and admiring the overhanging roofs heavy with grass.


Please don't let all the steps scare you.  Going back up, my travel buddy and I had to stop many many times.  There are dozens of vendors selling bottles of chilled water, fresh coconuts and sodas along the way.  We were flushed and tired when we reached the stop, but our wonderful, wonderful,driver had the air conditioner going full blast!

It was well worth the effort.  This one was a Double Wow.
  








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