Standing majestically on the eastern seaboard of Bali is the island’s highest mountain: Gunung Agungor Mount Agung, located in the district of Karangasem. With its summit reaching a height of 3,031 meters above sea level, Mt. Agung affects its surrounding climate. Its western slopes catch the rain clouds making the west side lush and fertile, while its eastern slopes remains dry and barren.
The Balinese believe that Mt. Agung is the abode of the gods, and the volcano therefore is revered as sacred. It is on this mountain that the mother of all temples in Bali is located, called Pura Besakih. Entering the temple one has to climb hundreds of steps before reaching the main gate. But, fortunately, other staircases with easier climbs are available to make it easier for women carrying high mountains of offerings on their head to reach the temple.
Best time to visit Besakih is at Galungan celebrations when the entire entrance and temple is beautifully decorated with tall bamboo poles, coconut leaves and flowers, while hundreds of women in a neat row, in their best white costume gracefully bear piles of colorful fruits and flowers offerings on their head. While, commanding protectively in the background of the temple looms Mt. Agung. This is indeed a spectacle never to be forgotten.