Yeh Pulu Reliefs
Bali is so full of archelogical wonders that no one was even surprised when, in 1925, the 13th century Yeh Pulu reliefs were uncovered along a small cliff area just 5 minutes walk through the village and rice fields from Ubud Dedari Villas.
Special because it represented an artistic revolution for its time, the carved cliff shows scenes from every day life (including hunting, horse riding and drinking alcoholic beverages) as well as mythological and princely figures, a new style for the Majapahit of Bali.
The local council or "banjar" may charge a very small fee for entrance to the rice field walk which leads to the ravine, but it is well worth the price to see the 25m stretch of intricately carved rock face. The intrepid (or anyone willing to hire a guide) can also follow the path through to the centuries old statue of Ganesh that rises from the fields.
If the priest caretaker is present when you arrive, he will offer to bless you with holy water - and why not accept the blessings of Bali, island of the Gods?
Bali's famous, UNESCO World Heritage listed Goah Gajah (Elephant Cave) is just 20 minutes walk along the forest paths, or 5 minutes ride from Ubud Dedari Villas.
Built in the 9th century as a sanctuary, the complex includes the cave temple, beautiful bathing pools still in use for ceremonial purposes today, sacred trees, tiny waterfalls and massive stone sculptures crumbling into the streams.
You can explore the complex yourself or let the wonderfully characterful caretaker show you around and take your picture in front of some of the more impressive sights.
Places where two or more rivers meet are extremely sacred in the Balinese Hindu culture. The temple is actively maintained and it can be crowded, but a wonderful experience to arrive on a full moon day when locals flock here to perform cleansing ceremonies.
The beautiful manicured gardens at the temple are also perfect for lounging about and soaking up the atmosphere.
Ubud Dedari Villas feature direct access to forest paths through the Petanu River valley from our garden. Walking down a flight of stone steps delivers you to a rainforest wonderland - with a rushing river and many equatorial bird species in the canopy. The entire valley was once part of the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) and Yeh Pulu temple and relief complexes and the archeological remnants of the ancient civilisation that once flourished here litter the path along it's entire length. For part of the way the path also winds around the rice fields and coconut plantations that have supported the people of this valley for millenia.
Catch glimpses of stone faces in the cliff walls, descend into bathing pools carved from the rock to take advantage of natural springs and visit the many temples and shrines as you walk on the easy, well-worn paths. You may even be the only tourists on the route - this is one of Bali's best kept secrets.
It's not difficult to find your way, and there is even direct "back door" access to the Goa Gajah temple complex. If you are concerned about getting lost, or you'd like to be introduced to more of the history of this amazing valley, our manager can put you in touch with a guide. Group walks of up to 4 hours are also available.
The paths are quite solid, but can be slippery or muddy in the wet season right after rain. Make sure you pack some walking shoes to stay comfortable for this adventure.