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Bali's Lempuyang temple 'gates of heaven' less dramatic than expected

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, July 6, 2019  /  04:53 pm
Bali's Lempuyang temple 'gates of heaven' less dramatic than expected

Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang in Karangasem, Bali has been a must-visit place for tourists to strike a pose at its Instagram-worthy gate. (Shutterstock/Suriyan Dangintawat)

Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang in Karangasem, Bali has been a popular place to strike a pose at its Instagram-worthy gate in front of a pristine pool of water that reflects the sky above it. So beautiful, the spot has been dubbed the “gates of heaven”.

However, upon arrival visitors may find no pristine pool of water reflecting the sky, unless they count a small puddle.

Fortune magazine editor Polina Marinova tweeted that her expectations were shattered when she found out that the sprawling pool of water in front of the gates was merely created by a sheet of glass used along a smartphone camera to take dramatic photos.

Marinova also posted a behind-the-scene picture of how photos of people at the temple gates are taken, in which a Balinese man squatted to get the perfect angle, while balancing a mirror under the lens of a smartphone camera with which he took the photos.

The tweet, posted on Wednesday, has garnered over 8,000 retweets, around 13,000 likes and triggered more than 350 replies at the time of writing, discussing the pros and cons of the trick.

Among the reply, an account @ashwinvx posted a picture of him visiting the site, saying that there was actually a small puddle of water.

Many commenters blamed Instagram influencers for contributing to the over-exposure of the ancient prayer site, while others blame locals  for commercializing their own culture.

A Balinese man with account name @ngurahsaka, however, lamented that tourists often had unrealistic expectations of how Bali should be and that he often had to wait for tourists to take pictures before entering the place of worship. 

Read also: Tourists spend in an hour in line to take selfies at this Bali beach

Pura Lempuyang is located within the slope of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem, Bali. It is considered one of the most highly regarded temples in Bali. The temple is one of the Sad Kahyangan (six sanctuaries of the world), which are the six holiest places of worship in Bali.

Nestled at a height of around 1,175 meters above sea level, the temple is reachable by climbing a steep staircase of more than 1,700 steps. Visitors can enjoy the surrounding cool forests, hordes of grey long-tailed macaques and several other temples along the way up. (mut)

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