From Tabanan to Pura Lahur Batukau
Tabanan and Mengwi were once powerful and warring regencies, until the Dutch conquest of southern Bali in 1906. Unlike the Raja King of Karangasam to the east, the Tabanan Raja had no agreement with the Dutch and lost rights to his lands, which were then distributed among the councils of individual villages. With their own land, the community thrived. Together with the other southern regencies, Badung, Gianjar and Tabanan from the island’s most prosperous region, an extension of the rich rice belt. Tabanan is the capital of the district of the same name. The city is large, relatively well organized and a renowned center for dancing and gamelan. Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru
Traveling from Nusa Dua, Kuta or Sanur follow the road signs towards Gilimanuk into center Kota of Tabanana. Here it can be quiet tricky to actually find the turn off where the street heads north gradually up the slops towards Pura Lahur Batukau. The 20 km exceptional scenic road leads through several small villages and passed miles of neatly terraced rice fields which are among the most picturesque in Bali Hiking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali.
Pura Lahur Batukau
At the steep road north of Meliling past Wongaya Gede, about halfway up the slops of the towering 2200 meter high Gunung Batukau, perches the Pura Lahur temple. An unusual complex of shrines and a pool set amidst lush, tropical rain forest. The main enclosure lies at the northern end of the complex, with two smaller temples, Pura Dalem and Pura Panyaum, to the South. A man made lake to the East completes the “cosmic” design. Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru.
This was the state ancestral temple of the Tabanan court, and each of the shrines represents a different dynastic ancestor. Di Made, ruler of the Gelgel between 1665 and 1686, is represented by a shrine with a 7 -tiered roof, and Cokarde Tabanan by one with 3-tiered roof. All of the shrines are very modest, without much ornamentation, which gives a great feeling of unity to the complex.The nearby pond is fed by the river Aa. In the center are two pavilions on a little isle, one for the goddess of Lake Tamblingan and one for the Lord of Mt. Batukau. The sacred peak thus surrounded by waters can be compared with the mythical Mt. Meru where the Gods reside, enjoying themselves in floating pavilions. Hiking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali.
As Gunung Batukau is a seldom visited mountain it can be rather challenging to find a guide. We advise you to get to the temple during the later part of the afternoon and arrange a guide for the next mornings hike. Be prepared to pay a rather steep US$50- US$80 which is outrageous but anything less will not get you a leader which is absolute essential. A terrific place to spend the night is at the Prana Davi Eco lodge on the higher northern side of Meliling about 2 km before the temple. If you wish to be on the summit for sunrise then an early 1.30 am departure is essential. Over the passed years we read many different reports about the actual climb and the time it will take. Often we come across reports that trekking to Batukau is far more challenging then a venture to the summit of Gunung Agung. For us it was always clear that the hiking adventure starts at around 800 meter over sea level and the summit of Batukaru is at approximately 2200 meter or 1400 meter higher. This with the fact that on a normal mountain we normally gain between 400 to 450 meter altitude an hour meant that reaching the summit will take a good 4 hours including 30 minutes rest time. Well we where just about ready to experience the excitement of yet another long extinct volcano. Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru
When we attempted to climb Gunung Batukaru for the first time a few weeks earlier we become seriously lost in very tens forest. The wrong route lead us right into something we really did not want to see. Massive clearing of virgin rainforest to make space for coffee plantations. This in complete contrast to where the actual trek leads up through still very pristine forest. Despite this unexpected encounter we come passed many picturesque sights during our short three hour early morning trekking adventure. hiking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali
The tricky first kilometer
The adventure starts at the car park of Pura Lahur Batukau. Make certain to bring a good torch light as most of the hike will be in tens seldom ventured rain forest. From the car park walk through the large Jandi temple gate and follow the path keeping to the left actually going around the temple. After about 100 meters head left again and follow a long building all the way to the end until you reach steps leading down to the river. Just as you get to the steps there is a sign Puncak Batukau attached on a large tree. A small trek will lead you for 150 meter down to the river. River crossingWhen you get to the river look for a crossing on the left side which will bring you back to the path leading up the ravine for another good 100 meter. The trek then meets another path where you have to turn right. Follow the path for perhaps another 20 or 30 meters and look for the next turn off to the right. Once your passed this next crossing then you can’t get lost anymore, except in a few areas in the jungle where the path is not clearly visible. Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru.
It was on this junction during our first attempt to reach the summit, that we head straight on, ending up an hour later on a dead end somewhere in the midst of tens forest. Unfortunately it was during this first trial that we come passed large areas of this beautiful forest that is being brutally cleared to make space for coffee yet another plantations. Hiking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali
Once passed the halve way mark at around 1500 meter the forest becomes very wet and extremely humid making the trek often very slippery and the going rather dirty. Here you reached the perfect habitat for leeches. Stop frequently and check for this nasty parasites, not forgetting a quick check of your private parts. Unfortunately you will definitely miss some and as a result you end up with rather itchy memories which can be seen for weeks to come. We understand that in some cultures this miserable creatures are used for medical purposes and that people actually pay money to have their blood sucked.!!! Strange humor…….Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru
The final 300 meter altitude
Eventually the going gets very slow as you need to make your way through the very tens undergrowth of this seldom taken path. In several areas it is essential to be very careful as you have to climb through sections where the path has been washed down by resent heavy tropical storms. On the positive side it is in this section where the forest finally opens up and allows you terrific views to the south, west and north. If you are on the way to see the sunrise then by now early day light give you a first glimpse of Bali in every direction. Hiking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali.
Eventually the summit is reached after a comfortable 4 hours of enjoyable jungle hiking. In comparison to other volcanoes definitely not the hardest one, but as we have learned each mountain has it’s own beauty and Gunung Batukau will definitely be remembered for it’s endless leeches invested rainforest. The summit is home to various shrines which are the final destiny for many pilgrimages from villages surrounding Gunung Batukaru. SummitThis fact would give you the possibility to descent from the mountain taking one of the three other treks ending at this final destination.Seen from Bedugul As I sit here and write this short story I am seriously considering to return to the hill village of Bedugul to find yet another guide which can show us another path through the jungle to the summit. Trekking @ Gunung Batukaru Bali