Agung – Bali’s Sacred Mountain
Bali is the ‘Island of the Gods,’ and according to the locals, mountains are their abode. Gunung Agung – literally ‘great mountain’ – is the tallest peak on the island, an active volcano that is home to Mahadewa, the supreme manifestation of Lord Shiva.
Sitting around 1000 metres up Agung’s fertile slopes is Pura Besakih, Bali’s ‘Mother Temple,’ a centuries-old complex of 23 terraced shrines. Said to be the only temple where a Hindu of any caste may worship, Besakih brings in pilgrims and culture-curious travellers from far and wide and has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Towering a further 2000 metres up is the lunar-like summit of Agung, whipped by numbing winds and often ringed by clouds. Sulphuric steam regularly floats up from the 800-metre wide crater and Lombok’s Mount Rinjani is visible when skies are clear, a just reward for the five-hour ascent.
The Great Mountain holds sway over many aspects of Bali life – village orientation, family compounds, and temple arrangement all reflect and are influenced by it. ‘Kaja’ is Bali’s version of north, which translates roughly to ‘towards the mountain,’ and ‘kelod’ means ‘towards the sea.’ Of course, as the holy mountain is in a fairly central location, ‘kaja’ is a variable direction.
Photo by Emma-lee Lovett
For some, Agung’s recent rumblings are the sign of a disgruntled god, but most locals today agree that volcanic eruption or not, it is the will of nature. In any case, tourism, agriculture and general livelihoods are feeling the consequences – those living nearby have been evacuated, farmers have had to abandon their fields, and Indonesia’s most sought-after destination is experiencing an unusually peaceful peak-season.
Apart from the recent disruption to selected flight schedules, most areas remain untouched – Bali Tourism Hospitality spokesman Dewa Gede Ngurah Byomantara stated that if a volcanic eruption were to occur, only two percent of the island would be affected.
Katamama sits on the south-west coast in Seminyak, more than fifty kilometres away from the evacuation zone. For those who would like to experience our tropical oceanfront setting and take in Bali’s special culture without the worry of airport closures and extra expenses, we’ve put together the following:
Be Our Guest – Stress-free stays in the laid-back surroundings of Katamama. Reserve any of our suites for a minimum one-night stay and if the airport closes due to volcanic ash fall, we’ll take care of your accommodation for up to five days.
*This offer is only applicable for in-house guests on a room-only basis, excluding breakfast. It is only applicable if Ngurah Rai Airport (Denpasar) closes due to a volcanic eruption from Mount Agung. Offer is valid for (up to) five nights and is only applicable on nights after the agreed check-out date. The total number of complimentary nights is at the hotel’s discretion. Once the airport reopens, the offer is no longer applicable. An official cancellation notice from your airline must be presented to the Hotel.
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