Mount Agung is an active volcano that towers 3,142 meters above sea level, and considered to be the fifth highest volcano in Indonesia. Legends tell that this mountain was created when Pasopati, an important Hindu God, split the holy Mount Meru and leaving only a fragment, which then he molded into Mount Agung. As a proof of its spiritual importance, this mountain became the settling point of several influencing temples such as Pasar Agung and Besakih (also known as the Mother Temple). There are in total nine temples on this mountain.
Mount Agung is still an active volcano. The latest eruption of this volcano happened in 1963, rendering many legends as well as devastations. It was said that the eruption was a clear sign of bad omens from the gods, proven by the fact that the Besakih Temple was not destroyed at all.
Besides for spiritual ceremony, these two temples are also popular places of interest as well as the starting points for trekking and climbing activities.
The further you go to the east, the more barren and dryer the landscape becomes. This is because rain clouds come from the west during the rainy season (January-February), and the water is mostly taken by the western part of this mountain. There is less rain in April-October, so these months are considered as the best time to climb. At higher elevation, it is very windy and cold.
What to See in Mount Agung
The Besakih Temple is not only an important location for the Balinese population, but also a great view to behold, thanks to its remarkable location next to the southern slope of the mountain. The peak of Mount Agung itself offers spectacular views to the surrounding forests as well as Mount Rinjani on Lombok Island. The sunrise from this spot is absolutely majestic, and a sunrise trekking is a must-do for people enjoying a good climb. Local trekking packages usually include a mountain top breakfast at sunrise, with hot coffee or tea.
During the climbing and trekking routes, there is much natural treasure to behold, from wild macaques and eagles to various flora and lush green forest. The lower elevation of Mount Agung consists of forest, but when it is getting higher, the scenery turns into dramatic barren land with rocks and solidified lava.
For those who do not wish to climb, there are scenic rural driving routes at the foot of Mount Agung, in Sidemen or Selat Area. The roads are surrounded by villages, rice fields and hills.
Around Besakih Temple, there are little souvenir stalls as well as some eating places. Religious ceremonies at the Besakih Temple are wonderful to witness, but non-Hindu visitors might sometimes not be allowed inside some parts of the temple.
How to Approach It
There are three entry routes to visit this mountain: from the East, South and West. The first one is through Tirta Gangga and Karangasem Villages, the second one is from Candidasa and Klungkung, and the third one is from Besakih. The roads are in good condition and accessible by cars, as well as providing a beautiful view.