Standing majestically on the east coast of Bali is the island’s highest mountain: Gunung Agung or even Mount Agung Bali, based in the area of Karangasem. With its summit reaching a height of 3, 031 meters above sea level, Mt. Agung influences its surrounding climate. Its western slopes capture the rain clouds making the west side rich and lush, while its eastern slopes remain dry and bare. The Balinese think that Mt. Agung is the home of the gods and the volcano consequently is revered as sacred. It’s on this mountain mother of all the temples in Bali is situated, known as Pura Besakih.
Entering the temple one has to climb hundreds of steps before reaching the gate. But, fortunately, other stairs with simpler climbs can be found to make it simpler for females carrying large mountains of offerings on their head to achieve the temple. Best time to visit Besakih is in Galungan celebrations when the whole entry and temple is beautifully adorned with tall bamboo poles, coconut leaves and flowers, while countless women in a neat row, in their best white suit gracefully carry piles of colorful fruits and flowers on their heads. While, controlling protectively in the backdrop of the temple looms Mt.
Agung. This actually is a spectacle never to be forgotten. Though Mt. Agung inspires peace and tranquility, however, after one hundred years of slumber, on 17 March 1963 the volcano burst violently, spewing ash and volcanic materials eight to ten kilometers high to the air while pyroclastic clouds rolled down all areas of the mountain. People perished. Along with the whole Surrounding down to Kintamani was blanketed for months in deep gray ash. But astonishingly, the ash brought fertility and big yams grew from the volcanic material.
Today, however, the landscape has become fertile and green, and Mt. Agung became a hard mountain to climb. There are two paths that trekkers might follow, the steepest and toughtest being the road right by Pura Besakih. The 2nd is along its southern summit starting from Pura Pasir Agung. Reaching the top one has a spectacular see on Bali with at the east of the island of Lombok with its own volcanic peak of Mt. Rinjani.