Introducing Pura Taman Ayun
The huge royal water temple of Pura Taman Ayun, surrounded by a wide, elegant moat, was the main temple of the Mengwi kingdom, which survived until 1891, when it was conquered by the neighbouring kingdoms of Tabanan and Badung. The large, spacious temple was built in 1634 and extensively renovated in 1937. It's a spacious place to wander around and you can get away from speed-obsessed group-tour mobs ('Back on the bus, pilgrims!'). The first courtyard is a large, open, grassy expanse and the inner courtyard has a multitude of meru (multi-tiered shrines). Lotus-blossoms fill the pools; the temple forms part of the subak system (village association for rice-growers) of sites recognised by Unesco in 2012.
Pura Taman Ayun is an easy stop on a drive to/from Bedugal and the Jatiluwih rice terraces. It is a stop-off on many organised tours.