Meduwe Karang Temple is a beautiful landmark in the district of Kubutambahan, North Bali, with some remarkable features to behold. The temple is a great layover along your tour itineraries further east, around 15km of Lovina Beach and within a half hour drive from the capital of Singaraja. Among the centuries old temple’s highlights are classical Balinese stone temple architecture and a peculiar wall relief of a highly stylised man riding a bicycle with floral wheels.
The figure is widely thought to be that of Dutch artist, lithographer and ethnologist, Wijnand Otto Jan Nieuwenkamp, who was also considered the first European artist to visit the island back in 1906. Nieuwenkamp spent a considerable amount of time in these northern parts, including Kubutambahan and Meduwe Karang Temple, studying the local arts and culture with a bike for his daily commute. This in turn inspired locals about this new foreign figure and his strange metal device. So they eventually set their admiration in sandstone.
Despite restorations in the past, the temple’s shrines, walls and reliefs throughout Meduwe Karang Temple complex remain majestic and offer wondrous walks with many detailed carvings and tropical gardens to pause at and admire. No entry tickets apply – however local English-speaking guides may ask for ‘small donations’ (USD 3-7 or IDR 50,000-100,000 should be fine) and in return they’ll show you around and explain the temple’s history in more detail. You could even learn some Balinese phrases, some interesting folklore, and tips on other sites to visit in this less-explored region.
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