Gunung Kawi Royal Tomb Temple is a protected archaeological site in Bali. It is located on the Pakerisan River, Tampaksiring, Gianyar Regency – Bali. This temple is very unique because it is has a whole carved rock. It also has some shrines and pavilions made of red brick and mountain stones. This temple basically consists of sculptures on the wall of rock Cliff on the river. The name Gunung Kawi itself is said to be derived from the word Gunung and Kawi. Gunung means mountain or mountains and Kawi means sculpture so Gunung Kawi temple means a temple carved on the mountain.
The temple was built in the 11th century AD during the reign of King Udayana and King Anak Wungsu. The King Udayana was one of the most famous kings of Bali from the Warmadewa dynasty. Through her marriage to a Javanese princess named Gunapriya Dharma Patni, she has a son Erlangga and Anak Wungsu. After growing up, Erlangga became a king in East Java, while Anak Wungsu ruled in Bali. At this time the temple was built. One of the archaeological evidence to reinforce the assumption is the inscription above the pseudo-door which uses the letter of Kediri that reads “Hajj lumah ing Jalu” meaning the King (symbolically) who is buried in Jalu. The king in question is King Udayana. Whereas the word Jalu which is a designation for the Spur (weapon) on the rooster, can be associated also as a Kris or fern. The name of Sungai Pakerisan or Tukad Pakerisan is now known as the name of the river that divides the two cliffs of Gunung Kawi Temple. The temple was rediscovered by Dutch researchers around the year 1920.
Gunung Kawi Temple has about 315 steps in the landscaped Pakerisan River. The beautiful atmosphere is the lush trees on the river banks, also the roar of water from the river that is sacred in Bali makes the visitor as if welcomed by the symphony of nature. The stairs to Gunung Kawi temple are made of padas stone framed with stone walls.