Pura Meduwe Karang – Kubutambahan
Reach this important crossroads town by bemo 12 km from Singaraja’s Penarukan station. Find Kubutambahan where the north coast road intersects the road to the main high way south; from here it is 41 km to Kintamani, five km to Air Sanih, 84 km Amlapura, 12 km to Singaraja, and 108 km to Denpasar. If coming from Amlapura, about 5.5 km before the town is Air Sanih with a number of hotels, several restaurants, and a dive site.
The unusual Pura Meduwe Karang, the “temple of the Owner of the Land,” is about one km beyond the Kintamani turnoff. This important district temple is dedicated to Ibu Pertiwi “Mother Earth,” worshipped to ensure successful fertilization of crops grown on dry, unirrigated land such as coconuts, coffee, and corn. One of northern Bali’s largest temples, its terraced entrance recalls some of Europe’s stately baroque gardens. Steps lead past 34 stone figures from the Ramayana to a big, peaceful, nearly empty courtyard. More steps lead to an inner section containing a huge stone pyramid like base flanked by two bale reserved for offerings.
The temple’s carvings show ghouls, noblemen, home scenes, soft porn, and a riot of leaves and tendrils. One pedestal shows a horrifying rendition of Durga, another a large figure resembling Christ at the Last Supper. The center piece depicts a battle scene from the Ramayana. On the northern wall of the innermost shrine is a famous one-meter-high relief of a Dutch official riding a floral bicycle, a reproduction of a 1904 carving destroyed by an earthquake. The cyclist is W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, a famous Dutch landscape and portrait artist who rode his bike around Bali in the early 1900s, painting as he went. During restoration the bicycle was born anew with lotus-flower spokes; even Nieuwenkamp’s sarong and the bush in the background feature floral patterns. Between his feet and the wheels is a rat and small dog; Nieuwenkamp’s initials and moustache, however, are gone. To view this wonderment, ask for the key, then leave your donation in the shop opposite.
Next to Pura Meduwe Karang is a small warung that sells possibly the beat black rice pudding on Bali. Fantastic coffee, too.
On the corner of the road to Kintamani is Pura Bale Agung; 200 meters away is the Pura Dalem. In the early days it was common practice to paint temples; Kubutambahan’s beautiful Pura Maksan has been painted in just the last few years.
Source : Bali handbook – Bill Dalton