Viral tweet shatters ethereal image of Bali’s ‘Gates of Heaven’

‘Gates of Heaven’ photo at Pura Lempuyang Luhur in Karangasem. Photo: Polina Marinova / Twitter
‘Gates of Heaven’ photo at Pura Lempuyang Luhur in Karangasem. Photo: Polina Marinova / Twitter

You might have come across it once or twice while scrolling through your Instagram timeline, a snap of Bali’s very own “Gates of Heaven” and its reflection on a stunningly clear body of water, making the photo hotspot looks exceptionally out of this world. 

What most people who see those pics probably don’t know is that it’s located at Pura Lempuyang Luhur in Karangasem regency, and perhaps even fewer are aware that there’s actually no water around this stunning split gate location. 

Yes, you read that right, folks. As Polina Marinova pointed out on Twitter, the “water” at the Gates of Heaven is really just a piece of glass placed under a camera. 

“Proof that Instagram influencers have ruined everything. My hopes & dreams were shattered when I found out the “water” at the Gates of Heaven is actually just a piece of glass under an iPhone,” Marinova tweeted. 

While it doesn’t necessarily make the temple in Lempuyang Hill any less gorgeous or stunning (I mean, that amazing view of Mount Agung is truly something else from this perspective), this tidbit has undoubtedly shattered the image of Gates of Heaven that’s been so popularized on social media. 

A simple search of “Pura Lempuyang Luhur” location on Instagram reveals that most people who choose to share pics from their visit to the Gates of Heaven incorporate that reflection trick, making it look as if the gates were sitting right by a clear body of water. 

Now that the secret is “out there,” perhaps more people should’ve asked how much sense it made for the gates to have been placed just so atop a body of water, but the effect is so magical we can understand why so many just bought into it. 

Another disappointed tourist, Bathabile Amirchand, replied to Marinova’s tweet and said she felt “so catfished” when she saw the Instagram hotspot with her own eyes. 

Another user, Ashwin Kumar, shared some of his “real” shots of Pura Lempuyang Luhur, joking that there had at least been a “tiny water puddle” during his visit. 

Polina’s viral tweet is a good reminder that tourists shouldn’t be visiting places for the sole purpose of getting that all-important Instagram shot, since there are many other things worth focusing on. 

Pura Lempuyang Luhur is, after all, one of Bali’s oldest and most revered temples. It’s one of those gorgeous spots away from the tourist-filled south. The name itself refers to a collection of temples along the hiking path to the summit, with the main temple – known as Pura Penataran Lempuyang – located 1,175 meters above sea level. 

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