One of Bali's most popular and Instagrammable destinations, the Lempuyang Temple, is currently generating a lot of buzz on the Internet and drawing flak from the netizens. As it turns out, the famous "Gates of Heaven" is not exactly identical to what influencers post on their curated feeds—and worse, it could potentially trigger a serious case of "expectation versus reality."
On Instagram, the Gates of Heaven is pictured like these:
The place is a must-visit in Bali for its breathtaking view that shows off the mountain and the beautiful blue sky, which turns into a dramatic orange and pink by dusk. But its most notable feature? Right below seems to be a clear lake or pond that gorgeously reflects the Gates of Heaven like a mirror.
However, The Independent reports that while the scenic view of the mountain and the sky is real, the mirror pond is not. In fact, in real life, there is no water underneath at all. And without the fake mirrored effect, this is what the temple really looks like:
In place of the supposed body of water inside the Hindu temple, a grassy field can be found. "The realisation has led many disgruntled tourists to leave one- or- two-star reviews on TripAdvisor, where they have lamented the 'fake' landmark, as well as the queues," The Independent writes.
User Kathrynt1688 called the place "beautiful but missold." She narrates from her personal experience: "The view is incredible from the heaven's gate but the photos are not as [there seems to be] no water in front just a trick of the camera and [theres's] over a two-hour wait to get your photos taken in front of Mount Agung."
The sentiment is echoed by another disappointed tourist's review online. User Lajarajesse says, "I was convinced that this place was nestled between a beautiful, clear pond, and the gate. To my surprise, this place does not have a pond/lake/or any kind of water. The illusion is the mirror placed beneath your camera to give it the 'mirrored effect.'"
Polina Marinova, an editor from Fortune Magazine, also shared a now-viral tweet expressing her dismay upon seeing the tourist spot in person. "Proof that Instagram influencers have ruined everything," she writes. "My hopes [and] dreams were shattered when I found out the 'water' at the Gates of Heaven is actually just a piece of glass under an iPhone."