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Realm of the Deities: Fascinating Pura Temple Around Bali

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The manifesto of religious belief come in many shape and form, including buildings. Bali, the island of God, are also known for it enormous amount of temples, called ‘Pura’ in local words. Balinese ‘Pura’ is a sacred place to worship the adherent Hindu Deity, and are meant to be a pleasant resting place for them. Here, Balinese occasionally held various type of rituals, from simple offering and praying session to strings of festivals of dance and traditional music held to please the Hindu gods and ask for their continuous blessings. Here are 10 Pura temple that you have to visit during your blissful holiday in Bali.

  1. Pura Besakih

Perches around 1000 meters on the slopes of the mighty Mount Agung, Besakih is the largest, holiest and most important temple in the island of Bali.Pura Besakih features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung in the centre has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg on the right side is with red banners for Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. Of course you can also visit other temples in Besakih grand complex but most of their inner side are closed for public and reserved for pilgrims.

2. Pura Tanah Lot

One of the most iconic ancient site in the world, many postcard has featured the majestic silhouette of Tanah Lot temple with golden sunset in the background. History said that the rock formation first found by a priest named Nirartha in 15th century. Later the priest told the fishermen that resides the area to build a shrine to worship Balinese sea Gods and he named the temple ‘Tanah Lot’ which literally translated to ‘Land in the Sea’. Now the area is never empty from curious tourists and Balinese Hindu who come to pray and held a traditional ceremony at the temple.

3. Pura Penataran Sasih

Located in the peaceful village of Pejeng, Penataran Sasih Temple is one of Balinese ‘Kahyangan Jagat’, means it is considered as the most important and ancient temple to guard Bali from all the negative spirits. The temple name ‘Sasih’ is derived from old Sanskrit word means ‘Moon’, this is due to a very ancient relic that lay in the center of the temple area, a bronze ancient percussion instrument called ‘nekara’ which origin has baffles scientist and archeologists alike, the nost recent theory state that the relic merely comes from the Dongson civilization of Northern Vietnam.

4. Pura Tirta Empul

Built at 962 A.D , at the time where Warmadewa Dynasty rule with all of its glory for over 4 centuries upon a natural spring, Pura Tirta Empul has been known as a sacred place where Balinese-Hindu people go for purification to cleanse their mind and body with refreshing water. Balinese believe that the spring was created by the God Indra himself, when his army was poisoned by the power of Mayadanawa, the King of God thrust the ground with his mighty spear and create a purifying spring of water. Since then, the spring of Tirta Empul draws not only local Balinese people but also tourist from all over the world to bathe and cleanse themselves for healing and spiritual purpose.

5. Pura Goa Lawah

Sit near a hilly bank at Pasinggahan countryside, Dawan sub district, Klungkung Regency, Goa Lawah is considered a sacred site. Its location between the mountain and sea fits perfectly with the ‘lingga-yoni’ spiritual aspect, thus makes Goa Lawah a perfect place to worship the Hindu deities. There is a temple inside the cave named Pura Goa Lawah, which regularly used by Balinese Hindu believers to pray. The name ‘Goa Lelawah’ actually translated to ‘Bat Cave’, was given by the holy man himself, as upon his arrival to the cave, he witness the majestic view of thousands bat dangling from the cave ceiling, their voices clamoring beautifully throughout the entire area.

6. Pura Uluwatu

Perched atop gorgeous cliff, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of six key temples in Bali. It is believed to be the spiritual pillar that protects the island from evil spirits. Sets upon the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves, the temple is, without any doubt, one of the top places on the island to go to for a sunset delight, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. There is a small patch of forest in front of Pura Luhur Uluwatu, which is inhabited by hundreds of monkeys. Old believes said they are the manifest of guardians that protect the temple from any bad influences and negative spirits.

7. Pura Rambut Siwi

One of the important sites built to maintain spiritual balance of Bali’s surrounding land and sea, Pura Rambut Siwi is one of few water temples in Bali that held significant meaning among Balinese Hindu people. The temple’s serene atmosphere of is somewhat rejuvenating and good to restore your state of mind. Come visit during daytime or when there are no big ceremonies happening to experience the best of the temple’s tranquility. The temple offer sensational views overlooking the sea and down over the temple, or you can descend the stairs leading to the shrine directly in front of the beach area. The main temple located in low cliff bank and blessed by the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean.

8. Pura Samuan Tiga

Situated in the village of Bedulu, 5 km from Ubud, Pura Samuan Tiga is an exceptionally unique temple said to be a place where god, deities and saint meets altogether. The archeological trace has revealed that Pura Samuan Tiga was built around 10th century. It is actually a royal temple of the ancient Warmadewa dynasty. The temple has seven courtyards separated by walls and split gates, but connected by stairs leading up to the innermost courtyard, believed to be the meeting hall of three holy spirits.

9. Pura Taman Ayun

Overtaking a vast landscape of garden and water features, Pura Taman Ayun is the mother temple of Mengwi sub-district which considered as one of the most charming temple in Bali. Located at Badung District, about 18 kilometers from the city of Denpasar, Taman Ayun is a royal temple built by the king of Mengwi at 16th century used as a special place to honor the deified ancestors of Mengwi Dynasty and important gods. The temple are located in the middle of lush green park, pass the bridge above broad , fish-filled water canals, highly ornamented outer gate, fountains, and more gardens inside.

10. Pura Goa Gajah

Lies on the Western side of the island, Goa Gajah are a remnant of sanctuary once used as a contemplative hermitage. The name of the site is originally derived from the intersection of two rivers that creates massive spiritual energy (‘Gajah’ means ‘Elephant’ in Balinese and Indonesian). The cave used to be utilized as monastery by Buddhist Monk and Shivite Priest. This conservatism also shows how well the unification of Buddhism and Shiva believers went during that era. It is filled with niches of the hermitage and contains a sanctum area and couple of Buddha statues.

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