Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
the holiest shrines are found. The temple's entrance is at the kelod . Kangin is
more holy than the kuah, so many secondary shrines are on the kangin side.
Kaja may be towards a particular mountain - Pura Besakih in eastern Bali
is pointed directly towards Gunung Agung - or towards the mountains in
general, which run east-west along the length of Bali.
1 Candi Bentar The intricately sculpted temple gateway, like a tower split down the middle and
moved apart.
2 Kulkul Tower The warning-drum tower, from which a wooden split drum ( kulkul ) is sounded
to announce events at the temple or warn of danger.
3 Bale A pavilion, usually open-sided, for temporary use or storage. May include a bale gong
(3A), where the gamelan orchestra plays at festivals; a paon (3B) or temporary kitchen to prepare
offerings; or a wantilan (3C), a stage for dances or cockfights.
4 Kori Agung or Paduraksa The gateway to the inner courtyard is an intricately sculpted stone
tower. Entry is through a doorway reached by steps in the middle of the tower and left open
during festivals.
5 Raksa or Dwarapala Statues of fierce guardian figures who protect the doorway and deter
evil spirits. Above the door will be the equally fierce face of a Bhoma, with hands outstretched
against unwanted spirits.
6 Aling Aling If an evil spirit does get in, this low wall behind the entrance will keep it at bay,
as evil spirits find it difficult to make right-angle turns.
7 Side Gate (Betelan) Most of the time (except during ceremonies) entry to the inner courtyard
is through this side gate, which is always open.
8 Small Shrines (Gedong) These usually include shrines to Ngrurah Alit and Ngrurah Gede, who
organise things and ensure the correct offerings are made.
9 Padma Stone Throne for the sun god Surya, placed in the most auspicious kaja-kangin (mountain-
sunset) corner. It rests on the badawang (world turtle), which is held by two naga (mythological
10 Meru A multiroofed shrine. Usually there is an 11-roofed meru (10A) to Sanghyang Widi, the
supreme Balinese deity, and a three-roofed meru (10B) to the holy mountain Gunung Agung.
11 Small Shrines (Gedong) At the kaja (mountain) end of the courtyard, these may include a
shrine to the sacred mountain Gunung Batur; a Maospahit shrine to honour Bali's original Hindu
settlers (Majapahit); and a shrine to the taksu , who acts as an interpreter for the gods. (Trance
dancers or mediums may be used to convey the gods' wishes.)
12 Bale Piasan Open pavilions used to display temple offerings.
13 Gedong Pesimpangan Stone building dedicated to the village founder or a local deity.
14 Paruman or Pepelik Open pavilion in the inner courtyard, where the gods are supposed to
assemble to watch the ceremonies of a temple festival.
Architectural Conservation
In Bali by Edo Budiharjo
examines the case for
conservation of
architectural heritage
on the island of Bali, an
important issue at a time
when modern forms are
appearing everywhere.
Temple Types
There are three basic temple types, found in most villages. The most impor-
tant is the pura puseh (temple of origin), dedicated to the village founders and
at the kaja end of the village. In the middle of the village is the pura desa, for
the many spirits that protect the village community in daily life. At the kelod
end of the village is the pura dalem (temple of the dead). The graveyard is also
here, and the temple may include representations of Durga, the terrible side
of Shiva's wife Parvati. Both Shiva and Parvati have a creative and destructive
side; their destructive powers are honoured in the pura dalem .
Other temples include those that are dedicated to the spirits of irrigated
agriculture. Rice-growing is so important in Bali, and the division of water
for irrigation is handled with the utmost care, that these pura subak or pura
ulun suwi (temple of the rice-growers' association) can be of considerable
importance. Other temples may also honour dry-field agriculture, as well
as the flooded rice paddies.
In addition to these 'local' temples, there are a lesser number of great
temples. Each family worships its ancestors in the family temple, the clan
worships in its clan temple and the village in the pura puseh . Above these
are the state temples or temples of royalty, and often a kingdom would
have three of these: a main state temple in the heartland of the state (such
as Pura Taman Ayun in Mengwi, western Bali); a mountain temple (such
as Pura Besakih, eastern Bali); and a sea temple (such as Pura Luhur Ulu
Watu, southern Bali).
Every house in Bali has its house temple, which is at the kaja-kangin cor-
ner of the courtyard. There will be shrines to the Hindu 'trinity' of Brahma,
Shiva and Vishnu; to taksu, the divine intermediary; and to tugu, the lord
of the ground.
Scores of open-air carving
sheds supplying statues
and ornamentation to
temples and shrines are
a highlight of the road
between Muncan and
Selat in East Bali
(see p220).
Temple Design
Temple design follows a traditional formula. A temple compound contains
a number of gedong (shrines) of varying sizes, made from solid brick and
stone and heavily decorated with carvings. See the boxed text, opposite, for
an example.
(toward the
the sunrise)
Temple Decoration
Temples and their decoration are closely linked on Bali. A temple gateway
is not just erected; every square centimetre of it is carved in sculptural relief
and a diminishing series of demon faces is placed above it as protection. Even
then, it's not complete without several stone statues to act as guardians.
The level of decoration varies. Sometimes a temple is built with minimal
decoration in the hope that sculpture can be added when more funds are
available. The sculpture can also deteriorate after a few years because much
of the stone used is soft and the tropical climate ages it very rapidly (that
centuries-old temple you're looking at may in fact be less than 10 years old!).
Sculptures are restored or replaced as resources permit - it's not uncom-
the sunset)
Temple design varies greatly,
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