Besakih Mother Temple
The Mother Temple of Besakih, in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia, is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, and one of a series of Balinese temples.
Besakih temple, covering a vast area that offers breathtaking mountain scenery surrounding this beautiful and artistic temple complex. Facing Mt. Agung’s highest peak, believed to be the abode of the gods, and located at an altitude of 900 meter. Then onto the Mother Temple of Bali, Besakih which sits at an altitude of over one thousand feet, on the volcanic slopes of Mount Agung.
Besakih is comprised of 23 separate but related temples and is the most important temple for the Balinese Hindu Religion. A lunch stop is made at Bridges Restaurant (own expense) in Ubud where you will have approximately 1.5 hours free time to explore this famous township, but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. This is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. This entrance is an imposing Candi Bentar (split gateway), and beyond it the even more impressive Kori Agung is the gateway to the second courtyard.
The largest temple in the complex, Pura Penataran Agung, has different areas representing seven layers of the universe, each with their own shrines. Pura Pasimpangan on the downstream side (on the east of the main street) and Pura Pangubengan upstream are approximately three kilometres apart.
Located on higher ground, the closest to Mount Agung’s peak, Pura Pangubengan has great vistas and it’s about a 30-minute walk from the main Pura Penataran Agung. Around 10 minutes to the east of Pura Pangubengan is Pura Batu Tirtha. It is where holy water is sourced for the ‘karya agung’ ceremonies at Pura Besakih and Pekraman villages.
Four temples in the complex reflect four forms of God at compass points: Pura Batu Madeg in the north, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the south, Pura Gelap in the east, and Pura Ulun Kulkul in the west. ‘Batu ngadeg’, literally ‘standing stone’, is found in the shrine of Meru Tumpang Sebelas at Pura Batu Madeg. This is where Vishnu is believed to descend. Still in the courtyard of Pura Batu Madeg, in front of Meru Tumpang Sebelas is the Pesamuan shrine (quadrangle-shaped with two lines of 16 poles) as a symbol of how Vishnu’s power interrelates with the world.
At least 20 minutes to the northwest from Pura Batu Madeg, down the footpath to the valley and along the river, is Pura Peninjoan – erected on a tiny hill. The beautiful views from here include all the shrines of Pura Penataran Agung, beaches and southern Bali in the distance. On the west is Pura Ulun Kulkul, famous for the main and most precious ‘kulkul’ (Balinese wooden slit gong) on the island. Kulkul is a signaling device to summon or convey special messages.
On the northern side of Pura Ulun Kulkul is Pura Merajan Selonding where the ‘Bredah’ inscription mentions a king in Besakih, and a set of ancient gamelan called ‘Selonding’ are kept. Pura Gua, located on the eastern side of the main street, is the home of the dragon deity. There’s a big cave at the canyon of the river on the east that has its mouth closed due to erosion, but people still sometimes practise yoga there.
Pura Jenggala, southwest of Pura Penataran Agung, is also often called Pura Hyang Haluh by the local devotees. The ‘Setra Agung’ burial grounds is south of the temple. Here are sacred ancient stone statues in the form of the mythical garuda bird. Pura Basukian Puseh Jagat is located southeast of Pura Penataran Agung, the main foundation of Pura Besakih.