A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3 - Part 1

It's been there for centuries...

overcast 26 °C

On the way to Pura Taman Ayun, we passed by Kerobokan, a town just above Semimyak. Although it's completely surrounded by paddy fields, Kerobokan is actually the center of wood carving furniture.

Many suggested that Balinese performed ritual before carving a piece of wood. Truth is it’s only done when the artist is working on a piece of carving for temple. To do so, the priest would choose an auspicious day and time before they could start work.

As for the rice fields here, water supply is becoming worrying since a few mineral water company was set up. Farmers have no choice but to adjust the time seed and harvest.

Anyhow, rice field is quickly vanishing as tourism eats into the faith of the place. Hotel and resorts are rising in a small village like this.

The faith of the local people is unknown.

As we move along, a village Gian Pasir, we found the oldest Protestant church in Bali. Along the road there were many shops selling stone carving.

Komang told me Buddha and Ganesha is now the favorite subject in carving.

A Catholic church is just a few feet away. Somehow, the architecture of Catholic Church seems to have more Balinese charm.

Pura Taman Ayun, belonged to the Royal Family in Mengwi, built in the 17th century. It is now the temple of village around it.

It was surrounded by baray to prevent Dutch invasion. Garden with carpet grass, banyan tree and fountains.

Like all temples in Bali, it is divided into 3 section – outer courtyard, middle courtyard and inner courtyard.

Outer courtyard is Jaba. An open, public area outside the entrance, entering through Candi Bentar (split gate). Performance will be carrying out here. In one corner of outer courtyard (might) have a bell towel called kulkul. The bell made of a hollow wood and is use to signal arrival and departure of deities.

It's also used to warning people if there's any emergency.

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Candi Bentar, looks like a triangle cut into half, symbolizes the splitting of the material world into male and female halves, like yin and yang, to enter the spiritual realm of the temple.

We found an artist in the outer courtyard painting his latest artwork.

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The middle courtyard is Jaba Tengah, has pavillion for the gamelan music ensemble and other structure to prepare offering and performances whenever there's a temple festival or odalan.

This Barong is an offering made of paddy, grains and beans.

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An offering near the temple complex.

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The inner courtyard, Jeroan, entered through a covered gate called Candi Kurung. It has monumental structure on both side of the entrance, and Boma on top of the gate with scary face and hands. It suggests that Boma is to frighten away the evil forces.

It was said that as you proceed to Jeroan, your head should be as pure as clear water.

In Jeroan, there are many shrines and some chambers in respective spot.

The Pagona like tower is Meru. The roof numbered 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11. The roofs are made of palm tree fiber. It can last at least 30 years, be it rain or shine, except for bird nesting there.

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Komang did explain to me the amount of roof means something. If I remember correctly, the meru with 11 tiers is the tallest shrines and people of all castes are welcome to pray here.

There’s also a chamber for trinity – Brahma, Vishnu/Wisnu, and Siva, and some temple even have the lotus throne in the most sacred spot of the Inner courtyard, for the great priests known as Shanghyang.

Balinese do not worship any idol or sculpture. They believe sculptures of spirits and God are imagination of people. So in the temple, other than the stone carving like Boma as a symbol of uncultivated fertility, you can’t find any specific idol/sculpture in any of the shrines and chambers.

There is so much to learn about. I think I have to live here for awhile to really understand the way of life in Bali.

Komang response was, “You think so?"


  1. Photo courtesy of Damien Photography

Posted by Moonfish 10:44 Archived in Indonesia

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