Besakih, Mother Temple in Bali


The Mother Temple of Besakih, in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, is the most important temple of Balinese people, Indonesia, and one of a series of Balinese temples.
The temple probably dates to the fourteenth century. It was built on the south slopes of Mount Agung, the principal volcano of Bali. The temple is actually a complex made up of twenty-two temples that sit on parallel ridges.
It has stepped terraces and flights of stairs which ascend to a number of courtyards and brick gateways that lead up to the main spire Meru structure, which is called Pura Penataran Agung. All this is aligned along a single axis and designed to lead the spiritual upward and closer to the mountain which is considered sacred.
The symbolic center or main sanctuary of the complex is the Pura Penataran Agung and the lotus throne or Padmasana is the symbolic center of the main sanctuary and ritual focus of the entire complex. It dates to around the seventeenth century.
The largest temple inside the complex is Pura Penataran Agung that is dedicated to Shiva. then there are Pura Kiduling Kreteg, representing Brahma, the Creator and Pura Batu Madeg, representing Visnu, the Preserver. Those three manifestations of God are known as Tri Murti.
A series of eruptions of Mount Agung in 1963, which killed approximately 1,700 people also threatened Puru Besakih. The lava flows missed the temple complex by mere yards. The saving of the temple is regarded by the Balinese people as miraculous, and a signal from the gods that they wished to demonstrate their power but not destroy the monument the Balinese faithful had erected.
Annually there are at least seventy festivals held at the complex each year since there is a yearly anniversary celebrating almost every shrine. This yearly cycle is based on the 210 day Balinese wuku calendar system.
The complex is vast and hilly. So it really is necessary to get a guide who is capable and has good knowledge about the temple otherwise you will not really appreciate it. Since there are so many things one can observe and appreciate in the temple complex. For example, one can marvel at the carvings which tell some epic stories such as Ramayana and Mahabrata which decorate the temple traditional architecture and the Kamasan style paintings which are very old.

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