Archive for May, 2010


TANAH LOT TEMPLE


>In the days of the ancient East Javanese Kingdom of Majapahit, there lived a famous saint called Dang Hyang Dwi Jendra. He was highly respected by all for his service to the Kingdom and its people in all matters relating to their prosperity, spiritual well being, and social harmony. He was well known for his dedication to Darma Yatra – or spreading of Hindu religion. In Lombok he was known as Tuan Semeru, or the Lord of Semeru. Semeru is a great volcano in East Java.

During his mission to Bali in the 15th Century, the ruler of Bali at that time, Raja Dalem Waturenggong, welcomed the saint and treated him with great respect. His teachings spread like wild fire in Bali, as he instructed and preached the way of Darma or dutyh. He also erected many temples in order to raise the spiritual awareness and deepen the understanding of the religious doctrines of Hinduism among the people of Bali.

It is said that in his old age, whilst carrying on his mission of Darma Yatra at Rambut Siwi, he was led by a holy light towards the east. He followed the light to its radiant source which was a fresh water spring. Not far from the spoirng he came to an extremely beautiful location known by the local people as Gili Beo. In Balinese gili means coarl or rock, and beo means bird – it was as huge rock in the shape of a bird. He paused at the palce to meditate and pray to the god of the sea.

After a while the local people came from the village of Beraban, and he preached to them. The leader of the people was known as Bendesa Beraban Sakti or the Holy Leader of Beraban.

Up to that time, the local religious beliefs had been based on monotheism. In no time, the news spread of the presence of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a teacher of religion, and many of the villagers became his disciples. Gradually the followers of Bendesa Beraban began to leave him to follow the new ways. This angered Bendesa Beraban and he gathered his followers and went to the saint and demanded that he leave the area. With mystical strength, the saint lifted the great rock on which he had been sitting and cast it into the sea. He then transformed his scarf into snakes and commanded them to stand guard at his refuge. He then named the place “Tengah Lot” which means land in the middle of the sea.

Eventually, the Bendesa Beraban acknowledged the spiritual powers of Dang Hyang Nirartha, and he himself learned the ways an doctrines preached by holy man, and became his most faithful follower, and spread the message to his own people to join the Hindu faith.

As a token of his gratitude, before taking his leave, the saint presented a holy keris or dagger, known as Jaramenara, to the head of the village. This ancient keris is kept, to this day, in the temple of Puri Kediri and is a highly treasured relic. Every year at Kuningan a special ceremony is held to honor the mystical keris – on the day known as Rebo Kliwon Langkir which happens every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar – with an 11 km pilgrimage to the temple of Pura Luhur Pakendungan. This ancient temple was built in 1408 AD just 300 meters from the temple of Tanah Lot. These two important and ancient temples have essentially become one, and the are now linked together by a pathway.

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Pura Taman Ayun is a beautifully appointed temple, with its own surrounding moat, in the village at Mengwi, 18 km west of Denpasar. The history of this temple is closely associated with the beginning of the Kingdom of Mengwi, in 1627 B.C. It was built in 1634 AD, under the rule of the first King of Mengwi named I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung, who later become known as Ida Cokorda Sakti Belambangan.

As the Royal Family temple of the King of Mengwi, this temple is a place to worship the Royal ancestors, who find their rest in a special shrine known as the “Gedong Paibon”.

Following the pattern of most Balinese temples, Pura Taman Ayun has three connecting temple yards. The innermost sanctum is known as “Utama Mandala” (the highest circle), the middle yard as “Madia Mandala” (the circle in between) and the outer as “Nista Mandala” (the humblest circle). Entrance at the main sanctum, one must pass through a raised Gateway, known as the Kori Agung (Padiraksa), and the gateway between the outer and middle connect in a split gate, known as “Candi Bentar”

Apart from the “Gedong Paibon”, dedicated to one ancestor, in the middle courtyard are other shrines dedicated to the various manin temples of Bali. These shrine were built by the King to ensure that his Kingdom and people would be able to share in the prosperity and fertility of the nation, and also to enable all people at Mengwi to conduct the religious ceremonies at the temple, such as “meajar-ajar”, memendak sang Pitara and to request holy water for protecting the rice fields from pestilence, etc.

There is also another shrine on the middle courtyard dedicated to the “Pasek Badak” to worship the spirit of Pasek Badak. The extensive temple grounds of Taman Ayun also function as a resting place for the Royal family. Covering 4 hectares of land, the temple is surrounded by a large pool, which is used to be full of lotus an lily flowers of all colours, and around the edges of the pool can be found frangipani, cempaka, kenanga & other perfumed flowering trees, as well as mangostein, durian, mango and rambutan trees.

The temple has always been strongly influenced by the ups and downs of Mengwi Kingdom. In 1890 there was a war against King of Badung and Mengwi had lost the battle. King of Mengwi the 10th (I Gusti Agung Made Agung) had died and all member of his family that were still alive had to escape to eastern part of Mengwi. During the rule of the victorious King of Badung the temple was never looked after properly, and its buildings deteriorated due to lack of care.

In the year 1911 AD, part of Royal Family returned to Mengwi and Pura Taman Ayun was restored. However on January 20th 1917 a violent earth-quake damaged many of the existing buildings. Repairs have been done in stages to return the temple to its original condition.

The odalan at Pura Taman Ayun falls every 210 days on a day known as “Selasa Kliwon Wuku Medangsia”. Many tourist used to visit the temple even before second world war. The family of Puri Gede Mengwi still maintain the tempe, assisted by a committee made up of the local traditional leaders, such as the village officials from the Mengwi District.