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.

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