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Besakih Temple

Besakih Temple is the biggest Hindu Temple in Bali that is famous called by Mother Temple located in Besakih Village, Rendang District and Karangasem Regency. It is situated on the southwest slope of Agung Mount and blessed by the beautiful natures, cool temperatures and peaceful atmospheres. Besakih Temple is one of the famous tourist destinations in Bali and many visited by domestic and foreign tourists. The location on the foot of mountain is deliberately choose based on believe that Agung Mount is the highest mountain in Bali Island like the high and secret of Agung Mahameru Mount at the heaven.

Besakih Temple History

Name of Besakih is come from the word Basuki. In some Lontar (Bible made from palm leafs) are mentioned Basuki or Basukih. Basuki is deriving from Sanskrit and in ancient Javanese language means safety. In mythology Samudra Manthana is mentioned that Basuki is a dragon wrapping the Mandara mount. The relics from megalithic tradition such as Menhir, Stone Throne and Pyramid Structure Terrace found in Besakih Temple complex suggesting as a sacred place, it seems that Besakih is come from very old era, long before the Hindu influence in Bali.   

Based on the traditions after the Hindu influences around 8 century, it was mentioned that Rsi Markandya in earth Pancadatu (gold, silver, copper, bronze and iron) at Basukian Temple. Next the ancient Balinese king, Sri Kesari Warmadewa established Merajan Selonding Temple at Besakih Temple Complex. He also ordered the establishment of Blanjong Monument at Sanur Village in year 913 AD to commemorate the victory against other regions.

On the governance of Erlangga, Mpu Bharadah came to Besakih Temple based on Batu Madeg Temple Inscription in year (Candra Sangkala) mentioning that 'Nawa San Apit Lawanng' 929 saka (1007 AD).

Sri Kresna Kepakisan King who ruled around 1352 AD at Samprangan Kingdom has ordered their assistants to worship the god at Besakih Temple.

Gelgel King like Dalem Ketut Ngulesir, Dalem Waturenggong  and his successors order to worship at Gunung Toh Langkir Temple that is the different name of Besakih Temple.

The first Klungkung King is Dewa Agung Jambe and other kings in Klungkungs as well as other kings in Bali Island conducted the ceremony and maintenance at Besakih Temple.

Besakih Temple Complex is built based on the balance of cosmos. Over natural conception underlying the spread of Besakih complex organized multiple directions, so that the building could represent the balance of natures as a symbolic of the universe balances.

Ista Dewata – 10 Gods at Multiple Directions

The main direction is East, South, West, North and Central as a center point. Each cardinal direction is called by Mandala with the ruling deity called ‘Dewa Catur Lokapala’ and the central Mandala become ‘Panca Dewata’. The realization of the cosmos concept as follows:

* Penataran Agung Besakih Temple as a center Mandala in central point to worship the Shiva God
* Gelap Temple located in east direction to worship Iswara God
* Kiduling Kreteg Temple located in south direction to worship Brahma God
* Ulun Kulkul is located in west direction to worship Mahadewa God
* Batumadeg Temple located in north direction to worship Vishnu God.

In Hindu philosophy, five gods (Panca Dewata) is a manifestation of Shiva God and move over complex become 10 gods (Eka Dasa Rudra) includes Iswara God, Mahaeswara God, Brahma God, Rudra God, Mahadewa God, Sangkara God,  Wisnu God, Sambu God, Siwa God, Sadasiwa God and Paramasiwa God.

Ancient relics existed at Besakih Temple complex can be classified into 2 types those are the relics belonging to the megalithic tradition and classic tradition.

  1. Megalithic Tradition Relics

Several relics belonging megalithic tradition includes Menhir is as standing stone found at Batu Madeg Temple, chair stone found at Kidulung Kreteg Temple and Pundan (Terrace) found at Dalem Puri Temple. Beside of the above forms, the courtyard layout of Besakih Temple is arranged like terrace that is from megalithic tradition. The megalithic traditions are basically aim to worship the great nature power (super natural power) like sun, mountain and the holy dead souls.

  1. Classic Future Relics

Classic future relic is come from the influence of Hinduism. The classic relics at Besakih Temple complex are predicted many come from Majapahit period in 13 – 15 century. Some relics from classic period are inscriptions,  Lingga, statue, gamelan, Selonding and other ceramic items. The inscriptions had been found are Batu Madeg Inscription (929 saka), Penataran Besakih A Inscription (1366 Saka), Penataran Besakih B Inscription (1380 Saka).