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Balinese Hindu Temple is a holy place used by Balinese Hindus to worship God and all his manifestations. In Bali, this temple is known as “Pura”, which is built based on certain theological-philosophical concepts as the centre of worship orientation. The temple has an open form with a courtyard that serves as a place of worship. In the perspective of Hindus, the temple is considered a concept of “holy place” which involves a building and a “place” that has been “purified” through a purification ceremony. This makes the place holy both worldly and spiritually. Therefore, when visiting a temple, it is expected to maintain etiquette so that the sanctity of the temple is maintained, so that Hindus can feel comfortable when worshiping. Temples come in various forms, but the purpose remains the same, namely as a place to give thanks to God through praying and offering offerings.

All You Need To Know About Balinese Hindu Temple

  • Meaning Name Pura
  • Types of Temples in Bali
  • Temple Structure in Generals
  • Rules for Entering the Temple
  • Spiritual Tour Balinese Hindu Temple

Meaning Name Pura

The holy place of Hinduism in Bali is called “Pura”, which comes from Sanskrit and means
“-pur, -puri, -pura, -puram, -pore”, which refers to the gate or Angkasa Pura, meaning the gate of the sky. As the Bali Island developed, the term Pura became very special as a place of worship. It is important not to be confused with the term “Puri”, which has a different meaning as a residence for kings and nobles. Before being referred to as Pura, holy places in Bali were also known as Hyang, Kahyangan, or Parhyangan. Over time, the term Pura became more recognised as a place of worship for Balinese Hindus. In the Balinese context, the word Pura refers to a sacred place used to worship and get closer to God, with the hope of improving human quality as individual and social beings. Through temple activities, it is expected that there will be mutual recognition between Hindus, which can then realise internal Hindu harmony.

Types of Temples in Bali

Temples in Bali, as a holy place for Hindus to perform worship, are divided into several categories. Although there are various categories, the purpose remains the same, which is to ask God for physical and spiritual safety. Temples in Bali can be categorised into two main sections, namely Special Temples and Public Temples, depending on the location of the temple. When discussing the types and categories of temples, there are various temples that are intended for specific groups or groups, meant to worship a particular deity. In addition, there are also public temples that can be accessed by anyone who wishes to worship. With these many categories and types of temples, it is no wonder that Bali is often referred to as the island of a thousand temples. This is due to the diversity of temples in Bali based on the type, purpose, and function of each temple :

  1. Special Temples: A temple that is specialised for a specific purpose only. A place of Hindu worship for the purpose of worshipping the type of deity that resides in the temple, and is intended for a specific group or family. This temple can only be visited by a group or family responsible for the care and management of the temple, and is geared towards worshipping a specific deity with a specific purpose and function. Details on the categories of specialised temples can be found below.
    • Family Temple: This is a temple owned by every Hindu family and is usually located in the house of the head of the family. Here, offerings are made daily to pray for physical and spiritual safety. Family Temples for small families include structures such as Sangah Kemulan, Taksu, Pengijeng, and Penunggun Karang, while large families have Sanggah Kawitan that are maintained together to ask the ancestors and God and his manifestations for safety. There are different types of family temples in Balinese Hinduism.
  • Sanggah: A Hindus place of worship within a family, in charge of one or more families with the closest lineage. This temple is located in the home of the head of the family and is used to worship ancestors and God and his manifestations. Sanggah is private, only permitted family members may enter, and permission from the head of the family is required.
  • Dadia Temple: This is a place of worship held by one lineage within a village. Dadia Temple can be considered a higher level than Sanggah. Even though families are still of the same lineage but live separately, they will worship at Dadia Temple to worship their ancestors, deities and their manifestations. Dadia Temple is cared for by lineage families.
  • Pedharman Temple: A place of worship that is cared for by one lineage in a wider scope. That is, if in a village there are still families of the same lineage, even though they live in different villages and districts, they will gather at Pedharman Temple to worship the ancestors and their manifestations. Pedharman Templecan be considered the highest level in the family temple structure, and is cared for by all family members who are still in the same lineage.
    • Swagina Temple: This temple has a function that is tailored to the profession of a certain community, such as farmers, traders, and fishermen. Swagina Temple is focused on the procession of daily life, with the aim of worshipping the gods who reside in the temple, which has a function according to the profession of the community concerned. Below are some types of Swagina Temples that are differentiated based on the profession of the community:
  • Temple Bedugul / Ulun Suwi / Ulun Danu / Subak: This temple is intended for farmers, worshipping Ista Dewata as the God of Prosperity. The expectation is to be given enough water for agriculture, with the ability to bring water out of the earth and bring down rain. Thus, agricultural land is expected to be fertile and farming life prosperous.
  • Melanting Temple: This temple is dedicated to traders, who worship Dewa Kuwera as the giver of prosperity for Hindus who work as traders. The hope is to get instructions and guidance in carrying out their profession, as well as getting luck to improve living standards so that they can support their families.
  • Segara Temple: This is a temple dedicated to people who work as fishermen. This temple worships Dewa Baruna as the ruler of the ocean. The goal is for fishermen to get safety on the way to sea and get an abundant catch of fish, so that they can meet the needs of the family from the sale of the fish.
  1. Public Temple: This is a type of temple that is general or universal, can be used as a place of worship by Hindus regardless of the group, tribe, or profession of the community. This public temple is open to be visited and worshiped by people from all over Bali with one main purpose, namely to ask for safety and welfare to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa as the god of Hindus in Bali. In addition, this temple is also used to worship various manifestations of God so that life becomes harmonious. Below are some general types of temples :
    • Kahyangan Tiga Temple: This is a temple maintained by the residents of a village and serves as a place of worship for three manifestations of God, namely Dewa Brahma, Dewa Vishnu, and Dewa Shiva. For each manifestation, a different temple is built. In every village in Bali, there are these three heavenly temples, which involve Desa Temple, Puseh Temple, and Dalem Temple. Each of these temples worships the manifestations of God according to their respective functions.
  • Desa Temple: It is a place of worship to worship the manifestation of God as Dewa Brahma. Its main function is as the creator of the universe and its contents, with Dewi Saraswati as the goddess of knowledge. The building is usually a large bale and Padmasana, depending on the local customary culture, often located in the centre of the village, and also serves as a place for village meetings.
  • Puseh Temple: It is a place of worship found in every village in Bali, built to worship Dewa Vishnu. Its function is to maintain the universe with Dewi Sri as the symbol of prosperity. The characteristic of this temple building is a seven-stacked meru, and also other meru, which depends on the customs and culture of the local village. An example of a famous Puseh temple is Puseh Batuan Temple.
  • Dalem Temple: It is a place of worship made to worship Dewa Shiva. Its function is as a place of fusion or pralina of nature and its contents, with the magic of Dewi Durga. The characteristic of this temple building is shaped like a gedong. Dalem Temple is often referred to as the Temple of Death by tourists, where the spirits of people who have died but have not undergone a cremation ceremony will reside in this Dalem Temple.
    • Dang Kahyangan Temple: This is one of the ancestral temples established by Dang Hyang Nirarta upon his arrival to Bali. This place of worship was made to worship God and his manifestations. Some of the temples in the Dang Kahyangan Temple complex include Pulaki Temple in the western region of Bali Island, Yeh Jeruk Temple, Pekendungan Temple, Dalem Sakenan Temple, Tirta Empul Temple, Penataran Sasih Temple, Dasar Temple, and Kehen Temple. The beauty of the location and its characteristics make Dang Kahyangan Temple a special attraction.
    • Sad Kahyangan Temple: It is a place of worship for Balinese Hindus that serves to worship the Gods that are scattered in the six cardinal directions of Bali Island. Sad Kahyangan Temple consists of six large kahyangan temples that are considered very sacred by Balinese Hindus. These temples are a legacy of ancestors and religious leaders in the past who are still maintained and respected until now. The six temples in Sad Kahyangan Temple include Besakih Temple, Batur Temple, Lempuyang Temple, Goa Lawah Temple, Uluwatu Temple, Batukaru Temple, and Pusering Jagat Temple.
    • Jagatnatha Temple: It is a place of worship made for the public so that Hindus who are far from home can worship at Jagatnatha Temple. This temple serves as an intermediary temple to the major temples on the Bali Island and is used by various groups, castes, and professions visiting Bali. Jagatnatha Temple in the centre of Denpasar is also a unifying tool for Hindus from all walks of life, demonstrating its role as a place of worship.

Temple Structure in General

The temple as a place of Hindu worship, has a layout that must follow certain concepts and cannot be built carelessly. The concept of temple construction uses Tri Mandala, where the temple grounds are divided into three main parts: outer courtyard, centre courtyard, and inner courtyard. The construction of a temple requires a layout plan and building space in order to create harmony in worship. The parts of the Tri Mandala are as follows :

  1. Nista Mandala: This is the temple courtyard located on the outside of the temple architecture. This is the part that is considered slanderous or dirty and not sacred. Anyone is allowed to enter this part. Some of the buildings in the Nista Mandala include Bale Kulkul as a place for the kentongan, Bale Wantilan as a place for performing arts, and Bale Pewaregan for the kitchen.
  2. Madya Mandala: This is the temple courtyard located in the centre or the middle jaba. This is the sacred part of the temple, where there are buildings such as Bale Agung (long hall), Balai Pagongan as a place for storing gamelan, and Bale Panyimpenan as a place for storing valuable items in the temple.
  3. Utama Mandala: This is the inner courtyard of the temple and is the most sacred part of the temple grounds. Here is the main temple where Hindus perform prayers. In this part, devotees are expected to really focus on facing Sang Hyang Widhi by letting go of worldly desires.

When entering a temple building, visitors are not directly in the main area of the temple. They will go through the outer courtyard, the centre courtyard, and the inner courtyard. You can see the Tri Mandala Concept by visiting Taman Ayun Temple, a village temple in Mengwi that applies the Tri Mandala system. In a visit to this holy place, visitors are expected to behave politely and dress appropriately to respect Hindus who are performing prayers.

Rules for Entering the Temple

Temples as sacred buildings of Hindus, used to worship God and his manifestations. Temples are guarded and maintained by Hindus who live around the temple, and maintaining the sanctity of the temple is an obligation for Hindus to avoid negative things in order to realise harmony in life. The temple has some restrictions and taboos for those who want to enter the temple area, because the temple is considered a sacred place and things that are considered dirty can disturb the sanctity of the temple. Therefore, tourists visiting the temple are expected to obey the rules that have been published in the temple area, including the following prohibitions :

  1. Menstruating Women: Menstruating women are strictly prohibited from entering the temple area as menstrual blood is considered to pollute the sanctity of the temple. Therefore, female travellers who are menstruating should not visit the temple.
  2. After Childbirth: Women who have just given birth are considered not in good health or are considered to carry an unlucky vibe. Therefore, they are not allowed to enter the temple area so as not to pollute the sanctity of the temple.
  3. Family Dies: Devotees or tourists who have a family member who has recently passed away (within 3 days) are considered to be in an unhappy state and are prohibited from entering the temple area. It is recommended to go through this period before visiting the temple.
  4. Immodestly Dressed: Entering the temple area requires traditional Balinese clothing such as sarongs and shawls to respect the sanctity of the temple. Visitors are also not allowed to wear revealing clothing.
  5. Maintain Behavior: When in the temple area, tourists are expected to maintain good behaviour such as not making noise when Hindus are praying, not standing in front of people who are praying, and showing polite and respectful behaviour.

Spiritual Tour Visit Balinese Hindu Temple

Temples are sacred places for Balinese Hindus that are used to worship ancestors and deities and their manifestations. With the existence of temples in every Hindu home and in various cardinal directions, Bali is indeed worthy of being called the island of a thousand temples. To experience the beauty and history of these sacred places, you can go on a spiritual journey by joining our Bali Temple Tour package. This package allows you to visit ancient temples with unique histories, providing a spiritual experience and deep insight into the customs, culture and beliefs of Balinese Hindus. With affordable prices and excellent service, your spiritual journey will be an unforgettable experience, adding to your knowledge of religious and spiritual life in Bali.

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