Temple is commonly referred to as pura in Balinese. Pura is a sacred place where the Hindus are praying. The Biggest Temple, which is the mother temple in Bali, is called Pura Besakih. The location is in the Eastern Part of Bali, Karangasem. The temple stands on the South West side bevel of Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali and considered as a holy place.
The temple has been there since the 10th century and was built up by Rsi Markandeya from India. He was in East Java for his meditation then move to central java for another meditation when receiving the God’s command to open a new area in Bali and to share it to all his followers. At that moment he was with 8000 followers to open a new area in Bali as tasked. During the process of opening a new huge area, many of his followers died of sickness or attacked by animals in the forest they opened. Then Markandeya decided to return back to his original meditation place until he found a good day to reopen the place he left. He and his 4000 followers then did the hard work and succeeded. The followers finally were given their part to start their living in the new opened area. In the place where the area opened, Rsi Markandeya buried a pan consisted of water, panca datu consisted of gold, silver, bronze, iron and copper including offerings. The place where he buried all those then called Basuki. In its development, then Basuki turns to be known as Besakih.
In general, temples in Bali are divided into three parts of area, which is called Mandala concept. The outer part is called Nista Mandala. This outer area is mainly used for religious dance performances and is an open space of garden. Besakih’s Nista Mandala is a huge green garden with steps to enter the middle part of the temple. Madya Mandala is the middle area, which is used for temple’s supporting facilities such as the gamelan pavilion, the meeting pavilion, the temple’s kitchen, the wooden slit drum tower and the pesandekan pavilion or a place to take a break. The main area is Utama Mandala. This is the most sacred place of a temple where shrines are located for praying. The Besakih temple’s main mandala consists of 18 temples. The biggest temple within the complex is Pura Penataran Agung, which is the centre, surrounded by 17 temples.
There are several ceremonies conducted in the temple every year. The most remarkable ceremonies are; Annually ceremony, Betara Turun Kabeh meaning in English all Gods are present to earth, Panca Wali Krama every 10 years and every a hundred year is Eka Dasa Rudra. This complex is open for exploration and touristic purposes as long as all visitors respect the regulations of the temple. Some regulations which need to be obeyed for the non-Hindu visitors are not entering the temple for women during their monthly period since this is considered as unclean situation and for those whose relative die because it is believed that the energy is negative which can affect the spiritual balance and visitors should cover up the under part of their body with sarong to be more polite.
Taking 2 hours drive from the Bali international airport is worthwhile to see the beauty of this temple. The plateau area on which the temple is built giving more dramatic setting. The great and mysterious Mount Agung is decorating the back part of the temple. Moreover, the view from the top of Besakih is breath taking and unforgettable. Inhaling the fresh and cool breeze covered up the temple’s area would make us standing there for a while to enjoy the painting-like panorama. Besides as religious centre, the temple complex is also as tourists’ attraction to experience the old temple’s architectures, which is combined with tranquil scenery. The mix accentuates the religious atmosphere of the temple. It will take an hour to really explore the temple and to find out hidden beauty and history.