Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun translated means ‘beautiful garden’ and is generally regarded as one of the most attractive temples of Bali. The Taman Ayun temple is situated in a beautiful park with trees and ponds, near the village of Mengwi in the south of Bali at about 8 km southwest of Ubud and 18 km northwest of Denpasar.
The majestic Taman Ayun was built in 1634 by the Raja of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Putu and underwent a significant restoration project in 1937. It is a referred to as a Pura Kawiten or “family temple” or ‘mother temple”, a special temple where the ancestors of the Raja Dynasty of Mengwi and important gods of other temples are honored.
Once you are inside the Taman Ayun temple compound, you will discover amazing traditional architectural features throughout, along with beautiful manicured garden landscapes, courtyards, enclosures and fish ponds with lotus flowers. It was the main site for worship amongst the Mengwi villagers and was built primarily so as they need not travel long distances to pray. The compound was also a very unifying system to the local people as well as the Mengwi royalty.
The Taman Ayun Temple compound is divided into four separate areas, each area ranking higher than the other. The first area is named the Jaba or “outer division”. There is only one entrance and walkway over ponds and once inside the entrance, you will find a small guardian shrine and to the right of it, a large wantilan hall where local communal gatherings occur. There is also a large fountain in the vicinity of the entrance.
The next area is named Pura Luhuring Purnama, a small temple located in the next court. Visitors must pass through the entrance to enter this compound through a second gate and enter a sheltered area named Bale Pengubengan. Here you will discover beautiful statues depicting nine Hindu gods, said to guard the nine points of the Dewata Nawa Sanga or “compass”.
Further east of this area is Pura Dalem Bekak, another small temple with an 8 metre wooden bell town named Bale Kulkul. Here, visitors can climb up to the wooden bells and experience a panaromic view of the entire complex. This section is highly recommended to do.
The best part though is yet to come. The fourth and final court is ranked the most high and also the most sacred and named Utama Mandala. The intricate ornately sculptured gate is only open during ceremonies and is the access to many sacred heirlooms and ceremonial artifacts.
The jaba jero can only be accessed during religious ceremonies such as the odalan, the day on which the inauguration of the temple is commemorated. The odalan of the Taman Ayun temple takes place every 210 days on a day called Anggara Kasih, the Tuesday of the week Medangsia of the Balinese Pawukon calendar. The ceremonies of this odalan cover a period of several days.
This is definitely a place worth visiting and spending a bit of time to wander the grounds and explore. You will also find many fantastic photographic opportunities and landscapes to capture.
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