Referred to as the mother of all temples, Besakih temple holds a very high name when it comes to the rituals, beauty, tradition and Balinese culture
Visiting Besakih temple
Besakih temple is situated at the foot of Mount Agung. In fact, from the back drop, mount Agung gives Besakih temple a very mystical look and feel from the distance.
Besakih temple Complex
Besakih temple has a total of 23 temples built over 7 terraces. These 7 terraces represent the seven layers of the universe. Out of seven terraces, three are dedicated to Hindu Trinity i.e. Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer). Pura Penataran Agung (in the centre) has white banners and represents the Lord Shiva, the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg temple (to the right) with red banners represents Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners. Rest of the four also represent four different forms of God in four direction. These are Pura Batu Madeg in the north, Pura Kiduling Kreteg in the south, Pura Gelap in the east and Pura Ulun Kulkul in the west.
Besakih Temple Architecture
Temples sit on parallel ridges. It has stepped terraces and flights of stairs which ascend to a number of courtyards and brick gateways that in turn lead up to the main spire or Meru structure, which is called Pura Penataran Agung. All this is aligned along a single axis and designed to lead the spiritual person upward and closer to the mountain which is considered sacred.
The main sanctuary of the complex is the Pura Penataran Agung. The symbolic center of the main sanctuary is the lotus throne, or padmasana, which is therefore the ritual focus of the entire complex. It dates to around the seventeenth century.
Prayer Ritual at Besakih temple
I had the opportunity to offer prayer at the Besakih temple with one of my Balinese friend. Different temples belong to different clans and each temple has their own small courtyard for offering prayers. I had the opportunity to offer prayer there too. Balinese offer prayer to their ancestors and Gods first in the temple which belongs to their clan.
After offering prayer there, we went to the main temple. In the main temple, the main priest offers the temple and people wait in the queue with their friends, relatives, and family to offer the prayer. The main priest sits in the front while and leads the whole prayer procession. A prayer ritual at Besakih temple usually involves praying with five different flowers, then lighting the incense sticks, followed by the visit to the main temple.
Attire for Non-Hindus
Non-Hindus are only allowed to enter only one of the temples while Hindus, even from other countries such as India, Mauritius, Trinidad etc. can enter all the temples and offer their prayers. However, being the holiest and biggest of all the temples, having a proper attire is mandatory for entering the temple. These attire are called Sarongs and sashes. These are also available for rent outside the temple on the stalls. Also make sure bare knees and shoulders are not visible
Besakih temple entrance fee
Visit to the Besakih Temple (Pura Besakih) are subject to an entrance fee of IDR 60,000 IDR per person for adult, and IDR 30,000 IDR per person for kid. The ticket can be bought at the ticket counter in the parking which located just the entrance gate of Pura Besakih. And the payment should be cash in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), so please prepare small cash before you come here.