It has been some time since I last visited the Mother Temple of Bali; Pura Besakih. I suppose it was all the hassling touts and sellers that were a massive put-off, but nonetheless, it is one of those sacred sights in Bali that is a must-see for every tourist to Bali.
The other problem that disgusted me was back in the late ‘80’s when wandering through the complex I came across some graffiti scrawled on one of the monuments by some peabrain with absolutely no respect for Balinese culture and religion as welll as the holiness of this magnificent structure.
Besakih temple is the most important temple in Bali. Known as the Mother Temple, Besakih sits on the western slop of Gunung Agung, the most holy place for Balinese Hindus. The temple is actually a complex made up of twenty-two temples that sit on parallel ridges. It has stepped terraces and flights of stairs which ascend to a number of courtyards and brick gateways that lead up to the main spire Meru structure, which is called Pura Penataran Agung. All this is aligned along a single axis and designed to lead the spiritual upward and closer to the mountain which is considered sacred.
I was reading an interesting article in the Bali Discovery newsletter this morning regarding the clean-up of the temples’ image. According to the article: While Besakih remains a major tourist and spiritual destination on the island of Bali, a Karangasem Regency religious leader recently expressed to Bisnis Bali his view that all parties involved with the sacred temple, both religious devotees and tourist visitors, need to achieve a shared view of the site and the important role it plays in the island’s cultural and religious life. He said that guides leading people through the complex must always respect the sacred nature of the Temple, obey all rules already in place and not defraud or coerce those visiting the site.
After reading the entire article it has definitely inspired me to return once more and experience the essence of beauty and holiness that the temple is known for. I just hope they rein-in those annoying touts and sellers.