There are thousands of temples scattered about this beautiful island, known as the “island of gods and goddesses.” But do not be mistaken – the Balinese believe in only one God, known as Sang Hyang Widi. What the Balinese call “gods and goddesses” are actually symbols of Sang Hyang Widi’s various powers, represented by certain manifestations that are praised by Hindus.
There are nine temples in Bali that have become the sthana (place) of the nine gods who anchor the harmony of the island. The nine gods are known as Dewata Nawa Sanga (the nine guardians of the compass). Their temples often become the destination for pilgrims from Indonesia and all around the world.
PURA ULUN DANU BATUR
In this pura (temple), God is worshiped in the manifestation of Lord Wisnu, to strengthen the level of consciousness in building economic prosperity. The temple is located in the beautiful Kintamani area, in the Bangli regency. This alluring temple was built next to Lake Batur to emphasize the philosophy that personal prosperity and the wealth of society can be achieved by maintaining the surroundings.
Recognized as the mother temple of Bali, Besakih is believed to be the place of Lord Sambhu and Lord Siwa and is located in the Karangasem regency. It is believed that Besakih is the place to commemorate spiritual happiness. This humongous temple is often visited not only by pilgrims but also by visitors who wish to get a closer look at a famous example of Balinese heritage.
This temple is situated on a hilltop in the Bisbis Abang district, which is also in the Karangasem regency. The name “Lempuyang” is derived from the word “lampu” meaning light and “hyang,” which refers to God as Hyang Widhi. So basically, lempuyang means “holy light of God.” The Balinese Hindus believe that the Lempuyang temple is a shrine to venerate Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa as manifested in the Lord Icwara. It is believed that people who would like to embark on a career in the government should worship Lord Icwara at the Lempuyang temple in order to be able to uphold the best values in serving people.
A pilgrimage to the Lempuyang temple is quite the challenge – it is necessary to climb thousands of stairs in order to get there. At the start of the journey, the pemangku (priest) will remind us about certain things that we should and shouldn’t do. Among the things that are forbidden are harsh talk, complaining or saying you’re tired and giving up, horse play, and littering along the way. Partaking in any of these things will end your journey before you reach the finish line.
PURA GOA LAWAH
The existence of Pura Goa Lawah (the Bat Cave temple) is stated in some manuscripts to be the initiative of Mpu Kuturan around the XI century. The temple stands before the Indian Ocean as the place of Dewa Maheswara. People who come to this temple pray in gratitude to Mother Nature for the unlimited sources of life provided for mankind.
Lord Brahma is worshiped in this temple, and Brahma represents God’s power of creation. The Andakasa temple stands at an altitude of about 200 meters above sea level. To be exact, this amazing temple is located in the Angantelu village of the Manggis district in the Karangasem regency. The temple was built by Mpu Kuturan in the XI century.
The Uluwatu temple is located in the Pecatu village of the Badung regency. The Uluwatu temple is believed to be the temple for worshipping God as Lord Rudra, whose power manages the pathway of every living being on this earth.
The Batukaru temple is the place to worship God in the manifestation of Mahadewa. The temple is located in the village of Wongaya Gede, which is in the Penebel district of the Tabanan regency. It is believed that Mahadewa is the guardian of all natural resources such as trees, animals, and fresh water. The temple is surrounded by a forest, which provides recharging energy to everyone who visits. The Batukaru temple is the best place for meditation – to become one with the universe and merge our energy with that of Mother Earth.
PURA PUNCAK MANGU
The Puncak Mangu temple is the place of God as manifested in Lord Sangkara. Research has shown that Puncak Mangu was built during the megalithic era, proven by a giant artifact found within the temple. Standing two thousand meters above sea level, this temple is the point that separates the northern part of Bali from the southern part. This temple is believed to be the best place to meditate for those who wish to understand their true calling.
PURA PUSERING JAGAD
Located in Pejeng in the Gianyar regency, the Pusering Jagad temple is the place of God in the manifestation of Lord Siwa. At this temple you’ll be able to find sangku sudamala, symbolizing the abundance of holy water in life. In the sangku sudamala there are images that signify the year Caka 1251 (1329 AD). Lord Siwa is believed by Hindus to be the balancer of life.