Besakih Temple, known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’ for over thousand years, sits 1000 metres high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung.
On 21st of March, it celebrates its biannual piodalan temple anniversary, which coincides every Tuesday on a Kliwon Julungwangi cycle on the Balinese 210-day pawukon calendar. Pilgrims from all over the island flock to the temple for prayers, providing a unique sight to see on this sacred sanctuary at the foot of Mount Agung, the island’s highest peak.
Besakih is an artistic and unique complex that comprises at least 86 temples which include the main Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State) and 18 others. Besakih is the biggest and holiest of the island’s temples and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery of rice paddies, hills, mountains, streams… To the Balinese, visiting the temple sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. Mount Agung’s high location gives it an almost mystical quality. Many stairs lead up to the sacred mountain, leading to the many temples that vary according to types, status, and functions. Pura Besakih features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung in the centre has white banners for Shiva, the destroyer; Pura Kiduling Kreteg on the right side is with red banners for Brahma, the creator; and Pura Batu Madeg represents Vishnu, the preserver, with its black banners.■