Balinese temples are usually divided into three distinct parts. This style of architecture is referred to as “tri loka”. It is based on the Hindu belief that the universe can be divided up into three realms – one for the gods, one for humans, and one for de- mons. The Balinese build their temples to reflect these three realms that are divided into three zones. The nista mandala is the outer zone of the temple where the entrance to the grounds is to be found. This is usually the part of the building that is nearest to the sea.
The madya mandala is the middle zone of the temple and this is where all the supporting facilities are. The utama mandala is the holiest part of the temple, and it is usually the part of the building that is located closest to the mountains. Temples in Bali are usually deserted unless there is a festival or some other religious event. This is because most Balinese have their family temple where they can worship in private. Foreign visitors are allowed to visit the temples on the island, but they are expected to follow the required etiquette.
These are some of the rules:
• Any part of the body that is below the waist is considered unholy and should be covered. If people are not wearing long trousers they will need to wear a sarong and some of the more popular and bigger temples will provide these.
• It is not acceptable for people to climb up on any of the objects inside the temple.
• If women are having their period they can’t enter the temple.
• If there is a priest in the temple it is consid- ered bad form to sit or stand higher than him.
• Some temples do not allow young infants and toddlers to enter. This is because they are considered spiritually incomplete until one of their teeth has fallen out.
People who recently had a death in a family are asked not to enter the temple because it is believed that such deaths will upset the family’s spiritual balance. In our next issue of Bali, Pocket Magazine read about biggest and most important temples on the island of Gods.■