Tipped to be the country’s most expansive and holiest Hindu religious edifice the Mother Temple of Besakih is a Balinese cultural icon of truly monumental proportions. Vaulted against the backdrop of Mount Agung at a staggering height of 1000m this 1000 year old temple is also one of the oldest religious institutions in the country. Known as Pura Besakih in the local tongue this vast and mesmerizing temple complex in the village named after the structure also encompasses 86 individual temples within its confines. Built as far back as the 14th century this massive temple compound is curiously perched on the southern reaches of Mount Agung, the country’s most prolific volcano. The site is nevertheless one of the most scenic quarters of the regions with the complex surrounded by natural beauty in the form of meandering streams, rice paddy fields, hills and mountainscapes. It is believed that the first revelation made by Hindu deity Hyang Rsi Markendya was received here, thus sparking allusions of sacredness across the entire plain.
An architectural marvel in every sense of the word the centuries old temple compound consists of 22 temples that are located in ridged slopes of the mountain. Containing a number of scenic courtyards and terraces with steps the venue also boasts brick gateways that reach heavenward to the Meru structure, locally known as the Pura Penataran Agung or the Great Temple of State. Constructed to take spiritual souls to the summit of the sacred mountain the main spire is of course the main highlight of a visit to the Besakih Temple as the area dates back to the 17th century and contains a lotus throne where a number of religious rituals are performed during festivals. The Padmasana is located in the heart of the temple’s central sanctuary and is the focal point of temple festivals that include more than 70 separate festivals as decreed by the 210 day calendar of the Balinese people.
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