Pucak Penulisan Temple – A Journey to the Ancient Time of Bali

Historical relics from ancient times tell us that Kintamani was ever becomes a very important area in Bali. One of them is Pura Pucak Penulisan. The temple complex is located on a peak that forms the northern part in a wide circular wall of mountains. This enormous crater rim is all that remains of the larger, primordial Mt. Batur that collapsed in the distant geological past. At 1,750 meters above sea level, the temple is more elevated than the summit of the new volcano that has grown once again in the midst of this ring of peaks.

From this temple on a clear day all the major peaks of Bali are visible, with the Batukaru group to the west and Mt. Batur, Mt. Abang, and Mt. Agung aligned in a straight line toward the south-east.

Pucak Penulisan Temple (also known as Pura Tegeh kauripan) is indeed Bali’s loftiest major temple and is situated within the territory of Desa Sukawana, Kintamani. The temple is also regarded by many as the ultimate “fountain of life,” a source of life-giving water. Located at the source of Bali’s largest waterway, the River Ayung, its main ritual events are until today attended by many irrigation societies (subak) from downstream district along the river. The temple also marks the source of a stream that flows past Puri Balingkang, disappears beneath the ground, and then reemerges in Songan Village, where it feeds into lake Batur.

The largest, centennial ceremonial event at this temple, involving the sacrifice of twelve water buffaloes, overtly seeks to revitalize the entire realm of Bali

Beside of its beautiful landscape, the main attraction of this temple is a historical heritage in the form of a sculpture image from the past. Historical sources suggest that this temple may have been an important state temple of the Warmadewa and later dynasties of Balinese Kings. Until today it features a large collection of stone statues depicting royal personages of that era. Among the statues inscribed with names and dates are Queen Gunapriyadharmapatni with her consort Dharmodayana (carved in A.D. 991), The Indian saint Agastya (A.D. 1024), Bhatari Mandul (wife of King Anak Wungsu, A.D. 1078), Sri Aji Jayapangus with his Queen (undated), and Astasuraratnabhumibanten (A.D. 1332), who was probably Bali’s last indigenous King before the Majapahit conquest.

The architecture of Pura Tegeh Kauripan and other shrines on this hilltop still diverges significantly from the standards imposed by the main government-sanctioned Hindu organization, despite repeated criticisms and threats directed at the local temple committee. there are no pagoda-like shrines with multiple roofs (meru) as there are in other Balinese temples, since it is deemed unnecessary to represent a mountain symbolically in a temple that is already located on a mountain peak. There is also no Palinggih Ratu Pucak (shrine to serve as teh seat of the supreme deity at festivals), since this hilltop as a whole is considered to be the deity’s permanent abode. Nor is there a permanent stone shrine (sanggaran agung) to the sun god (Bhatara Surya) or a collective stone shrine for all the deities (padmasana). Instead, a temporary “sky-shrine” (sanggar tawang) dedicated to the sun god is built a new each year in conformance to local ritual guidelines.

Source : Custodiansof The Sacred Mountains : Culture and Society in the Highlands of Bali, by Thomas Anton Reuter

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