If like me, sometimes when travelling in Asia, you may have a moment where you feel ‘templed out’, in other words, after looking at temple after temple, often in repressive heat, they start looking all the same, you have seen enough and can’t bare to see anymore! When I was in Bali, this didn’t actually happen because the two temples I visited, over one afternoon, Tanah Lot and Mengwi, were both very different.
Candi – the Bahasa Indonesian word for temple, and Taman Ayun – meaning beautiful garden, located in Mengwi village in Badung, approximately 18kms from Denpasar, was built by the Mengwi King in 1634, hence the reason it is most often called Mengwi Temple. Taman Ayun, originally built as a place for the for the royal family to pray and although rebuilt in the 20th century, is still used as a place of worship of the imperial family, their descendants and local villagers, to which the royals, still to this day, decree land. 🙂
Surrounded by a moat, Taman Ayun looks as if it’s on an island, with landscaped gardens in the forecourt, encircled by lush tropical forests. This, the Balinese architecture and the multistory thatched roofs (called Pura’s – the roofs on the Meru’s– the shrines or individual temples within the complex) harness a serene, peaceful and very relaxing environment. Each Meru with different pura’s, levels of thatching, represent a different god to worship.
When I visited, there was relaxed busyness occurring due to a ceremony happening the following day, which unfortunately meant I couldn’t enter the temple grounds, but I did get to watch men adapting the temples and shrines, installing specially built platforms, and women preparing garlands flowers and coloured cooked treats to be made as offerings the next days celebration. It truly a wonderful experience.
So, if you’re travelling in Asia, find yourself in Bali and think you may be ‘templed out’, dont panic, give up, or stay sitting in the air conditioned tour bus if the guide mentions Mengwi Temple, Taman Ayun, I promise, its not a temple to be overlooked. 🙂