Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taman Ayun Temple in Mengwi

In the town of Mengwi is the great royal temple of Pura Taman Ayun. The temple served as the family temple of the Mengwi dynasty, whose kingdom survived until the late 1800s. The temple was built by I Gusti Agung Anom, a founder of the Mengwi kingdom in 1934, and were skilfully and renovated in later years, giving its present appearance which tourists find so attractive and interesting. The temple is famous for its exquisite wooden merus, or pagoda-like shrines. The name itself means beautiful garden. It is built on a high tableland which is surrounded by ponds.
This gives the effect from afar that the temple is floating on water. In the central grounds is a building called the 'bale pelik' with beautiful carvings with interesting reliefs and statues of the nine gods, Dewa Nawa Sanga.

In the innermost court, there are twenty nine buildings which function as places for the gods and goddesses. There are other buildings which house religious regalia used in the ceremonies. There are multi-roofed structures, some of them having eleven roofs called 'meru meru'. The central section is surrounded by a small pond, thus the whole complex is symbolic of the great Mandhara Mountain turning in a sea of milk.

The temple complex has three ground areas which rise in levels. In the most external one there is a general purpose hall which is used for religious ceremonies and for staging of dances. Close by is a decorative fountain.

Many people visit this temple, not for its antiquity as it was only renovated in 1937, but for its ambience and air of serenity. The temple has an ideal recreational garden, the air is cool and the still waters provide a safe environment for all sorts of aquatic creatures which live in the ponds.

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