Pusering Jagat Temple in Pejeng Village in Gianyar Regency is one of the charms of the area. The temple is considered to be the centre of the island as the place where Balinese Hindus from all over the island come for blessing. On my visit to the temple, I unexpectedly met the pemangku (priest), who showed me around as he was picking up the offerings and cleaning up the temple compound.

Text & Photos by Kartika D. Suardana

Pusering Jagat Temple in Pejeng Village in Gianyar Regency is one of the charms of the area. The temple is considered to be the centre of the island as the place where Balinese Hindus from all over the island come for blessing. On my visit to the temple, I unexpectedly met the pemangku (priest), who showed me around as he was picking up the offerings and cleaning up the temple compound.

A large open space which looks like an amphitheater dominates the first courtyard. This is actually an arena for cockfights which take place whenever religious ceremonies are conducted at the temple. The main courtyard is even more spacious with some shrines and relics at each shrine. The relic of Lingga and Yoni marks the shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.  Behind lies a relic which looks like a giant stone bowl. The outer side of the stone bowl, named Sangku Sudamala, features beautiful carvings. I couldn’t see the carving clearly, but I think it tells the tale of giants and gods fighting over Tirta Amerta, the sacred water of eternity which is protected by a gigantic snake named Naga Basuki. I saw similar carvings at Angkor Wat. The priest told me that the carving was created in the caka year 1251 as shown by a symbol within the details of the carving. Sangku Sudamala is the symbol of the overflow of holy water for life on earth.

On the side of the temple, there is another highlight; a construction which looks like a pond except instead of water, a healthy lawn of grass grows inside. At first, I assumed that it’s a place for mini cockfights. The priest told me that it is called Telaga Maya, telaga means “pond” and maya means “illusion”. He added that during major temple ceremonies, there is a ritual called Pakelem where a couple of ducks are stationed at the centre of the pond. Instead of walking the ducks move as if they are swimming. Offerings which are placed in the pond are believed to sink and arrive in Nusa Penida. The priest said that the pond connects the temple to the sea and to the temple of Ratu Nusa in Nusa Penida. When the offerings arrive in Nusa it is a signal to the people of Nusa to come to the ceremony which is taking place at Pusering Jagat Temple.!

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