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Perched nearly a thousand meters up the side of Mount Agung, Pura Besakih is the ‘Mother Temple’ of Bali – it is the most important, largest and holiest Hindu temple on the island. Dating back to prehistoric times, Pura Besakih is actually a complex composed of 22 temples that sit on parallel hilltops dispersed among six ascending levels. Structured on stepped courtyards and staircases, the composition of the Pura Besakih complex leads to the main temple spire, which is called Pura Penataran Agung. The center of the main sanctuary in Pura Penataran Agung is the lotus throne, or padmasana, a ritualistic focal point of the whole structure. It dates to around the seventeenth century. All this is aligned along a single axis and designed to lead the spiritual person upward and closer to the mountain that is considered sacred.
Pura Besakih has survived many of Mount Agung’s
eruptions, further strengthening the people’s belief of its holiness. An apt
example is the series of eruptions in 1963, which killed thousands; the lava
flows missed the temple complex by miraculous mere meters.
The Pura Besakih temple complex is extremely active; scores of different Hindu ceremonies are held throughout the year. Besakih Temple is located in the plateau area, which is covered, by a cool atmosphere and Mount Agung as a backdrop. From the top of the temple building, we can see the beautiful panorama of nature from the temple area to the ocean. It is situated in a cool area and one can enjoy the light breeze and unique temple buildings spread out in the temple complex that creates the peaceful atmosphere. It is ideally meant for the people who do meditation but now the Besakih Temple is open for tourists and it is a great spot to visit in Bali.