Things To Know Before Entering a Temple in Bali
Are you going to visit Bali? Here’s what to know before entering a temple in Bali – the isand of Gods.
Balinese life is very codified. Better to have some knowledges before entering a temple.
In Indonesia, Bali is the island of the gods, so you won’t spend a day without coming across a temple. The temptation to enter is great, so we share with you some cultural information to keep in mind when visiting a temple.
If the most famous Bali temples are worth a visit – Pura Tanah Lot, Tirta Empul, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Pura Taman Ayun, Pura Besakih or Goa Gajah – do not hesitate to stroll through the villages and why not talk with the Balinese on their worship practices, if you are staying with a local.
Temples… everywhere in Bali!
Each village has at least three temples:
• the Pura Desa, temple of the founder of the village. It is dedicated to the god Brahma, the creator.
• the Pura Puseh, dedicated to Vishnu. Its symbol is water.
• the Pura Dalem, temple dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer and recycler of the spirit.
But that’s not all: in the rice fields, altars are also erected, and each house has a family temple.
Note: the temples never have a roof because they must always be accessible to the gods and the spirits of the ancestors who would like to descend there.
Remember to put on your seatbelt!
The body is considered a microcosmos: the head is the purest part; the torso is a part considered neutral; then the lower body, from the waist down to the feet, we have the impure part, closest to the ground where the demons sleep.
Out of respect for local traditions, you will be asked to put at least one belt around your waist (often a wide piece of cloth), sometimes even a sarong cloth around the waist for men or women who have bare legs. And don’t worry: the temples provide them… just return them when you leave!
The black and white checkered fabric
This is Poleng, a Balinese fabric that you will come across all the time on the island. It surrounds trees or statutes to symbolize good and evil spirits.
# The Swastika
The Swastika is a cross that looks like the swastika of the Nazis… but it is much older, and always represented horizontal and vertical (unlike the other cross). It means “well-being”.
Offerings are everywhere: in the street, in homes, in front of shops, and of course in temples. There are two types of offerings: those to calm/coax demons (on the ground), and those offered to the gods (up high). Please do not step on the offerings placed on the ground.
So ready for a first temple visit to Bali?
Tell us about your Balinese discoveries on the bottom.
Photo description: the Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Agama Hindu Dharma in Bali, Indonesia and one of a series of Balinese temples.