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Pura Besakih

About one-third of the way up the western side of the 10,300-foot high Gunung Agung volcano, you can find Bali's most important sanctuary. Bali's Mother Temple consists of several individual complexes, a total of over 200 buildings. It has been historically proven that a sanctuary existed here in the 11th century. Once every 100 years, the Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony was held to cleanse the universe. The ritual was due to be held again in 1963 but the gods became angry and the sacred Agung spat fire: 2,000 people in the villages flanking the volcano died in the lava flows. Pura Besakih, by some miracle, escaped undamaged.

The three main sacred towers of Besakih are dedicated to the Trinity of Hindu gods, namely Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. Pura Panataran Agung is dedicated, in his manifestation of Shiva, to the Supreme God Sang Hyang Widi Wasa, Pura Kiduling Kreteng to Brahma and Pura Batu Madeg to Vishnu. Only Hindus may go inside the temple complexes.

© Berlitz Publishing/Apa Publications GmbH & Co KG, Singapore Branch, Singapore

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