Visitors invited to Taman Ayun Temple
Anak Agung Gde Agung, head of the royal family of Mengwi, has called visitors to come to Taman Ayun Temple in Badung regency to spiritually experience the grandeur and the beauty of one of Bali’s major temples.
Gde Agung, who is also regent of Badung, said he was so grateful when he heard the news that Taman Ayun Temple was being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List this year.
The Indonesian government had proposed the subak farming system and Taman Ayun Temple as part of Bali Cultural Landscapes for UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites. In addition to Taman Ayun, the government also included Batukaru mountain reserve in Tabanan, the Pakerisan watershed in Gianyar, and Lake Batur in Bangli in its proposal to UNESCO.
UNESCO is scheduled to officially announce its recognition of Bali Cultural Landscapes at the organization’s next meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 20.
A descendant of the rulers of the Mengwi kingdom, Gde Agung said that the royal family was honored to receive world recognition for Taman Ayun Temple.
“We should express our gratitude to God, because the world has appreciated Taman Ayun Temple as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO’s recognition would be fabulous promotion for the temple to people all over the world,” Gde Agung shared with Bali Daily on Monday morning.
Located about 18 kilometers northwest of Denpasar, Taman Ayun Temple is beautifully set on the land and surrounded by a big fish pond so it looks as though it is adrift on the water.
Built with a multistoried roof and Balinese architecture, Taman Ayun is one of the most important architectural heritage sites of the island.
The wide, beautifully landscaped garden in the front courtyard is ready to warmly welcome all visitors who come and visit this temple.
Taman Ayun Royal Temple was constructed in the 17th century during the reign of Tjokorda Bima Sakti Blambangan, a feared warlord and the founder of the mighty kingdom of Mengwi.
The garden temple was designed by Kang Choew, an architect of Chinese descent and the king’s close confidante.
The temple is encircled with a wide moat that has been used to irrigate the nearby subak farming sites in the surrounding area.
The name Taman Ayun literally means “garden of mind”. It is probable that the temple was designed not only for religious purposes, but also as a work of art that could be used as a place to relax and refresh the soul of the king, as well as the people who worshipped God and paid homage to their ancestors there.
The layout of the temple is, as commonly found in Balinese temples, divided into three yards. First is the outer yard, considered a common place and less holy, then the central yard as the place to prepare materials for rituals, and the jeroan yard where all sacred constructions and places of ritual exist. The total size of the temple is 250 meters by 100 meters, not including the moat.
“The moat has many functions — as an ecosystem arrangement, as an aesthetic element and to provide irrigation for subak farmers in the southern part of the temple,” Gde Agung said.
The temple draws an average of 500 tourists per day, a large majority of whom are foreign visitors from Europe. Entry tickets cost Rp 15,000 (US$1.59) for foreign visitors and Rp 10,000 for domestic ones.
Gde Agung said that the UNESCO recognition would be followed by a sustainable arrangement for the area. Some renovations were underway to repair the entrance and to construct other supporting facilities.
The regent said that the subak farming sites and farmers would get special attention, both from Badung regency and the Mengwi royal house.
The fundamental concept of subak is in line with the Balinese Tri Hita Karana philosophy of a balanced relation between humans, nature and the creator.