Taman Ayun Temple

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There are so many temples one can visit in Bali that it is hard to decide which to spend time at. The Taman Ayun temple was on our route back from Tanah Lot, so we opted for this one and I am glad we did. As you can see, it was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies, perfect for walking around the beautiful gardens of this temple. 

Below is the entrance to the temple complex, identified by these tall split stone gates known as candi bentar. Apparently there are different gate styles depending on which level of the temple you are in (closer or lower to the gods).

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Pura Taman Ayun was built in 1634 by the first King of Mengwi, known as Ida Tjokorda Sakti Blambangan. It is surrounded by a moat and is the place to worship the royal family of Mengwi ancestors as this is also the resting place of the royal family. 

Here is the Outer Courtyard (Nista Mandala) near to the moat.

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You walk up a few steps into the Middle Courtyard (Madya Mandala) where you walk towards the tower.

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To one side here was a covered area housing a lion-like creature called a barong. He is a protector spirit and the enemy of the demon queen Rangda. Two men will carry the barong and dance for special ceremonies, a bit like a Chinese Lion.

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At the higher Main Holy Courtyard (Utama Mandala) you find the main shrines of the Royal family. The carving on these structures is very fine indeed.

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As we drove back to Ubud, we passed through roads decorated with tall straw structures. The Taman Ayun temple anniversary is celebrated every 210 days, so I think there must have been such a celebration recently. We managed to park at the side of the road and grab a few photos.

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And nearby was yet another temple complex with these distinct thatched roofs. Note the solidity of this structure; quite remarkable considering these must have been built centuries ago. These solid structures might explain why any attempt at a road-widening project in this part of Bali would be a none starter.

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© Helen Gray 2019