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Lesser-known temples

Jimbaran has the usual three village temples, the Pura Dalem (called Pura Kahyangan locally), Pura Puseh and Pura Desa. The latter two are combined into one enclosure in Jimbaran, as occurs in many villages. These tend to be overlooked in favor of the more spectacular and better-known Pura Ulun Siwi (alternatively Pura Ulun Swi). But each is interesting in its own right.

Pura Kahyangan lies just to the west of the cemetery, north of the access road to Hotel Puri Bali. The Pura Puseh/Desa is about 50 in northeast of the market. It is interesting to note that the odalan or anniversary ceremonies of these three temples, and of Pura Ulun Siwi, all occur within four days of each other, commencing on the third day after Galungan (which is the biggest holy day in the traditional Balinese calendar). Jimbaran becomes a beehive of ritual activity at this time of year.

One of the most important ceremonies in Jimbaran is the exorcist Barong procession The Barong is a mythical beast who acts as protector of the village and its people, represented by a mask and costume which is paraded through the area at periodic intervals. Jimbaran's inhabitants spare expense to support the Barong, making offering to , to praying, and performing the ritual. Appearances of the Barong in the main street of Jimbaran between Pura Ulun Siwi and the market are always accompanied by the evil witch Rangda and her two cohorts, and by a retinue of about a dozen other dancers. Trance plays an important part in a Barong performance, and the actions of the trance dancers who try to stab Rangda are bizarre and unforgettable.

Pura Ulun Siwi


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Pura Ulun Siwi (or Ulun Swi) is Jimbaran's best-known "sight" - for the Balinesee as well as for tourists. This large temple lies at the northwestern corner of the principal crossroads, across the street from the market. It is unusual for several reasons. Firstly it faces east, rather than south. During prayers, the worshippers face west, rather than to the north, to Gunung Agung, as is the usual practice. This is attributed to the fact that the temple, once a primitive shrine, became a Hindu13, alinese temple fairly early, in the 11th century. At this time the Javanese holy man who founded the temple, Mpu Kuturan, still followed the custom of his native Java in orientating his temples toward holy Mt. Semeru, in East Java. It was only much later that Gunung Agung became the focus of Balinese Hinduism.

The temple has only two courtyards, instead of the usual three. The spacious interior courtyard measures 66 x 30 meters and is dominated by an enormous eleven-tiered meru tower that is more massive than artistic. The temple has been periodically renovated, but remains simple and rustic, lacking the ornate paras stone carvings that characterize the temples of Gianyar.

The principal gate, a kori agung with wings, is very similar in construction to that of Pura Uluwatu on the Bukit, except that it is made of brick instead of coral stone. There is a close connection between these two temples, and it is said that one should pray at Pura Ulun Siwi before proceeding to Pura Uuwatu.

Ulun Siwi is unusual in yet another way. It is the principal temple in Bali dedicated to the welfare of both wet and dry rice fields, and the spirits, which live in the temple, are thought to control the mice and insects such as grasshoppers that periodically infest the fields. Farmers and farming groups regularly come to Pura Uluwatu to get water, which they then take back home and sprinkle on their fields either to protect them from these pests or to rid them of those already present.

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