Taman Ayun Temple
Indonesia, Mengwi

Royal Temple Taman Ayun is one of the six royal temples of the island of Bali, it is located in the village of Mengwi, 17 km northwest of the city of Denpasar. The temple was built in 1634 by the ruler of Mengwi and until 1891 was considered the main royal temple of the island. Taman Ayun means "temple in the garden", and indeed, the temple is surrounded by a magnificent garden with ponds, fountains and gazebos. In the guise of Taman Ayun, the influence of Chinese architecture is clearly visible. The temple complex along the perimeter is surrounded by a moat with water, consists of four separate zones, each of which has its own hierarchy. The first courtyard, Jabu, can only be reached by a bridge over a moat, passing ponds with water lilies and lotus flowers. In this area there is a security sanctuary, a meeting room, gazebos for relaxation and meditation, and a beautiful fountain, symbolizing the cardinal points. The next zone is located above the first, in it is the temple of Luhuring-Purnama. To get to the second and third levels of the Taman Ayun temple, you must go through the gate and pass the Bale Pengubengan pavilion, whose walls are decorated with images of nine Hindu guardian gods of nine main directions of the wind (Deuat Nava Sanga). In the eastern part of the courtyard is the Dahlem Bekak temple, in the western part there is an eight-meter wooden belfry of Bale Kulkul, from the top of which there is a beautiful view of the territory of Taman Ayun temple. The fourth courtyard, Utama Mandala, is considered sacred. Its richly decorated central gate of Pinto Gelung is only open during holidays and religious ceremonies. The “everyday” gate is located in the eastern part of the courtyard and serves for daily access to the sacred territory of the temple. Three terraces of the temple symbolize the three cosmological levels in Hinduism - the world of people, the kingdom of the gods and the highest divine level. Numerous pagodas towering above the inner courtyard of the temple symbolize the sacred mountain of Mahamera, which the Balinese consider the axis of the world and stands in the very center of the universe. Near the temple there is a small museum, the exposition of which is dedicated to Hindu religious rites and local traditions, an art gallery is located in the Bale Loggia pavilion.

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