Besakikh Temple
Indonesia, Karangasem District

Besakih Temple is the main sacred Hindu temple of the island of Bali, often called the "Mother of the Bali Temples", the first written mention of it dates back to 1007. The temple is located in the village of Besakikh, on the southwestern slope of the sacred Mount Agung, at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level, covers an area of about three square kilometers. A long staircase leads to the central gate of the temple, climbing up to the first level of the complex, the so-called first courtyard, on which statues of deities are clad in colorful fabrics and altars for offerings. The religious complex consists of 22 temples, each of which has its own name and symbolizes a certain deity. Some of the most revered are temples to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The main temple of the complex is Pura Penataran Agung (Great Temple of the State). It is divided into several areas representing the seven layers of the universe. Stone steps lead to the temple, ending with high gates in the form of "wing-shaped" pillars. Only Hindus can climb the stairs and go through the gates to get into the courtyard leading to the next levels of the temple. Tourists are allowed to visit all other temples of the complex. There is the Temple of Lightning, dedicated to the god Ishvara, the temple of the serpent Naga, the temple of the dragon Bazooka, as well as the temples of ancestors, communities, clans, the dead and many others. The Besakih Temple is the most important shrine for the Balinese, which protects them from evil spirits. So, during the violent eruption of the Agung volcano in 1963, all nearby villages were demolished by a lava flow, only the Besakikh temple survived. Parishioners who were in it were also saved. During the full moon calendar and the Odalan festival, thousands of pilgrims visit Besakih Temple. Representatives of all castes and estates come here for meditation and prayer. Whole families, dressed in festive traditional clothes, the Balinese bring generous offerings to the gods and ask for their blessings and protection.

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