Pura Beji Temple in Bali
Pura Beji Temple is located at Sangsit Village, Buleleng Regency. Within 99 km from Denpasar airport, and 8 km kilometer east of Singaraja, you will see an excellent example of the colorful architectural style of northern Bali. The location and size of this temple can be considered ordinary since the temple is located not far away from the settlements. What makes this temple special is the carvings that decorate almost all parts of the temple. Starting from the main gate, the second gate (middle) to the main court, all full of carvings typical of Buleleng with the shape of the vine and flowers. Almost no part of the temple was spared from carving, so these carving makes it eye-catching.
Pura Beji Temple is a Subak temple, dedicated to the spirit that looks after the irrigation and rice fields. It’s about half a km from main road toward the coast. The temple is famous for its Barong architecture and virtuoso relief carvings. With its courtyards of clipped grass and old frangipani trees, it is a tranquil and refreshing place.
There are several Bali tour packages have put this temple as one of the stop point in the itinerary. Visitors are required to donate at the temple as part of entrance fees (usually between 10,000-20,000 IDR). Visitors must ensure that they wear a sarong to cover knees and ankles. Also make sure that shoulders and midriffs are covered. If you do not have your own, you can hire one from the locals at the entrance.
Pura Beji Temple History
Pura Beji Temple dates back from the 15th-century, during the time of the arrival of Brahmins to Bali from the Hindu Majapahit Kingdom of Java. At that time, the village of Sangsit was known as Beji. As with other temples on Bali it is divided into three courtyards, the outer courtyard then the middle and inner courtyards. At the outer courtyard you will find two dragon statues that symbolize the temple guards and upon entering the temple you are advised to wear sarong and sash.
The word Beji has the same meaning with the Balinese temple pond, similar with one in Pura Tirta Empul. This associates Pura Beji Temple with purification by way of holy water. In fact, a former pond supposedly fed by an ancient well has been discovered on the east side of Pura Beji Temple. Because of its association with a water source, the farmers around the village of Sangsit revered Pura Beji as "pura subak", subak is a term for the Balinese paddy irrigation system which was introduced in 1074 during the reign of Marakata.
A unique feature of the Pura Beji Temple is that the aling-aling (a kind of barrier structure to deflect evil spirits) is carved with a figure of two Dutchmen playing stringed instruments, flanking a figure of Naga. The main shrine in the form of pelinggih is located in the inner sanctum, dedicated to Sang Hyang Widhi. Other deities honored in the temple are Dewa Braban, Dewa Ayu Manik Galih, and Dewi Sri.
The shrine bases and the white sandstone walls surrounding the temple are covered in foliage-like carvings e.g. vine motifs or figures of flowers, a feature that can only be found in northern Bali. Traces of colors have been discovered in these carvings, which indicate that the temple have been painted. Intact statues of demons and guardian nagas inspired by Hindu epics decorate the stone staircases and the walls. Pura Beji Temple is divided into three areas: the outer sanctum of the temple (jaba pisan or nistaning mandala), the middle sanctum (jaba tengah or madya mandala), and the inner main sanctum (jero or utamaning mandala).
In the outer sanctum is the bale kulkul where the slit-log drum is kept to announce the time for prayer. The bale kulkul of Pura Beji Temple is unusually lacking plant-like carvings and is relatively bare compared with the other architectural elements of Pura Beji, which indicates that the bale kulkul was built later in period and probably by a non-Northern Balinese sculptor.
Access to the middle sanctum is provided by a candi bentar split gate. This candi bentar is carved with heavy decorations of plants and flowers in norther Balinese style. Multiple bhoma heads are carved on the top of the candi bentar, providing extra protection to the temple against evil spirits. In the middle sanctum are several pavilions or bale.
To the inner sanctum or the jero is provided with a large paduraksa portal. The portal is heavily decorated with carvings of vines and flowers typical northern Bali style. The top of the paduraksa is carved with multiple Bhoma heads, a kind of Balinese Kirtimukha protectors of the temple.
Address: Jalan Raya Sangsit, Sangsit, Sawan, Buleleng, regency, Bali