Bali Is Known As The Island Of A Thousand Temples
Tourists from all over the world have made the Indonesian island of Bali a popular holiday spot. Most people love Bali because the climate is wonderful, the people are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. But Bali also has a lot to offer on a cultural level.
A common belief is that the Balinese population is predominantly Muslim but actually the majority of the population is Hindu. Throughout the island you will find influences of this religion. The numerous temples (Pura) on Bali are testament to this. The island is called “The Island of a thousand temples” for a good reason and many visitors want to learn about Bali’s unique traditions and culture.
Different types of temples
There are many different types of Bali temples, house temples, family temples, temples in caves, temples shaped like a village, temples to honor rice fields and temples to honor monkeys. The differences also extend to the importance of the temple. The majority of the temples are used only by the locals. Recently a couple of temples have become popular tourist attractions.
All the temples are built on a line which extends from the sea to a mountain, the most sacred part of the temple is the area closest to the mountain. There are several other similarities among the thousands of temples. Usually the temple has three parts; a front portion, a courtyard and the inner most sacred part. The inner most sacred part houses the shrines for praying to the major gods. These parts are generally not open to tourists. Typically there is a split gate to the temple which symbolizes the cosmic mountain that is split by the negative and positive forces of the universe.
A non Hindu will probably be required to wear long trousers or a traditional sarong before they can enter a sacred temple. Additionally, women who are having their period will not be permitted to enter the temple grounds.
Every 270 days, the birthday of a temple is to be celebrated with a temple festival held by the local Balinese community.
There are nine main Bali temples on the island, called Kahyangan Jagat temples. These are the most popular amongst tourists because of their unique location, enormous size and beautiful architecture. Often traditional dance performances will use these temples for their stage. Bali is protected against evil spirits by these temples.
The next time you are in Bali make a visit to a couple of these beautiful temples. They offer a glimpse into an important part of the island’s culture.
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