Bali may be known as the land of 1000 temples, but in reality the Indonesian island of Bali has at least 20,000 temples! In datasets, the count is about 6002. they come in all shapes and sizes. During our road trips through the Indonesian island of Bali, we no longer counted the temples we saw. But why does Bali have so many temples, but how many temples are there on an island?
Balinese culture has been strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese and especially Hindu culture. Hinduism came at the beginning of the 1 century AD. interestingly, in ancient Bali there were 9 Hindu sects. And just like in Hindu sects in India, each sect worshiped a specific deity as its main God. Local Hinduism in Bali is a mixture of Indian Hindu beliefs with the animist traditions of the locals. Balinese Hinduism is a mixture of Indian Hinduism, Buddhism and the concept of “respect your ancestral tradition”, so it is different from Indian Hinduism.
Today, 83% of Bali’s population follows Balinese Hinduism as their religion.
Why does Bali have so many temples?
Our Deva guide explained that there are many temples and ceremonies, as balinese Hinduism is a mixture of 3 faiths. Every house in Bali has a temple. Balinese families build their houses in a composite wall, and each family has a temple. It is intended for worship by family members. These are private temples.
Add to them several public temples. Each city has at least 3 large temples for the public, as well as lesser known minor temples. After all, temples are located in institutions, Hotels, Resorts and more. There are temples in the least expected places. The count can easily reach 20,000 on an area of 5,780 square kilometers of the island of Bali.
Temples of different importance
Bali temples are used for various purposes and life events. The most interesting aspect of some temples is that they are associated with some fables, historical facts or something extravagant. The temples of Bali are dedicated to bats: the Temple of the Bat Cave, the burial place of the King and his wives, and even cars. Yes, Cars!
Balinese water temples are unique institutions! They are more than 1000 years old. The ceremonies associated with these water temples and their role in the practical use of water make them a unique field of study. Then there are underwater temples that can be explored by diving.
Pura Besakih is the Mother Temple. It is the most important of all temples. Pura Besakih is believed to be 1000 years old, the oldest, largest and is considered the most sacred of all Balinese temples.
Temples along the coast of Bali
Call it Beach Hopping or Temple hopping; it really is the ideal way to get the best of both worlds. This is one of the favorite activities of sunsets collectors and Temple lovers.
There are 7 beautiful sea temples on the coast of Bali. They are: Pulaki temple near Pemutaran, Sakenan Temple on the small island of Serangan, Mas Suka Temple in Ungasan, Pura Luhur in Uluvatu, Pura Tanah Lot, Pura Rambut Sivi and Pura Gede in Perancak.
Various festivals in Bali
The island of Bali has so many temples, and each of the temples has its own anniversaries and ceremonies. To this are added All the holidays that celebrate the Balinese. All year round it is littered with them.
The Bali calendar system is very different from the international fixed calendar, which is solar type. Bali calendars are based on the Moon, and their year consists of 210 days. So if you’re planning a trip to experience your festivals and the culture that comes with them, it’s best to check the dates for the year. Festivals never fall on the same date year after year.
Balinese Hindu Culture
While in the temples, I also want to explain a unique prayer method there. Walking through the streets of Bali, you will see offerings in dishes lying on the streets in front of the shops. Dishes usually consist of flowers, pieces of fruit, sweets. Some even have cigarettes and chocolates.
Basically, they offer their favorite food. Locals offer them to God three times a day. It is their way of thanking the Gods and showing respect for what they have received and blessings. But once offered, it is forgotten. The first time I saw someone step on it, I was surprised. People don’t care what happens to the offer.
Galungan and Kuningan festivals were celebrated this year (2017) between November 1 and November 11. Although I did not see a ceremony of this festival, I saw the remains of it. They were PEN major. At various points I saw tall bamboo poles decorated with palm leaves, rice, coconuts and seeds.
Delicate ends have beautiful Sampians-these are intertwined creations of palm leaves. Deva explained to me about Penor; how these poles are installed Tuesday in front of Galungan. After 42 days, these are removed and burned.
Do’s and don’ts of Balinese temples
Both men and women need to cover their legs with pareo and tie the band around the waist. Many temples rent them.
Women need to properly cover their upper body. (Shoulders must be covered.)
Menstruating women and women who have given birth in the last 6 weeks are not allowed to enter the temples. In addition, people bleeding from wounds are not allowed to enter the temple site. It is not a matter of being unclean, but of not wanting blood to be shed in the temple grounds.
Having the head at a higher level than the priest is considered disrespectful.