According to the census we had in 2010, around 83.5% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism. That is why it is no secret that Bali is likely a home for Hindus, and no wonder we can find hundreds or even thousands of temples spreaded all over this Goddess Island.
Uniquely, every temple has its own name and its own function, and, of course, its own story. But the similarity that occurs between them is only one — the beauty. Every foreigner that comes to Bali for the first time considers the “Gapura (entrance)” as an exotic thing that distinguishes Bali from any other regions in Indonesia or even in the world. Temples are symbols of Bali. Anytime you see an advertisement showing a temple with sea or blue sky as a background, you will soon recognize or guess that it is Bali.
One of my favorite temples in Bali is Pura Taman Ayun. At first, I had a slight misunderstanding regarding the name. ‘Ayun’ in Bahasa Indonesia means ‘to swing’. I used to think and to imagine that the Temples must be placed in super giant swings or something. I checked the construction carefully, meticulously, just to figure out what they mean by saying ‘Swing’. Right after I visited this temple, I understood that the name itself was taken from Balinese, and not Bahasa Indonesia. “Ayun” means “beautiful”. If we translate literally, Pura Taman Ayun means the Temple of The Beautiful Garden. So, please don’t try to find ‘a swing’ like I did because it will be no use.
Where is it?
Pura Taman Ayun is located near the village of Mengwi in the south of Bali. This temple can be easily reached by car (if you rent a car) or by motocycle. By foot is also possible, but only if you are staying around Mengwi — because if you walk from Ubud, you need to go for about 8 kilometers and from Denpasar it will be doubled — 18 kilometers. But, it is okay if you are a real walker.
How much does it cost and how about the guide?
It costs nothing, especially if you use the dollar — $1.50. Here, you can hire a guide; some available languages are Bahasa Indonesian (undoubtedly), English (surely), Japanese, Russian, Spanish and maybe Korean, or Portuguese. It’s been a long time since I went there. Maybe they have added some new languages to attract more tourists from non-English speaking countries.
What is there?
Pura Taman Ayun itself is bordered by the canals, that can only be entered through the bridge from a great Gapura (entrance) which you can directly see right after you walk through the footpath. For your information, we are not allowed to visit the sacred sanctum. BUT, you can take picture from the outer wall by putting your camera high above your head (if your height is 180 cm or more it will be a great advantage).
Inside the main sanctum you will see Meru which is the principal shrines of Balinese temple. Its shape will remind us of a pagoda, but instead of metal, Meru is typically made from wood, and as a rule, it has a multi-layered thatched roofs.
Okay, instead of me waffling on too much, it’s better if you look at some pictures that I took at the location!