Inseparable from the religious rituals of the Balinese are the temples. Just like cathedrals in Europe, temples are the most ubiquitous architecture in Bali. Every house has its own little shrine, usually a dedication to their ancestors. The rice field has a little shrine dedicated to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. Each village usually has three temples. For the entire island, the Mother Temple of Besakih, situated on the slope of Mount Agung, is the most important of all temples.
To the Balinese, temples and their various structures are not worshipped. Temples are meant to be pleasant resting place for the gods on their stay on the island. As such, entertaining the gods or appeasing the goddesses or most of religious rituals through endless festivals will take place in the three village temples:
Architecture of a Temple
The word for temple in Balinese is Pura, which comes from a Sanskrit word that literally translates into a place surrounded by walls. A Balinese Pura typically consists of walls surrounding two or three courtyards. The huge, elaborately carved entrance gate is usually a split gate, known also as Candi Bentar. Candi Bentar is usually guarded on both sides by statues of temple guards. Sculptured figures can be found in various locations in a temple.
The outer courtyard is separated from the inner courtyard by another wall, and the entrance is a covered gateway called Padu Raksa. The walls surrounding the courtyards are usually heavily decorated with bas-reliefs, depicting stories that can range from traditional Mahabrata mythology or as simple as daily events of a Balinese. In the middle of the inner court, usually imposingly stands a waringin or frangipani tree. Inside each courtyard you will find several interesting structures: