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February 20, 2006
From journal 10 Days in a Tropical Paradise
Bayside, New York
September 9, 2001
Mt. Agung is considered to be the abode of Mahadewa, also known as the God Shiva. Thus it reigns as the most sacred to the island's Hindus. At last count, there were at least eleven thousand temples in Bali, and not all of this magnitude, but include medium and small sized structures. You will realize on this and other visits to Balinese temples, that none are closed buildings, but rather rectangular courtyards open to the sky, bordered by rows of shrines and altars which are dedicated to various gods. The shrines themselves are not sacred to the Balinese, but rather the spirits which occupy them. Strict adherence to the laws of traditional Balinese architecture dictate the exact dimensions of a pagoda (meru), how it is to be made, and which woods to use for which parts.
The most impressive thing about Pura Besakih is its size and the aura it projects, even when you are not on its grounds. It is a bit eerie in its beauty; the inner courtyard at the center is off limits to visitors (as it is considered the most sacred), but you can get a fairly good look from several vantage points around the temple. It seems trivial to mention that you will also find incredibly beautiful heliconias in some areas of the temple, but I am a nature lover, so there you have it.
From journal Then There Was Bali