The pagoda-like tiered roof of the Pura Bukit Tageh Temple can be seen high on the ridge of the mountains directly opposite Villa Kropak. Bali is often referred to as the Island of Temples and there are quite literally, thousands of them. Each village compound has its own family temple, each community has a temple, there are the State temples and myriad Major temples such as Pura Besakih, the sacred Mother Temple on the slopes of Mt Agung, iconic sea temples such as Tanah Lot on the West Coast and Pura Uluwatu on the headland at Bali’s southernmost tip, Pura tirta, the exquisite water temples and the unique temples such as the famous bat cave temple, Pura Goa Lawah near Klungkung in east Bali.
The Pura – the Balinese Hindu Temples – are built to strict guidelines although there are a number of different architecture styles used. The temple’s structure is divided into three parts known as the tri loka based on the Hindu belief that the world is made of three dominions, one for the gods, another for humans and one for the demons. The first, nista mandala, or the outer zone connects the temple with the outside world and the temple entrance; the madya mandala which is the middle zone of the temple where most of the facilities supporting the activities are situated and the utama mandala, the central and most holy part of the temple. The three areas are divided by gates and each zone is a higher than the one before. Every temple has a shrine to the principle deity and temple offerings are made on a regular basis.
The Balinese believe that the mountains are the home of the Gods; hence temples in the mountain areas have a particular importance. Pura Buki Tageh is one such mountain temple, a small but beautiful site with spectacular views across the Sideman Valley. It is built right on the crest of a mountain and features the spectacular pagoda-like tiered roof known as meru. These comprise an irregular number of stepped roof structures getting smaller as they climb skywards. The higher the meru, the higher the status of the temple’s god.
The temple is about a 20 minute ride away by motor scooter, and an hour by car. Villa Kropak offers a package tour to the temple combined with a rice field tour and tour of the village. There is one major ceremony performed Pura Buki Tageh each year but the temple is attended at all times and visitors, wearing a sarong, are expected to make a small donation.