Mount Agung Bali
Type of Spiritual Experience
The volcanic Mount Agung (Gunung Agung) is the most sacred mountain in Bali. It is home to the important Mother Temple of Besakih, the largest and holiest temple in Bali, it is of particular interest as it is a hydrid - a mountain that symbolises creation together with a set of temples which by their architecture [which is stepped and pyramidic in shape] also represent the mountain shape. The mountain rises to an altitude of 3,148 meters (10,308 feet) in eastern Bali.
The Besakih Mother Temple of Bali is built on its slopes about 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) in altitude. Built before 1000 AD, Besakih Temple was originally a terraced temple. We will see in the next section that the terracing and stepped pyramid shape of temples symbolises the levels in the spiritual world.
The temple was originally dedicated to the dedicated to the dragon god Besakih. But the entire complex is now dedicate to the three aspects of Hindu Creation – Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu – the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer. There are three main temples dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu and stairs ascend through a monumental split gate to the courtyard of the main temple, Pura Panataran Agung, where the central shrine dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu is wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. Two other important temples further up the slope join with the Pura Panataran Agung to symbolize the Hindu trinity: the Pura Panataran Agung in the centre flies white banners for Shiva, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to the right flies red banners for Brahma; and Pura Batu Mddeg, on the left, has black banners for Vishnu.
A description of the experience
The source of the experienceShaivism
Concepts, symbols and science items
ConceptsLevels and layers
Science ItemsSacred geography
Sacred geography - islands
Sacred geography - mountain
Sacred geography - pyramid
Sacred geography - volcanoes