Saturday, October 24, 2009
In every village in Bali, there are several temples and at least one small one in each home. One can therefore safely say that there are more temples than homes in Bali. Most of these temples are shrines and might not be regarded as actual temples, but the number of walled compounds are believed to reach to a total of 10,000. The word for temple in Bali is pura, which in Sanskrit means 'space surrounded by a wall'. Simple shrines or thrones are found everywhere and at all sorts of unusual places. Although many temples are quiet and uninhabited, they are transformed into colorful, active and ornately decorated places of worship when there is a festival. Offerings would be made, while performances of traditional dances and gamelan, cockfighting and gambling liven up the atmosphere.
Balinese houses are often beautiful but will never be lavished with the architectural detail reserved for temples. Most of the decorative features and sculpture associated with Balinese buildings are traditionally present in temples. A typical temple should have the basic elements but larger ones may have a few more courtyards and shrines.
Balinese temples feature inextricably bound architecture and sculpture. The gateways are covered with intricate carvings in every square inch. A series of diminishing demons' faces glare from above for protection and it is never completed without a couple of stone statues as guardians.