PENATARAN Sasih Temple is one of the universal temples in Bali having a very long history traces. The temple located at Intaran hamlet, Pejeng village, Tampaksiring subdistrict, Gianyar, organized a padudusan ritual on Sunday (Feb 24). It is an annual procession held for eleven days ending on March 6. Besides, Penataran Sasih is also a temple serving as the origin of the world’s life. But, based on the results of research on a lot of relics of the ancient objects found in the temple area, then the Penataran Sasih Temple was alleged to have existed prior to the entry of Hindu influence into Bali. Estimated, it was equivalent to the Dong Son era in China, about 300 years before Christ. In the meantime, the Hinduism was estimated to have entered into Bali in the 8th century.
It can be seen from some relics retained in the Penataran Sasih Temple originating from the period when Hinduism came into Bali, such as stone inscriptions found in the innermost courtyard of the temple. The inscription had scripts derived from the 10th century. In the outermost courtyard of the temple, on the southeastern area, is found some fragments or traces of buildings containing inscriptions in rectangular scripts stating Parad Sang Hyang Dharma standing for a sacred building.
Since the existence of the temple was old enough, a number of shrine buildings were improved. Even, several shrine buildings such as the Ratu Mas, Southern Chamber, Western Chamber, Ratu Sasih and Taman Temple were also renovated this year. Chief of Pejeng customary village, Tjokorda Putra Pemayun, said the sources of funding used to renovate the shrine buildings did not burden the customary villagers at all. It was carried out by using the funds belonging to local village through the empowerment of village assets. Penataran Sasih has five mandalas or courtyards including the Penataran Sasih as the main temple. In the northern part lie the Taman Sari, Ratu Pasek and Bale Agung. Meanwhile, the temple of origin (ibu) lies in the south. In the area of Penataran Sasih especially in the innermost area can be found some shrines. From the entrance, in the middle courtyard there is a Padma Kurung shrine as the storeroom of Sang Hyang Jaran.
In the eastern row lies the pengaruman pavilion functioned as a place to abide the deities’ effigy of all the trinity temples throughout Pejeng. Meanwhile, in the north of the hall occurs the pengaruman shrine used to venerate Ratu Sasih. In addition, there are also the representation shrine of Lord Ganesh and the abode of Lord Brahma in the southern row. Then, in the north there is the shrine of Lord Vishnu, while that of Lord Mahadev in the west.
Based on stories of the elders at Pejeng village, Penataran Sasih was also frequently visited by tourists from different countries because the temple retains some unique ancient relics. Even, a bronze kettledrum posing the center point of every pilgrim and tourist coming to the temple has become one of the objects sanctified by local Hindu community.
Vice Chief of Pejeng customary village, Dewa Suardita, said that in the shrine retaining the bronze kettle drum was believed to be the abode of Ratu Sasih. The Ratu Sasih shrine was a sanctum to beg salvation. Besides, it also served as the symbol of ancestral worship of the Balinese. In the stories and myths developing in the community, the bronze kettledrum was known as ‘the fallen Moon of Pejeng’ associated with the story of maling meguna. Another story links it to a chief minister of ancient Balinese kingdom. He used the bronze kettledrum as earrings where he was said to be defeated by Gajah Mada with cunning tactics to dominate Bali.
However, based on the research by the Institute for Archaeology, the bronze kettledrum measuring 186.5 cm is one of the sanctified shrines in the Penataran Sasih. It contains high magical and symbolic value. The kettledrum is embellished with frog face ornament used as a means of ancestral tribute and protector. In this regard, the magical symbol serves as a medium to invoke rain.Aside from the bronze kettledrum, the Penataran Sasih also keeps some fractions containing relic inscriptions written on rock stone using Old Javanese and Sanskrit language. Probably, the fractional inscription originates from the 9th century or the beginning of the 10th century. Some references and sources also mention that Penataran Sasih is the oldest temple serving as the center of kingdom in the days of ancient Bali. An archaeologist, R. Goris, in the book entitled Keadaan Pura-Pura di Bali (Situation of Temples in Bali) also mentions that the center of ancient kingdom of Bali was located at Bedulu, Pejeng. (BTN/kmb)
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