Dubbed as the rice barn of Bali, Tabanan has a myriad temples related to subak and prosperity. One of them is the universal temple known as Pucak Bukit Puun temple located at Soka customary village, Senganan, Penebel, Tabanan. As the name implies, the temple is located on the mountaintop. To achieve the temple, it is required a hard struggle because the pathway leading to location is new and steep, so that vehicle is unable to reach out the temple. Therefore, pilgrims should walk about for 2 hours. The pathway to the temple is quite beautiful and within a pristine forest.
The Pucak Bukit Puun perches right on the mountain top. Its location is almost adjacent to Lake Tamblingan. On that account, this temple has the meaning of prosperity for farmers. Chronicle regarding the temple has not been found. But based on the stories of local residents, the Bukit Puun (in Balinese language) means ‘the burning peak’ conveying if the hilltop was once totally burned out. Since then, the peak was known as Bukit Puun. This peak is closely related to Pucak Adeng located next to it. It is said, the charcoal or adeng (Balinese) from the top of the burning peak was thrown up onto the Adeng Hill. Thus, it was then called Pucak Adeng.
The Pucak Bukit Puun is believed to be a symbol of prosperity. On that account, it becomes a sanctum for farmers to ask for blessing of salvation. According to word-to-mouth stories, when the subak territory in Tabanan Kingdom was attacked by diseases, farmers should come to Pucak Bukit Puun temple to invoke purificatory holy water. “If the attack was turning more serious, it could be got rid of after the subak board came to pray to the temple,” said a senior figure of Soka village, Nyoman Sirta, accompanied by the temple priest, Jero Mangku Wayan Arsana. The Pucak Puun temple is also associated with the Ulun Danu Tamblingan and Ulun Siwi Batu Lumbang equally representing the prosperity of subak.
Pujawali or anniversary of the Pucak Bukit Puun falls every full moon of the eighth month in Balinese calendar (around February). Interestingly, it coincides with the monsoon. Since it is difficult to reach the temple site, the anniversary ritual is usually centered in the representative at Kahyangan Desa temple in the form of seven-tiered meru shrine. “By and large, we just assigned the representatives to come to the temple on hilltop due to the difficulty of terrain,” said Sirta. However, since the past few weeks, the pathway to the hilltop has been widened. Thus, people can easily reach the temple though it has to be covered on foot. Opening of this new pathway was also marked with the discovery of ancient shrine believed to be the central shrine of the Pucak Bukit Puun temple.
According to story, the deity venerated in the temple was from Semeru, Lumajang, East Java. The figure was deliberately assigned to Tabanan to assist the government of Tabanan when holding melasti procession to the sea. “It was said when the deity of Pucak Bukit Puun has not yet arrived, the sea water will not recede,” he explained. Until now, the ritual of presenting the deity of Pucak Bukit Puun is always held when organizing a melasti procession. On that account, the patron of Pucak Bukit Puun temple is the king of Tabanan. According to story, the son of deity on Pucak Bukit Puun married the daughter of the deity at Tanah Lot.
The Pucak Bukit Puun temple has a number of shrines. One of them is the principal shrine namely the two-tiered meru shrine used to venerate Nyoman Bagus Aeng. With the discovery of ancient shrine recently, the number of shrine increased. As planned, the temple area will be expanded and made more permanent. Thus, all pilgrims will be able to come and say prayers by their vehicle. (BTN/kmb)