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Merthasari Temple A Footprint of Danghyang Nirartha’s Pilgrimage

Merthasari Temple A Footprint of Danghyang Nirarthas PilgrimageMerthasari Temple located approximately 1.5 km to the south of Negara town is one of the Dang Khayangan (sage veneration) temples in Jembrana. Today, the temple passing through the settlement of Lokasari customary village is being refurbished. From the past until now, the temple nestled at Mertasari hamlet, East Loloan East, Negara, is venerated by subak members.

It is reflected at the beginning of each growing season. People say prayers and invoke in order their plants are not attacked by pests and diseases and all the activities are always performed in the temple. The temple belonging to universal temple venerates Danghyang Nirartha. It is closely related to his pilgrimage to the Island of Bali. The temple building was renovated in 1961 but in 1965 it was abandoned and could not be accomplished. Finally, on July 14, 1976, the building was totally destroyed by an earthquake. Four customary villages becoming the venerator of temple are BB Agung, Puseh Agung of Tengah hamlet, Kertha Jaya customary village at Pendem village and Lokasari customary village, East Loloan village.

In harmony with the passage of time, there was a shift in the venerating villages. Batuagung customary village is now joined together with Pendem and Lokasari. At the beginning of the Merthasari Temple establishment and before renovation in 1965 a huge banyan tree grew in temple. A number of sources mention that around the temple previously lay a small pond. After the renovation, the pond was moved and a meru shrine was established. Now, above the pond was established a padmasana shrine. Meanwhile, the pond water was taken from inside ground about 15 meters depth and then streamed down under the padmasana shrine. Actually, the temple name was Amerthasari, but most people call it Merthasari. Philosophically, Amerthasari is derived from Amertha meaning whole foods and functioning, while sari means the essence.

The temple priest, Jero Mangku Nendra said the Amerthasari Temple had several shrines consisting of the Ratu Nyoman, Padmasana, Meru, Pepelik, Taksu and Dewa Ayu Manik Galih used to venerate Goddess Sri. The origin of the temple was associated with Danghyang Nirartha. When arriving in Bali, he taught religious orders in the Perancak Temple. He asked the apes where he could find another village. Then, the apes were facing north, and there was a village called Budeng village (next to Mertasari). Again, he asked where he could find another village and then the apes were facing west of Merthasari Temple at the current location. On arriving at the village, he taught people about agriculture, especially on farming and commerce. Telaga Taman is a very fertile region. Religious life has been rather good. At the location, there were five places of worship. In the long run, this area turned into Amerthasari village and it is now known by the Merthasari Temple. Pujawali or temple anniversary falls on Anggara Kasih Perangbakat.

At present, the temple area is being expanded for parking space spreading across some 3,000 square meters. As planned, the refurbishment and expansion of the temple area cover the refurbishment of temple building, fence pedestal construction, expansion of parking space, temple garden arrangement as well as wantilan hall (BTN/kmb)