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Keeping Baliís Mother Temple Sacred

Bali Moving Towards the Establishment of a Puri Agung Besakih Authority

(2/1/2014) The provincial government of Bali has prepared a small team to review input from a number of sources on how best to create a Pura Agung Besakih Authority to control and oversee the operation of Bali’s Mother Temple.

Pura Agung Besakih is located at an elevation of 1,000 meters above sea level on the slopes of Bali’s sacred Mt. Agung. Believed to be 2,000 years old, the temple complex is comprised of 23 separate temples distributed on six levels, terraced on the hillside.

Regarded widely as Bali’s Mother Temple, Mount Agung is seen as the central axis or “navel” of the Universe.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, deputy-governor Ketut Sudikerta said on Friday, January 31, 2014, “Coordination meetings have been held the Hinduism Society (PHDI), the High Council for
Traditional Villages (Majelis Utama Desa Pakraman Provinsi Bali) and community leaders in Besakih.”

Sudikerta said the meeting provided input and secured the principal agreement for the formation of the Pura Agung Besakih Authority.

The deputy-governor reports that as a follow up from the meetings a small working team, coordinated by Ketut Wija of the Provincial Government, has been created. Wija’s team will process the input received to date from the community and eventually propose structure for the proposed body to oversee Pura Agung Besakih.

“Essentially, the Authority will involve participation by the people of Besakih and the regency of Karangasem, while the provincial government will potentially only act in a technical capacity,” explained Sudikerta.

Continuing, Sudikerta said: “Our hope is that the Authority will help to improve the organization and management of Pura Besakih. We absolutely have no specific interest or hidden intention there.”

Sudikerta said Pura Besakih is a sacred place for the Hindus of Bali and, for this reason, it must be maintained and cared for together with its surrounding environs. He described how several sacred areas in China and Thailand are supervised and protected by specific Government Authorities or Agencies.

Earlier, on Friday, January 17, 2014, the PHDI held a meting to discuss proposals to establish a Pura Agung Besakih Authority.

The chairman of PHDI, Dr I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, affirmed the need for an Authority to improve management of the sacred site and ensure the welfare of the surrounding community.

Sudiana looks to the Puri Agung Beakih Authority to address the myriad of problems confronted by the Temple, including access by tourist visitors, funding and theft of temple property.