A History of Pura Ulun Danu Beratan in 60 Seconds

Photo of Edira Putri
6 July 2017

In Bali, the land of thousands of temples, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan still stands out for its beauty, history, and majesty. In fact, the sacred complex is one of the biggest, most visited, and most photographed in Bali.

The Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most prominent temples in Bali, and one of the largest. The history of this temple is written on a traditional lontar leaves manuscript depicting a royal by the name of I Gusti Agung Putu. He had just suffered a loss in a battle for power against I Gusti Ngurah Batu Tumpeng. As an attempt to gather more strength and enlightenment, I Gusti Agung Putu went to Mount Mangu, near the spot where the great Beratan Lake is now located, to meditate.

After gaining victory over his opponent, I Gusti Agung Putu built a temple on Lake Beratan and established his own empire, the Mengwi Kingdom. The history of the Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, therefore, is intertwined with the ancient kingdom’s, dating back to before 1634 A.D. or 1556 according to the Balinese Saka calendar. However, the same manuscript suggests that the location has been a place for rituals since the Megalithic era, proved by the artifacts found and now stored inside the temple.

The temple itself was named after the Goddess Danu, the queen of water, who is also the goddess of beauty and fertility. Lake Beratan itself is the main source of water for field irrigation in central Bali.

The architectural highlight of this temple is the Pelinggih Telengin Segara, an 11-storey temple building that sits on a plateau on Lake Beratan and appears to be floating on the magical, serene lake. The building with tiered roof, called meru, is a symbol of the dwelling place of the gods; the center of the universe.

Monumental as it is, the Pelinggih Telengin Segara is just one part of the massive temple complex. The Pura Ulun Danu Beratan comprises of four sacred compounds, each dedicated to different gods in Hindu. Although the temple serves as a Hindu worship place, Buddhist-style architectural ornaments such as the Buddha’s statue can also be found in the temple.

One of the most important religious, cultural, and tourism destinations in Bali, this temple is one of the most visited and photographed on the island. The Indonesian government features this iconic religious landmark on the 50,000 Indonesia Rupiah (IDR) currency.

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