April 11, 2020

Pura Merajan Selonding Besakih - Holy Temple and The Ancient Selonding Orchestra (Gamelan Selonding)

Pura Merajan Selonding is one of the temples in the Besakih Temple Complex. This temple is close to Pura Ulun Kulkul, less than 100 meters north-west from the main road (Jl. Entry Pura Besakih). This sacred temple is touted as a merajan temple (family temple) from one of the ancient Balinese kings named Sri Wira Dalem Kesari, while his palace in Besakih was named Bumi Kuripan.

Pura Merajan Selonding Besakih, Merajan Selonding Temple Besakih

This temple is located in Besakih Village, Rendang, Karangasem Regency, Bali. During a tour of temples in Bali, visitors are usually asked to wear sarong (cloth) and waist sash when entering the temple. This is a common thing in Bali and at the same time to respect the culture in the temple. It is also a good idea to prepare some money if you are charged for entering the temple.

The public transportation services to the Besakih Temple Complex are still limited and may feel a bit difficult for visitors. Even so, you can try several options such as: using a travel tour, a taxi, or you can rent a vehicle and drive yourself to this location.

The existence of this temple is mentioned in the ancient records Babad Usana Bali. In the past there was a king named Sri Wira Dalem Kesari, resting on the slopes of Mount Agung (Giri Tolangkir). He is known to be very authoritative, uphold dharma, and obedient to practice asceticism and samadhi. It was stated that he was the Koripan Dynasty and Pura Merajan Selonding (Kahyangan Salonding) as his place of worship. The king is known by the title Dalem Selonding.

Another source said that Sri Wira Dalem Kesari was a descendant of the Wisnuwangsa clan from Daha (East Java). He came to Bali and became king there, with his residence at Kahuripan in Besakih. He is mentioned as the (first) great builder of Besakih Temple, including Pura Penataran Agung and Pura Dalem Puri. Sri Wira Dalem Kesari was succeeded by Sri Aji Jayakasunu.

In addition, there are also allegations that the Pura Merajan Selonding Besakih has links to the Pura Goa Selonding Pecatu. This assumption is based on the main shrine which is a pelinggih in Pura Goa Selonding Pecatu dedicated to worshiping Ratu Gede Cakra Sari. It was said that the name probably originated from the change in Ratu Gede Cakra Kesari, which was subsequently associated with Sri Wira Dalem Kesari.

This holy temple serves as a sacred place of storage for the ancient Selonding Orchestra (Gamelan Selonding), a sacred inscription (Bredah Inscription) and also for the god-symbols or pratima of the temple below the steps or "soring ambal-ambal".

During the sacred ritual of Bhatara Turun Kabeh in Besakih, the deities are requested to descend into the god-symbols (pratima) in the form of an inscription, a statue, a box containing ritual substance, etc. Then, the god-symbols are carried in procession and enshrined together at Pura Penataran Agung Besakih. The government of Denpasar City has been responsible (pengempon) for this holy temple.

The main shrine in this temple is the "Gedong Panyimpenan", dedicated to Ida Ratu Bagus Selonding. In this place there are gedong pesimpangan, bale pavilion, bebaturan, and other supporting buildings. In addition, there are also pelinggih to worship Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

It is mentioned that Merajan Selonding Temple is dedicated to worshiping Ida Ratu Bagus Selonding; another source mentions the name I Dewa Mpu Anggending. The word "gending" refers to both instrumental playing and singing and also refers to a kind of percussion instrument.

The piodalan ceremony at Merajan Selonding Temple falls on Wrespati Kliwon wuku Warigadian (Thursday-Kliwon of the week Warigadian).

In addition to the piodalan ceremony, also held a celebration to worship Dewi Saraswati. This celebration falls on the last day of the wuku, on Saturday or Saniscara-Umanis of the week of Watugunung. The day is dedicated to honours Goddess Saraswati as the goddess of learning and writing, including papyrus (lontar) and written material (books) which is the symbol of the goddess herself.


  1. google.co.id
  2. kebudayaan.kemdikbud.go.id _ Situs Gua Selonding _ on April 8, 2020
  3. en.wikipedia.org _ Besakih Temple _ on April 8, 2020

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