If you are having holiday in Bali and want to find a new atmosphere out from the bustle of Kuta, its beach, and entertainments, you may need to visit the northern part of Badung Regency where you can find some quieter places. This region is indeed adjacent to the other regencies like Gianyar and Tabanan, so you can also visit other tourism objects in these regencies in one go. One of the famous tourism objects in Northern Badung area is Taman Ayun.
Taman Ayun is a cultural tourism object located in Mengwi Village, Badung Regency, Bali. From the center of Denpasar City, this place could be reached in 30 minutes or around 20 km in distance. Taman Ayun is a kind of resort palace / park which is functioned also as a worshipping place. This area is an important historical inheritance of Mengwi Kindom. Besides that, outside area of Taman Ayun, there is also Manusa Yadnya Museum who provides its visitors some stuffs used in Manusa Yadnya (Balinese traditional ritual for specialized human), starting from the rituals when human is still in the womb until he/she dies.
Taman Ayun was built in 1634 by the King of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung. At first, this place was a private resort park for the royal family of Mengwi Kingdom. A few centuries later, this kingdom was conquered by Badung Kingdom so this place was not private property of Mengwi royal family anymore. At that time, this park was used for traditional entertainments and also a place for “tajen” (cockfighting). That is why, if you now walk around the area of Taman Ayun, you will see some rosters exhibited in firm and artistic cages. Besides that, Taman Ayun is also surrounded by artificial river and also planted with several Balinese rare plants.
Just like the common Balinese temple structure, this place also consists of three part / level, Nista Mandala (most outside part), Madya Mandala (middle part), and Utama Mandala (main or core part which is also the location of the holy temple). In the Nista Mandala, the artificial river is located surrounding the whole area of Taman Ayun. To enter this place, there is only one gate to be passed and could be only entered by passing a bridge. After entering the gate, you will directly see the Madya Mandala where a vast green park is located completed with beautiful pond and fountain in the middle. Besides that, there is also “Bale Pertunjukkan” or Show Hall where you can see a small stage in the middle of it. There are some human statues there, posing the activity of tajen. There is also “Bale Kulkul” which is located on the western side park and “Bale Daja” on the eastern side. Bale Kulkul is a tower with 15 meter height. Kulkul is actually a kind of big bell made of wood which is sounded for calling people to gather if there is an important announcement, village meeting, or it could be also sounded to signal a danger. If you want to see the whole panorama of Taman Ayun from height, you can climb this tower. Meanwhile, the “Bale Daja” is a kind of a big resting place which is used to hold the meeting or used as the place for Sekeha Gong (Balinese musical orchestra) to play when the ceremony in this temple comes. In the main part or Utama Mandala, there is Taman Ayun Temple with 20 x 20 meters width. This temple is surrounded by beautiful lotus pond. Unfortunately, no visitor is allowed entering this temple to keep its holiness. Inside this tempele, there is also a Padmasana Singgasana Sang Hyang Tri Murthi, which is the worshipping place for the three main Gods of Hindu (Brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa). There are around 50 beautiful merus in this temple. Meru is a place for placing the offerings or called “banten” if there is a religious ceremony.
If it is compared to the other temples in Bali, Taman Ayun Temple has its own uniqueness. If in the other temples the meru has 5 or 9 roof tiers, in Taman Ayun Temple the meru has 11 roof tiers or usually called as meru tumpang solas. This kind of meru is usually used in the royal or noble families’ temples, and not intended for public. The reason is that every meru in this temple was built to honor their ancestors.
Besides its function as a holy temple for Balinese, Taman Ayun could also be visited as a family excursion place, and also photography site because of its beauty and historical value. If you are visiting the Northern part of Badung Regency, make sure you visit this place soon.