Taman Ayun Temple (Mengwi Temple)
Mengwi Temple or ” Taman Ayun Temple ” literally transited means beautiful garden, and this temple, situated in the village of Mengwi, 18 Km west of Denpasar, is indeed one of Bali’s most picturesque temple. It’s stately proportioned courtyards and large surrounding moat were built in the year 1627 B.C. It was built in the 1634 AD, at the time at the rule of the first Raja of Mengwi. I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung, who later become know as Ida Cokorda Sakti Belambangan.
As the Royal family temple of the Raja Mengwi, this temple is place to worship the royal ancestors, who find their rest in a special shrine know as the “Gedong Paibon”.
Following the pattern of most Balinese temples, Pura Taman Ayun has three connecting temple yards. The innermost sanctum is know as “Utama Mandala”. (the highest circle), the middle yard as “Madia Mandala” (the ricle in between) and outer as “Nista Mandala” (The humblest circle). The enter the main sanctum one must pass through a raised Gateway, know as the Kori Agung (Paduraksa), and the gateway, between the outer and middle connect in split gate known as “Candi Bentar”.
A part from the “Gedong Paibon”, dedicated to one ancestor, in the middle courtyard are other shrines dedicated to the various main temples of Bali. These shrines were built by the Raja to ensure that his Kingdom and people would be able to share in the prosperity and pertility of the nation, and also to enable all the peolpe at Mengwi; to conduct the religious ceremonies at the temple, such as “meajar-ajar”, memendak sang pitara, and request holy water to protect the rice fields from pestilence, etc.
There is also another shrine on the middle court yard didicated on the “Pasek Badak” a famous here of by gone days from the Raja’s troops. The extensive temple grounds of Taman Ayun also function as a resting place for the Royal family.
Covering 4 Heetares of land, the temple is surrounded by a large most, which used to be fully of lotus and lily flowers of all colours, and around the edges of the moat can be found fragipani, cempaka, kenanga and other perfumed flowering trees, as well as mangostein, durian, mango and rambutan fruit tress.
The temple has always been strongly influenced by the ups and downs at the rajadom of mengwi. In 1890 here was a war between the Rajas of badung ang Mengwi, and the 10th. Raja Mengwi “I Gusti Made Agung” lost the battle, and had to restreat to escape with life in to the bordering eastern district. During the role of the victorious Raja of badung the temple was never looked after properly, and the temple building deteriorated due to lack of care.
In the year 1911 AD, part of the Royal Family returned to their family seat mengwi, and Pura Taman Ayun was restored. However on 20th . January 1917 a violent earth-quake damaged many of the existing buildings. Repairs have been done in stages to return the temple to its original condition.
The Odalan or temple ceremony at Pura Taman Ayun falls every 210 days on aday know as “Selasa Kliwon Wuku Medangsia”. Many tourists used to visit the temple, oven before the Second world War The Family of Puri Gede Mengwi still mountain the temple, assisted by a committee made up ot the local traditional leaders, such as the village officials from the Mengwi District.