Saturday, December 03, 2005

Pura Ponjok Batu (Temple at the Rocky Corner)

Kadek guides tourists around the nearby temple, which gets a good rap from The Natural Guide to Bali:
The temple is built on a special site oozing with energy, just above a small promontory beaten by the waves. Mystical stories and archaeological discoveries attest to the importance ofthis location. According to one of hte local guides, Pura Ponjok gatu was built at a time when the high priests believed that there needed to be a new temple on the north coast to maintain abalance of sanctuaries across Bali. Longbefore, however, the site of Ponjok Batu was already used for sacral purposes. An ancient sacrophagus was recently found in the area; it is displayed in a shrine outside the temple.

The temple is now dedicated to Danghyang Niratha, the Javanese priest who exerted a great influence on the Balinese religion in the 16th century. He is said to have liked to sit on these rocks and prray, meditate or write poetry, inspired by the energy of the waves. The story also says that one day, the local villagers witnessed lights radiating up from the ground in the area. During his meditation, Niratha forecasted the wreckage of a ship. Soon enough, a boat landed on the beach and the holy man brought the dying eamen back to life using fresh water from a spring that magically appeared on the beach. A statue of the ship can be found ona small rock amidst the waves, just below the temple. Another, smaller shrine in front of the beach marks the site where the sacred spring can be seen at low tide. At the entrance of the temple, yet another shrine is set in front of a giant tree. This devotion to tocks and springs attests to the animist spirit that runs through the Hindu Balinese religion.


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