Having been closed for more than a month, the spiritual tourism of Besakih Temple was re-opened to tourists last Friday (Nov. 3). The re-opening of the mother temple of Bali was following the downgrade of Mount Agung’s alert level by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) from level IV (warning) to level
Having been closed for more than a month, the spiritual tourism of Besakih Temple was re-opened to tourists last Friday (Nov. 3). The re-opening of the mother temple of Bali was following the downgrade of Mount Agung’s alert level by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) from level IV (warning) to level III (watch) on October 29. Inevitably, the opening of the spiritual tourism of the temple on the western slopes of Mount Agung is greeted happily by local tourism players at Besakih.
Operations Manager of Besakih Tourism Management Board, I Ketut Sumendra, revealed that before it was opened his management had already coordinated with Chairman of the Board who is also Deputy Governor of Bali, Ketut Sudikerta. He said that Besakih Temple belongs to disaster-prone area (KRB) II.
This means that Besakih village area only belongs to sectoral expansion and is not included in the red zone. After doing measurement, Besakih Temple is outside KRB III, but some hamlets belong to KRB III.
“After it was explained to chairman of the governing body, then it was considered that Besakih spiritual tourism is allowed to re-open rather than many guests coming to Besakih Temple are not handled. Then, who will be responsible? Therefore, we accommodate by re-opening Besakih tourism with permission from chairman of the management board,” said Sumendra.
He said that tourist remains not to be allowed to pass through the temple area, let alone reach the hamlet whose territory belongs to KRB III. It is still prohibited. “Any time there is a possibility that Besakih tourism can be re-closed. However, it all depends on the activities of Mount Agung,” said Sumendra.
For more than a month, Mount Agung has been in the warning alert level. Really, it affects the income. “Obviously, it has an impact on our income,” he said.
Spokesman of the Besakih Management Board, I Gusti Bagus Karyawan, said that since the re-opening of Besakih spiritual tourism, there are tens of visitors every day. They still pay admission ticket as usual. “Since it was re-opened, there are always tourists coming in. Like on Friday or Paing Galungan, the tourist visit reached 49 people, while on Saturday (Nov. 4) reached 69 people,” explained Karyawan.
Tourists wishing to visit Besakih Temple are welcomed. His management will still appeal to every coming tourist to remain vigilant. It is considering that condition of Mount Agung until now is not normal by 100 percent.
One of the local guides of Besakih, I Putu Suyasa, welcomed the re-opening of Besakih tourism area. With the re-opening of Besakih tourism, he can escort guests as ever before to sustain his family’s economy.
“Since the Besakih Temple tourism was closed on September 22, I totally have no income. I am resigned as nothing can be done. All this time, I get income from escorting guests, while taking side job as a breeder. As a breeder, I am just able to sell cattle within two years. Unless relying on tourism, I have no other option of livelihood to sustain my family,” said Suyasa. (BTN/kmb)