Penataran Sasih Temple has very long historical traces. It is estimated to have existed before the Hindu influence in Bali as evidenced by the presence of kettledrum relic belonging to old age, namely circa 300 BC. Similarly, there is a statue relic believed to originate from the animism period, such as the statute of ganesh, phallus, catur muka and Shiva Bairava as symbol of truth.
There are many myths developing on the existence of the bronze kettledrum sizing 186.5 cm. Some people call it the Moon of Pejeng because it resembles to a moon, while the others relate it to Kebo Iwa, a chief minister of the ancient Balinese kingdom as his earrings. Then, some associate it with the story on the urine of maling meguna.
Operation Manager of the Penataran Sasih tourist attraction, I Wayan Budiana, said the temple belonged to kahyangan jagat or universal temple and situated at Intaran hamlet, Pejeng village, Tampaksiring. The temple was believed to be the oldest one in Bali and estimated to have existed during the Dong-son period in China mainland.
The great kettledrum has star and facial ornaments in front side. The octagonal star is believed to have been used to show directions. While the frog face on the next side symbolizes the invocation of rain for fertility.
In front of the entrance into the middle courtyard, there is a chronogram as a symbol of Balinese calendar (Saka New Year’s turn). Upon entering the gates, you will encounter the bale pegat pavilion functioned to neutralize impure mind. Beside it lies a padma kurung shrine as the only one shrine in Bali. “When a grandiose ritual like panca walikrama is held in this temple, it will be performed a Sanghyang Jaran dance,” he said.
The grandiose ritual, he continued, fell every 50 years. The dancers would be determined by deities through a trance. When dancing the Sanghyang Jaran, the dancers were not burned by the fire. Meanwhile, the temple anniversary or piodalan fell on full moon in Sasih Kesanga or around February, a few days before Nyepi.
This temple is supported by 4 hamlets namely the Intaran, Pande, Puseh and Guliang. Nevertheless, every temple anniversary was also usually assisted by the surrounding villages around Pejeng and took place for 4 days. “After the temple anniversary and when the deities have come back to their respective abode, the local devotees organized a sampian war,” he added.
Meanwhile, a day before the culmination of ritual, the devotees held the procession of ngiderang dangsil paraphernalia. “This kind of attraction is very favored by foreign tourists,” he said.
Then, related to tourist visits, according to Budiana, highly depended on the condition in the tourist visit to Ubud. When many tourists made a visit to Ubud, it also had an impact on the tourist visit to Penataran Sasih Temple.
“Frankly speaking, we have not made maximal promotion whereas the temple retains various uniqueness and charms. On that account, we expect the Gianyar County government can promote the history and culture of this destination,” he hoped. (BTN/015)