Tabanan Regency known as the rice granary of Bali has myriad temples related to subak or irrigation cooperative. One of them is the Pucak Tinggah Temple at Angseri Village, Baturiti. The temple sitting on hilltop is believed to be a rendezvous of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to bring prosperity to farmers. It is said the temple was originally a bamboo grove. The name of Puncak Tinggah stands for ‘a peak amid a bamboo grove.
An apparatus of Pucak Tinggah Temple, Nyoman Artana, explained there were three groups of inscription telling about the origin of Pucak Tinggah Temple. The inscriptions were the result of research made by an archaeologist from the Netherlands, Dr. R. Goris together with the Antiquities team of Bali Museum in 1977. The three inscriptions were respectively given a serial number like 007 Angseri A, 508 Angseri B and 1009 Angseri C. In terms of the form and script found, they were not made at the same time. The inscription of 007 Angseri was the oldest among the existing inscriptions. However, they were all inscribed in ancient Balinese script originating from the same period as the inscription found at Gobleg Village, Ujung and some other inscriptions of ancient Bali. Meanwhile, the inscription of 508 Angseri and 1009 Angseri were issued several hundred years after the inscription of 007 Angseri.
In the inscription of 007 Angseri was described that community established a shrine called Hyang Api meaning Puser or Pucak (pinnacle) during the reign of King Ratu Cri Ugrasena in Caka 837 or 915 AD. Meanwhile, the inscription of 508 Angseri was made during the administration of King Cri Curadhipa in Caka 1041 or 1115-1119 AD. It was mentioned, the King Prabu Sakti Wisnumurthi who was like the moon and sun exuded light to all that existed. The inscription also mentioned about the existence of Sukhamerta Village (now Angseri—Ed), where a senior figure Hyang Tatdwanyana came to King Cri Curadhipa in relation to the hermitage at Sukhamerta Village that was once made a sanctum by the King Sri Aji Tagendra Warmadewa ruling from 955-967 AD. “Condition of the 1009 Angseri inscription is damaged, so no one is able to read it,” said Nyoman Artana.
Aside from the inscription, based on the information from local public figures, the Pucak Tinggah had a number of historical narratives. Among them, when Rishi Markandeya came to Bali, he once dropped by and stayed in this temple and so did the Lord Pasupati. At that time, Lord Pasupati abided in Pucak Semeru Agung Temple. It was indicated by the representative shrine of Pucak Semeru Agung in the Pucak Tinggah area.
The temple was also believed to be a rendezvous of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. It was indicated by the existence of various springs in the temple area. Among them, there were many kinds of springs with different quality such as cold, lukewarm and hot, as well as water with different flavor such acid, sulfur, fishy and fresh. It could be traced back from the existence of Tri Kahyangan temple (trinity temple) and Batur Jati Temple. Pucak Tinggah temple was also associated with the Pucak Beratan, Pucak Bukit Sangkur, Teratai Bang, Pucak Batukaru, Pucak Bukit Adeng, Pucak Padang Dawa, Pucak Batu Lumbang, Pucak Sarinadi, and Penataran Dalem Ped. It happened because when Ida Ratu Gede Sakti Mas Mecaling came to Bali, he took a rest in Pucak Tinggah Temple. The Pucak Tinggah Temple had many relations to other temples so that many temples from Tabanan, Badung and Gianyar brought along their sanctified effigies of some 30 units for worship.
In the past, the Pucak Tinggah Temple was venerated by 7 pekaseh (chief of subak or irrigation cooperative) around the temple. However, since the 1990s, a number of pekaseh set to be inactive. Then, the temple on the hilltop was only venerated by 60 families. Pujawali or temple anniversary was held once a year, every full moon of the eleventh month in Balinese calendar (around April-May). On the temple anniversary, thousands of devotees from Bali and Java always thronged this temple to worship.
Area of the temple reaches 14 hectares. It has a number of shrines. Originally the main shrine was a pile of stones located in the middle of a bamboo grove, known as Payogan or meditating place. Now, the former bamboo grove is still left to grow in the temple as a forerunner to the temple. Aside from the main shrine, there are a number shrines built around the temple area. Among them, there are Taman Purwa or Saren Kauh functioning for purificatory ritual of the deities and Dalem Purwa used to store ritual paraphernalia of universal temple, Lingga Jati for storing temple paraphernalia and Gunung Santun for storing foodstuff.
During the temple anniversary at Pucak Tinggah, the deities will be ready to receive worship for three days. Its procession begins with melasti procession for the deities to Ulun Danu Beratan. It is resumed to escort the deities to Taman Beji, and then enters the pinnacle of the temple anniversary. This temple has seven principal priests assisted by dozens of auxiliary priests. So far, the temple has been rehabilitated for three times. To reach the temple is quite easy because it is located in the tourist route of Jatiluwih and Angseri hot spring. (BTN/kmb)
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