The island’s largest and most important Hindu temple, Besakih Temple, is now equipped with an information center. The center was officially opened by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika last week, and is ready to provide complete details and information about the “mother temple” located at the foot of Mount Agung in Besakih Village, Karangasem regency. “The information center is expected to help Besakih Temple become a spiritual and cultural center for all Balinese, as well as tourists who visit the temple,” Pastika said.
The information center has an information room, exhibition room and an audiovisual room. Construction cost Rp 4.5 billion (US$368,459), which was taken from Bali’s regional budget (APBD). At the information center, visitors can see an explanatory map of all the places of worship within the temple complex, as well as learn its history and philosophy. In the audiovisual room, visitors can also watch a 15-minute film about the temple’s history.
The film was made by a team from the provincial cultural agency. Pastika stressed that the information center was built as part of the provincial administration’s commitment to manage, organize and preserve Besakih Temple and the surrounding area optimally. Pastika said that the area was part of Bali’s cultural heritage and should be preserved. Pastika added that all sacred area across the island should be managed to maintain cleanliness and attractiveness.
“Not just Besakih, but all sacred areas in Bali,” he stressed. In an attempt to better manage sacred areas on the island, Pastika said, the provincial administration would take pemangku (Hindu priests) and sulinggih (Hindu high priests) on a comparative study to other countries, to get information on how they manage their sacred areas. “By conducting the comparative study, we hope it will provide insight on managing sacred areas that can be implemented in Bali.
Of course, adaptations would have to be made to suit local conditions and the culture of the local community,” he stated. Previously, prior to the opening of Besakih Temple information center, a comparative study had been conducted by local residents and spiritual leaders to temples and monasteries in Japan. Ketut Wija, second assistant to the provincial administration for economic affairs, said that the administration was now planning to develop similar projects at Ulun Danu Batur Temple in Bangli and Goa Lawah Temple in Klungkung.
“The Bali administration is committed to managing sacred areas in Bali. The next step is building information centers at Goa Lawah and Batur temples, the budget for which has been allocated in the 2014 regional budget,” Wija said. Meanwhile, the administration is now proceeding with its plan to form the Besakih Temple Management Authority. A discussion forum for all stakeholders, religious and local community leaders was held last year.
Deputy Governor Ketut Sudikerta, who lead the process, said on a separate occasion that the management authority was needed. “Our plan to form the Besakih Temple Management Authority is purely to preserve the sacred area. We have to manage the temple complex properly in the interests of all Balinese Hindus on the island,” Sudikerta stated.
source : bali daily