Taman Ayun literally translates as ‘beautiful garden’ and is generally regarded as one of the most attractive temples of Bali. Taman Ayun Temple is a very beautiful Hindu temple uniquely designed with a distinctive style of Balinese architecture and surrounded by a large of fishpond that looks like floating on the water. This temple is featured by the unique shape of temple building with towering tiers style decorated with Balinese ornaments with high artistic values that gives the sacred for its temple. This temple is well also known as a Royal Mengwi Temple located in Mengwi District, Gadung Regency, about 18 km north of Denpasar City. Its location is easily reached through the main road from Denpasar to Singaraja via Bedugul direction.
The History of Taman Ayun
Based on Lontar Babad Mengwi (Lontar = inscription made from palm leaf, Babad = history), the temple is now called by Taman Ayun temple formerly when it just completed had been purified in year 1634 which is called by Taman Ahyun Temple. The Ahyun’s word is derived from Hyun that means desire, so the Ahyun means desire. Taman Ahyun Temple means a temple that was established in a park (pond with beautiful flower garden) that can fulfill the desire. From that Ahyun word overtime turned into Ayun Word.
In Lontar Dwijendra Tattwa had been described that Danghyang Nirartha (a Hindu Priest spread out the Hinduism in Bali) on his holy journey ever done yoga in a place with a spring surrounded by trees and blooming flowers with flows river just located in east side of his yoga site. The area was later named by ‘Taman Sari or Taman Wulakan Temple’, meanwhile the surrounding area is called by Mangapuri. This Mangapuri word has been predicted turn into Mangui and now become Mengwi. Manga or Mango may be derived from ‘Mangu’ that means think/thoughtful or meditation. From those reason, Mangupuri is means that a good place for yoga or contemplation.
Based on the archeological data that in the left front of entrance gate when entering the fist courtyard (Jaba sisi) of Taman Ayun Temple, there are two buildings those are called by Batu Aya and Bedugul Krama Carik. Here, we can find a relic from megalithic tradition era in form of stone petals Menhir assigned getting irregularly upward. Getting to the top, then it grew smaller and makes the pyramid terrace shape. Based on the presence of this relic, it is known that the location of Taman Ayun Temple had been used as a place for ritual activities related to the fertility ceremony in agriculture since the megalithic tradition development around 500 BC.
Data in Babad Mengwi had mentioned that I Gusti Agung Putu pioneered his power from the gift of forest land and selected people in total of 200 people from a chief of Marga Village, I Gusti Babalang. That forest land had been leveled and then I Gusti Agung Putu founded a palace with the name of Puri Bala Ayu and now is called Belayu.
Function of Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun Temple Function can be determined from the content of Babab Mengwi and the presence of building structure or Pelinggih including it functions especially located in main temple area.
- Worship of God. Istadewata is main god worshiped at Taman Ayun Temple is a god manifestation as Lord Vishnu who also worshiped at Puncak Gunung Mangu (on the top of Mangu Mount) where in Babad Mengwi called by Hyanging Parwata Gunung Mangu or Danawa Lord.
- In row of Pelinggih (temple building) that are located in the north, there is a temple building (Prasada) approximately 4 feet tall and it is called by Cili Gading Temple as a worship for Cili Gading Goddess. It seems that referred as Cili Gading Goddess is another term for Cili Goddess or Sri Goddess or Laksmi Goddess (wife of Vishnu Lord).