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10 kilometres away to the South from the heart of Denpasar City is Serangan Island where Sakenan Temple, or locally known as Pura Sakenan resides. Sakenan Temple is one of the most renowned and also the most important 'pura' structures in Bali. The exotic limestone temple welcome the pilgrims and the curious tourists from around the world with its scenic ocean view, where you can even see Tanjung Benoa Village and Nusa Dua Beach in the distance. The temple is also located nearby Serangan Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Bali that is frequented by surfers.
Amazing Facts You Might Not Know About Sakenan Temple
Do you ever wonder where does the name 'Sakenan' come from? According to the papyrus writing wrote by Dwijendra Tattwa, the temple's name is actually a derivation from the word 'Sakya', that means 'a place where you can directly integrate your mind'. Surprisingly, the word 'Sakya' echoes with the word 'Sakyamuni', which was the original name of Siddharta Gautama. Some speculate that the Sakenan Temple is actually have a really close ties with Buddhism that entered the island in 1000 M through Mpu Kuturan. Another source mentioned that the temple's name was given by a Hinduist priest Danghyang Nirartha who was mesmerized by the island's beauty and the calm peaceful sea. He decided to built a worshipping temple which he named 'Sakenan Temple'.
Sakenan Temple's architecture is incredibly stunning, to say the least. It reflects the concept of swamandala, which means there are numerous pagoda-like pavillions (pelinggih) and structures to facilitate religious ceremonies. The temple consists of two major parts: the Pura Dalem Sakenan and Pura Pesamuan or Penataran Ageng Sakenan. The Pura Dalem Sakenan is a 'Pura Dalem' type that was built to worship Shiva, God of the Destruction. It is also associated with death and rituals concerning death, such as Ngaben. You will know that it is a Pura Dalem from a large kepuh tree, the tree is an inseparable part of the temple as it is also used as a shrine.
Like other puras, you'll find three sanctums inside Sakenan Temple's compound. The outermost courtyard is Nista Mandala, or also called as Jaba Pisan. It connects the entire pura compound with the outer realm. Shortly speaking, it is like the entrance gate to the temple. The Nista Mandala of Sakenan Temple consists of an empty courtyard with two large trees adorned with checkered poleng cloths. The large trees are considered as sacred in the temple complex, it is believed that the guardian spirits who protect the temple resides there.
The second sanctum that also acts as a middle sanctum is Madya Mandala, or also known as Jaba Tengah. It is a place where most religious rituals are held. You will usually spot several pavillions, including bale kulkul, bale gong, bale pesandekan, wantilan, and the temple's kitchen. There's also Candi Bentar gate, a typical temple gate marks the western gate of the temple.
The third zone is the most sacred part of Sakenan Temple. There are several pelinggih shrines erected inside the sanctum, including those that are dedicated to the local deities. The tallest pelinggih shrine is dedicated to honor Jro Dukuh Sakti, a highly influential figure in Hinduism.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Sakenan Temple is a highly important temple during Piodalan Festival. Piodalan Festival is a celebration that commemorate the temple's anniversary and it is usually held once every 210 days according to Balinese calendar system. During the festival, pilgrims from surrounding area will flock to the temple carrying ancient heirlooms and sacred temple objects to visit three temples in Serangan Island. The first temple they'll visit is Susunan Wadon Temple, followed by Susunan Agung. The Sakenan Temple is the last temple they will visit.
How to Get Tickets?
Unlike other temple attractions in Bali, you will have to pay an admission fee to enter Sakenan Temple. It only costs you Rp 5.000,- ($34 USD), it is highly affordable for such an incredible and iconic attraction.
How To Get Around?
Ever since a reclamation project that took place in 1996, it becomes much easier to go around Sakenan Temple and its surrounding areas. The Serangan Island is also quite a small island, you can practically go to any attractions on foot.
What Should I Wear?
Sakenan Temple is a very sacred temple to the locals, so you should wear appropriate attires. Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees. Alternatively you can just cover your shoulders and knees with a piece of scarf and sarong.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Sakenan Temple is during Piodalan ceremony. It is a perfect chance to see one of Balinese's greatest religious festival. The Piodalan Festival will takes place on January the 5th next year. Better mark your calendar now!
Will I Need a Guide?
No, all informations you need about Sakenan Temple can be found in this website.
How To Get There?
Thanks to the reclamation project, the Serangan island can be easily accessed by taxi. Though it is much recommended if you take an ojek or rent a car for easier commuting.
Act respectful when you are visiting Sakenan Temple! That means no climbing on top of the pelinggih, or using flash when you are taking pictures of the praying pilgrims.