As I walked past the delightful alleyways of Ubud’s art and traditional market, I stumbled upon one of its most beautiful and prized cultural hubs, the voguish Pura Desa Temple. Fringed with Balinese stone statues, the tapered gate of this ancient temple leads you into a shrivelled courtyard. However, the first appearance of this courtyard is just as deceptive as a wrap of a sweet. Unfold the wrap and you will notice an intricately decorated doorway, spanned by a carved arch on the inset.
This is one of the main Hindu temples in the vicinity, located at a 1-minute walk from Puri Saren Agung. The Puri Saren Agung is a large royal palace that was once the residence of Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati, the last ruling monarch of Ubud. The Palace, however, is still owned and operated by the royal family.
In 1930, the palace was turned into the Ubud’s first hotels. As of today, it hosts several ceremonies and dance performances in its courtyard. Quite an interesting place to explore, if you are interested in the local culture. Having said that, Bali is a nation where Hinduism is rather polytheistic. The eternal order of the world’s oldest religion has found a paramount mark in this country of Pura’s. A practice of worship that pirouettes around Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Something that seamlessly articulates the foundation of the Pura Desa Temple.
Further inside this temple, you will unearth various statues and mythical Balinese figures, under inordinately engraved, wooden beams. The temple ceiling, however, is constructed from the fibre of black palm wood. At the same time, the courtyard exhibits a string of thatched roof shrines arranged in a typical layout.
Interestingly, despite built in conformity with Balinese architecture, Pura Desa is still cited as a secret Hindu temple. It is also referred to as the Batuan Temple by the locals as it is taken care of, by the locals of the Batuan Village. Irrespective of its name, this highly embellished temple totally deserves a visit.
P.S. I visited Pura Desa as a guest of Indonesia Tourism Board, however, the views are my own.