The area between the Pakrisan and Petanu Rivers is sometimes referred to as the ‘Holy Land’ with archaeological treasures dating as far back as the 9th century. There are literally hundreds of old shrines and sacred spring to visit, and probably hundreds more waiting to be discovered.

Pura Penataran Sasih, the “Moon of Pejeng”

Here one can find, the Moon, a large (186.5 c/73.4 inch high) bronze kettle drum, which dates back to the 300BC Bronze Age in Indonesia. Shaped like an hour glass, the kettle drum is of a rare type decorated with eight stylized heads and is the largest drum in the world to be cast as a single piece. Decoration on both the head and body suggest that this kettle drum had its origins in Northern Vietnam (Tonkin), dating back to Dongson times. The Chinese rulers of Tonkin attempted a takeover of Vietnam in the early centuries which led to indigenous revolts. It is theorized that the Tonkin aristocrats who escaped fled to Southeast Asia and brought with them, among other things, then kettle drums.

Local legend states that the drum used to be a wheel of the chariot which drives the moon on its nocturnal journey through the sky. This illuminated wheel fell from the heavens and landed in a tree near the Penataran Sasih temple, where it has been housed since its “fall’. One night, a thief broke into the temple and was annoyed at the brilliant light which revealed his deeds. So he climbed a tree and urinated on it, the man lost his life. Since then, no one has dared touch the drum and it is kept locked up in this temple and given daily offerings. This temple was the main religious center of the old Pejeng kingdom and therefore Balinese from all over the island make pilgrimages here.

Pura Kebo Edan, the ‘Crazy Buffalo’ or ”Temple of the Mad Bull”

Just south of the village of Pejeng you will find Pura Kebo Edan, sometimes called the ‘Crazy Buffalo’ temple. Although not as well-kept as most temples are, its centrepiece is the four metre high statue, the Pejeng Giant. The huge stone body of a man with a massive phallus stands in the right-hand corner of the temple. Said to possess six penises, his main and rather prominent penis is said to be pierced from front to back. Restored in 1952, this giant is a male figure in a dance posture standing on a wide-eyed human (perhaps a corpse). A stone mask covers his face, which curiously has no face of its own; only abstract designs, horns and fangs. Scholar says that this giant symbolizes Bhairava, a Tantric Buddhist manifestation of the Hindu god Siwa. Bhairava adherents worship Siwa-Bhairava and his wife Durga in their more terrible aspects. A new style of sculpture, showing the demonic in fantastic representations, apparently began with the pieces in this temple and marks the influence the magic Tantic cults.

Pura Arjuna Metapa , ”Temple where Arjuna meditated”

Located just south of the Pura Pusering Jagat Arjuna is an epic hero throughout South and Southeast Asia and a warrior supreme. In this story, Arjuna is mediating in a mountain top, gathering up his energies for an upcoming battle with the evil demon Niwata Kawaca. Pictured here with this divine hero are two attendants Tualen and Merdah, his trusted servants who never leave his side. The gods test Arjuna’s power of concentration by sending down two celestial dedari s or nymphs to rouse him out of his ascetic state. But Arjuna is not disturbed by the celestial beauties and passes the Gods’ test, marrying the dedari in heaven after he defeats the ogre king.

Pura Pusering Jagat, ”Temple of the navel of the world”

Dancing figures called Catuhkaya (statues carved with a figure on all four sides) are demonic with large open eyes and sneering mouths. The “Pejeng Vessel”, also called Naragiri or “Mountain of Man”, is a remarkable cylindrical vessel which represent the “churning of the ocean” when the gods produced the elixir of immortality  from the bottom of the sea.

Relief Yeh Pulu

This long stone relief was discovered by the army-commander of the kingdom of Ubud for the first time in 1925. At 25m x 2m along a steeply sloped riverbank, it is one of the classic monuments from the 14 AD century. The name of Yeh Pulu is derived from an image of a bowl where the water comes out in one part of the relief and it shows the daily activity of people during that time. There are also several niches that were used by the King of Bedahulu for meditation.

NOTE: Within walking distance to Yeh Pulu, there is a family run school for orphan and disabled children called: Yayasan Widya Guna. They welcome all visitors and the children are very happy to have your visit. For further information please visit: yayasanwidyaguna.or