Of the many temples in Bali, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, or often referred to as Pura Ulun Danu, is the largest temple after Pura Besakih. The name of this temple refers to its location which stands on the shores of Lake Beratan. Location of this temple is quite special because it is in the highlands Bedugul, which is about 1,239 meters above sea level. Such conditions make the temple environment is quite cool, with air temperature between 18-22 degrees Celsius. In addition, the beautiful Lake Beratan landscape also adds to the beautiful atmosphere of this place.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is located in Bedugul area, Candikuning Village, Baturiti District, Tabanan Regency, Bali Province, Indonesia. This temple is open for tourist visit between 08.00 until 18.00. However, if the temple area is foggy, the temple location will be closed faster to avoid unwanted events.
Ulun Danu Beratan temple is about 45 kilometers from downtown Tabanan, or about 55 kilometers from Denpasar City. To get to this temple, tourists can use public transportation, such as taxi, tourism bus, or travel agent to Denpasar-Singaraja line. This temple is located on the border between Tabanan Regency and Buleleng Regency, on the edge of the highway, precisely on the shores of Lake Beratan.
As a historical and religious tourism object, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan has been equipped with supporting facilities, such as parking lot, playground for children, and toilets. The playground provides various means of play, such as swings, swivel chairs, and seesaws. Near the playground there is a restaurant serving a variety of dishes. This restaurant will usually be full of visitors during lunch hour.
The history of the founding of Ulun Danu Beratan can be traced to one of the stories recorded in Lontar Babad Mengwi. In the chronicle is spoken about a nobleman named I Gusti Agung Putu who suffered a war defeat from I Gusti Ngurah Batu Tumpeng. To rise from the defeat, I Gusti Agung Putu meditated at the top of Mount Mangu to gain strength and enlightenment. Completed from his hermitage, he established Belayu (Bela Ayu) palace, then returned to battle against I Gusti Ngurah Batu Tumpeng and gained victory. After that, I Gusti Agung Putu who is the founder of Mengwi Kingdom founded a temple on the shores of Lake Beratan which is now known as Pura ulun Danu Beratan
In Lontar Babad Mengwi also narrated that the founding of this temple was done sometime before 1556 Saka or 1634 AD, or about one year before the founding of Taman Ayun Temple, another temple also founded by I Gusti Agung Putu. The establishment of Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is said to have made the famous Kingdom of Mengwi and its king, so I Gusti Agung Putu dubbed “I Gusti Agung Sakti” by his people
Visiting Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, travelers can enjoy the uniqueness of the temple and the beautiful natural surroundings. Beautiful atmosphere, cool, and clean air began to feel since tourists set foot in the parking lot to the temple. From this parking lot, tourists must first buy a ticket to enter the temple environment. The travelers will then pass the paths decorated with flowers, grass, and evergreen fir trees. This path leads to the entrance to the temple.
Entering the gate, we will see a typical Balinese temple building characterized by its multilevel tower (meru). Inside the temple complex there are at least some tower buildings that have a roof terraced, the tower with 11 levels roof, 7 levels, and 3 levels. The existence of the storied tower depicts the worship of three gods, namely Vishnu (11 levels), God Brahma (7 levels), and Lord Shiva (3 levels). Interestingly, because it is located on the shores of the lake is rather low, making the land around the temple is often flooded water when the lake water discharge is overflowing. This condition creates a very beautiful scenery, where the temple complex with its multilevel tower as if in the middle of the lake. This state of overflowing water is the best moment to photograph the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.
Although considered as a place of worship to the trimurti (Lord Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva), but in fact this temple was originally a place to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parwati, which is a symbol for fertility. This estimate refers to the cosmology of the phallus and yoni, where Mount Mangu (the site of the ascetic I Gusti Agung Putu) is considered a phallus and Lake Beratan as yoni. The symbols of the yoni phallus are also visible in some parts of the temple complex. The lingga-yoni symbol is a symbol of worship to Lord Shiva and Dewi Parwati.
Allegations that this temple is a place of worship of Shiva-Parwati increasingly strengthened to see the function of this temple as a subak temple, the temple supported by the social organization of the Balinese society that regulates the distribution of agricultural irrigation. Pura subak itself is specially made to invoke fertility for agriculture. The Hindus who worship at this temple worship the goddess of the lake, or in the local language is called the goddess danu (also called the goddess of water). Dewi danu may point to the figure of Parwati, the wife of Shiva who is a symbol of fertility. Here it appears that agricultural activity around the lake is not only supported by a good system of irrigation, but also supported by powerful religious rituals. Pura Ulun Danu Beratan provides a fairly clear picture of how subak organizations manage agricultural irrigation systems and simultaneously build a means of worship to seek abundant crops.