Ulun Danu temple is one of the most popular tour visit when a sight seeing tour is organized to visit Bedugul Mountain resort or Singaraja tour. The location is on the west bank of lake Beratan. The name Ulun Danu, literally means " the beginning of the lake" But this might not to claim that the site is the beginning of a lake. It tends to indicate that everything that exists around the lake will have the orientation to the temple site, and cleanliness around the area must be continuously kept.
The whole complex is consist of 4 units each dedicated to spirit of Lingga Petak, and shrines to worship god. It looks that the temple symbolizes the nature of surrounding as the respects of nature greatness, since the location is surrounded by peaks of Bali mountain chain such as the east is Mt. Mangu, to the south is Mt. Teratai Bang, and to the west is Mt. Pohan.
The Temple Today
Current pavilions, shrines and basements at the site looks to have been newly renovated and no historical facts can be used to trace the history of the temple. The only source to disclose the history of the temple is a chronicle of Mengwi kingdom, a manuscript now available in transliteration from Balinese characters to Latin at Bali Museum, in Denpasar. It is written that I Gusti Agung Putu was defeated during the battle and became war detainment of Tabanan kingdom. The vassal of Marga implored the king to bring I Gusti Agung Putu to Marga village, and from here he set the strategy to gain back his lost land. He went up to Mount Mangu peak to meditate and request the inspiration. Returning from that he went back to Marga and built his palace at Balahayu ( now : Blayu village ).
War of Local Princes
During the war between kingdom of Tabanan and Penebel, the brother of I Gusti Agung Putu succeeded in helping Tabanan to win the battle. With this victory king of Tabanan gave I Gusti Agung Putu the vassal area of Marga. This young warrior continued to subdue his rival. To his success he built the temple dedicated for praying to the God giving the power to the peak of Mount Mangu. It is mentioned that the construction of Taman Ayun temple is just after the construction of Ulun Danu temple. While the date of construction of Taman Ayun is recorded with chronogram reads " Sad Bhuta Yaksa Deva " = Caka 1556 or 1634 AD. We can use this date as the approximation of the construction of Ulun Danu temple.
- The Shrine of Lingga Petak It is a meru - 3 superimposed roofs shrine - located at the most eastern side, reachable by canoe. The shrine has 4 doors for 4 directions. According to the record the shrine was renovated in 1968, and in the foundation were found 3 long round stones each had red, white, and black color. The white stone was in the middle and was believed to be a " lingga " the symbol of god Shiva. It is very probable that this temple got the name from the white lingga ( Petak means white ). Until now the local religious leader still dedicate this temple as the worship of Shiwa. It is also called " the abode of Ulun Danu god " as the symbol of fertility. It is already known that the Shiwa - Lingga devotee put strong emphasize on the worship of fertility ( influence of Tantric school ). At most ancient sites found to preserve this symbol it is normally consist of 2 parts. The base and the round up-right stone. The base is called " Yoni " and the up-right is called " lingga ". This thought was probably inspired by the atheistic thinking of Shamkya philosophy about the creation or as mentioned above from Trantric school. That is the meeting between " Purusa " or the male element with the "Pradhana " the female element will result the creation. The distribution of this thought in Bali was almost all over the island. This is the prove that Shivaitic sectarianism had wide followers. The practice of this sect later influenced very much by the practice of Tantrayana, a left hand path of Buddhism.
- The Shrines for temporary abode of god in Mount Mangu The location is just on he west side of Lingga Petak, reachable by wooden bridge. The shrines are a11-superimposed merus. Who was considered to abode Mt. Mangu? This is a story from a manuscript called " Babad Usana Bali" on which various directions in Bali with the temple name and the above are mentioned. Mount Mangu is mentioned as the abode of the power of Wisnu or Dewi Danu. It is hard to understand why for the god Wishnu the shrine is bigger while at that time Shiwa-Lingga was preponderant.
- Shrines of Teratai Bang It is also called Pura Penataran Agung. This complex is consist of 3 yards as the common structure of temple in Bali. Here 22 shrines and pavilions standing for various dedication. From the name of spirits worshipped here there are very clear the mixed spirits between ancestor's spirits and the worship of the god power. Local ritual leaders consider that the main shrine is the 7-roofed meru as the abode of god Brahma.
- Pura Dalem Purwa, the complex has 3 pavilions for worshipping the power of god Shiwa in the form of Bhagawati goddess, the symbol of wealthiness.
The maintenance of the temple is the responsibility of 4 groups which are consists
of villages. The group is called " Satakan " There are 4 satakans who responsible for are :
Satakan Candi Kuning
The member of the worship group called "penyiwi" is consists of royal family which was in the past vassal of Mengwi kingdom such as Marga, Blayu, Perean, and Mengwi itself. The rest is the whole irrigation organization using the rivers flowing within the area of Baturiti until Mayungan area up to the northern area of Badung regency. From this fact it is very clear that, lake Beratan is considered the heart of irrigation and rice life in the region.
There are 5 kinds of regular ceremonies carried out in the temple every year. The fixed schedule can be read in Balinese calendar since this is based on Balinese dates which can only be known in November for the following year.
One strange ritual is what it calls " Pekelem " means " sacrifice to be sunk " The sacrifice is consists of animals, must be young, such as chicken, pig, buffalo and duck. Each animal is dressed with white cloth or black for pig and buffalo, legs given accessories of Chinese coins or gold. Followed with complicated palm leave decorated offerings, intricate cookies and incense burners the animals are sunk to the lake. This pakelem ritual is not regular but based on special occasion when the situation of life is considered not normal such as the spread of epidemic, flooding, earthquake causing causalities, draught, and many other social and natural catastrophes.
All the fixed schedule can be known during November every year for the next year rituals. It is normally by October Balinese calendar has been issued and can be found in the shops. One thing will also affect the materialization of the ceremony is the local tradition, which is different for every area in Bali. Some villages have the regulation that when one member of the village is dead prior to the ceremony, let's say 3 days or before ceremony, usually the ceremony will be cancelled, and will be performed for the next schedule.
Buddhist Vihara Banjar
Gua Lawah Temple
Ponjok Batu Julah
Taman Ayun Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Tirta Empul Temple
Ulun Danu Temple
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.