The Legend of Pucak Bukit Sari Temple that Provides a Sense of Inner Peace

Bali Island is a paradise for those who appreciate spiritual beauty. Known as the "Island of a Thousand Temples," Bali is home to a diverse array of temples that captivate visitors with stunning architecture and soul-soothing atmospheres. Each temple holds its own story and unique charm, reflecting the rich cultural heritage and beliefs of the Balinese people. One of them is Luhur Pucak Bukit Sari Temple.

Sep 9, 2023 - 10:17
Sep 9, 2023 - 16:51
The Legend of Pucak Bukit Sari Temple that Provides a Sense of Inner Peace
Luhur Pucak Bukit Sari Temple (Photo Source : Editorial Collection))

Luhur Pucak Bukit Sari Temple is located in the Pakraman Pacung Village, Baturiti District, Tabanan Regency, Bali. Tabanan is one of the regencies that has many places for pilgrimage. One of the temples worth including in the destination list is Luhur Pucak Bukit Sari Pacung Temple. This temple, which is a “Kahyangan Jagat” temple, is situated in the highlands of Bali, adding a spiritual impression that can instantly bring a sense of inner peace to anyone who visits. Additionally, this temple is also known as the location for the “pasupati” tapakan barong ceremony in Bali. It is not too difficult to find the location of Luhur Pucak Bukit Sari Temple, as it can be said that the temple is strategically positioned on the east side of the main Denpasar – Singaraja road.

The village head of Pucak Bukit Sari Temple, I Made Sunada, conveyed that the history of the establishment of the temple is explained based on puranas or babads only. This is because no inscriptions have been found to explain the existence of Pucak Bukit Sari Temple. The purana or babad was given during the journey of Arya Sentong with “Ratu” Sakti to come to Bali from Nusa Penida. Upon arrival in Bali, they headed to Pucak Sangkur, and upon reaching this place, they performed yoga samadhi. During the yoga, a voice was heard saying, "Hey, you two are my children. I am “Bhatara Hyang Semeru”, also known as “Bhatara Hyang Siwa Pasupati”. I also have a shrine in the Purusada Temple in Kapal Village. My other shrine is in Khayangan Jati Batur, and in the place where you are now practicing Yoga Samadhi (Pucak Sangkur), I also have a shrine. Now, I command you both to continue this sacred journey, head towards the south, and seek the place called Bukit Sari because in the past, it was I who created it. It is on Bukit Sari that I also desire to have a shrine in the future. That is my decree to both of you".

After hearing those words, the two individuals immediately set off towards the south and arrived at Bukit Sari (the Pacung area now). After discussing with the Pacung community, an agreement was reached, and they promptly began constructing the sacred site. As time passed, the community started clearing the vegetation on Bukit Sari and sought guidance from the presence of “Ida Shang Hyang Widhi Wasa”. Then, another voice was heard saying, "Hey, all of you gathered in this place, just as in this place, establish the shrine of the lingga of Hyang Bhatara at “Pucak Sangkur”, “Bukit Jati”, “Prasada Kapal”, “Alas Sangeh”. I am (Sanghyang Siwa Pasupati) who resides in the divine realm that you have created". Upon hearing these words, they proceeded to construct the shrine of “Hyang Bhatara”. The duration of the temple's construction was not mentioned, but it was stated that the shrine was completed and followed by the procession of purification ceremonies and deity worship in the year 1432 or 1510 AD. With this, the newly sanctified sacred place was given the name Bukit Sari Temple, in accordance with the name of the hill located in Pacung Village, as a place to worship the greatness of the Almighty God in His manifestation as “Shangyang Siwa Pasupati”.

"Pasupati Tapakan Barong" (Photo Source : Editorial Collection)

The same information was conveyed by the Secretary of Pucak Bukit Sari Temple, I Made Wayan Dana. According to him, there are several devotees who periodically come to the temple to pay their respects and perform “pasupati” ceremonies. It is also said that the temple serves as a place for the “pasupati tapakan barong” ceremony in Bali. This knowledge stems from the words of “Shanghyang Siwa Pasupati”, which state, "Hey, people of Pacung, this sacred site is a place to seek “pasupati” for “barong”. When I bestow sacred power (giver of “pasupati”), I am titled “Bhatara Gede Sakti Ngawa Rat”. I “(Sanghyang Siwa Pasupati)” have the authority to grant pengurip-urip/pasupati to all barong in Bali. This temple functions as a public place of worship. Aside from being a place to seek pasupati for barong, it is also a place to seek blessings for the safety of crops in the rice fields, ensuring that everything you plant will grow abundantly". As a result, many devotees from various villages come to the temple to pay their respects and perform pasupati. These include devotees from villages such as Senganan, Selingsing, Bangah, Mayungan, Petiga Marga (Tabanan), and several villages in the Badung regency, such as Blahkiuh, Nungnung, Tangeb, Sobangan, Dukuh Moncos, Kapal, Tegalnarungan, and several other areas. However, Wayan Dana specifically mentioned that the devotees from Bangah village come regularly every six months. This is due to the historical connection and payogan (offering) of the devotees from Bangah village originating from Pura Pucak Bukit Sari.

In Pucak Bukit Sari Temple, there are several shrines, starting with the Main Mandala which includes shrines like “Padma Karo (Stana Tri Murti)”, “Padma Kurung (Stana Rsi)”, and “Padma Pesaji (Pasupati)”. Then, in the “Middle Mandala”, there are shrines such as “Bale Sumanggen”, “Bagus Muteran Jagat”, “Panglingsir Batu Karu”, “Bagus Mataram”, “Pucak Kembar (Bagus Rengreng)”, “Pengaran (Ayu Mas Maketel Maleted)”,” Bangbang Kula-kula”, “Saka-saka shrine”, “bale saka sanga”, and “Bangbang kula-kuli”. Some of these shrines are intentionally left in their original state.

This temple is believed to share a connection with “Pucak Sangkur” Tempe, “Jati Batur” Temple, “Purusada Kapal” Temple, “Alas Sari Sangeh” Temple, “Uluwatu” Temple on the south coast of “Badung”,  and “Pucak Kembar” Temple which is located to the north of this temple. Meanwhile, its “piodalan”, or anniversary celebration, occurs every six months and coincides with “Tumpek Landep”.

Based on the explanation above, it is very clear that “Pucak Bukit Sari” Temple is a “Kahyangan Jagat” temple, a sacred place for worshiping “Ida Shang Hyang Widhi Wasa” in His manifestation as “Shang Hyang Siwa Pasupati”. Additionally, this temple serves as a sacred place for seeking “pasupati” for the “tapakan barong” ceremony in Bali.