The Journey and Struggle in the Establishment of the Kawitan Temple of Sira Arya Gajah Para Bretara Sira Arya Getas

Bali is famous for being called the Island of a Thousand Temples. There are various temples located in Bali. Those temples are divided into several groups again, one of which is Kawitan Temple. Kawitan Temple is a place of worship for the sacred ancestral spirits of Hindu community who share a "wit" or ancestral bond based on their lineage. One of the Kawitan Temples in Bali is the Sira Arya Gajah Para Bretara Sira Arya Getas Temple. Let's explore the journey and the struggle behind the establishment of Kawitan Temple.

Dec 22, 2023 - 06:59
Dec 13, 2023 - 20:37
The Journey and Struggle in the Establishment of the Kawitan Temple of Sira Arya Gajah Para Bretara Sira Arya Getas
The statue located in front of the entrance of Kawitan Temple of Sira Arya Gajah Para Bretara Sira Arya Getas (Source: Author's Collection)

The Kawitan Temple of Sira Arya Gajah Para Bretara Sira Arya Getas is located in the Buleleng regency, Bali. The Kawitan Temple originated from the eldest son of Jaya Katha, named Arya Wayahan Dalem Manyeneng. Arya Wayahan Dalem Manyeneng had two sons, the elder named Arya Gajah Para and his younger brother named Arya Getas. Both Aryas complied, expressing their obedience, and took leave to depart promptly. He arrived and stayed at the house of I Gusti Bendesa Pulaki. After staying for two nights, the two Aryas were escorted by I Gusti Bendesa to meet Sri Maharaja, who resided in Samprangan.

The two Aryas were appointed as ministers by the king, who resided north of Tohlangkir and lived in Sukangeneb, with the task of assassinating the king Bedha Murdhi (Bedahulu). After some time, both Aryas each had families and descendants. Arya Getas, after having descendants, was incited by Sri Maharaja to attack the Selaparang region. In short, Arya Getas successfully carried out the attack, earning him respect in the region. Arya Getas then decided to settle in the Selaparang area.

One of the shrines in the temple (Photo Source: Author's Collection)

Arya Gajah Para, after a long stay in Sukangeneb, Toya Anyar. Due to Arya Gajah Para's old age, he was nearing the time when Kala Mrtyu (Death) would come to claim him, and signs of his impending death had become apparent. The message of Arya Gajah Para to his grandson, named I Gusti Ngurah Kaler, was as follows: "Oh, my grandson Ngurah Kaler, when I pass away, create a funeral stage for me on the summit of Mount Mangun, for one month and seven days (42 days), adorned with flowers, accompanied by drums and dances, because my mother was once a celestial maiden". Such was the message of Arya Gajah Para to his grandson I Gusti Ngurah Kaler, and his grandson obediently complied, not daring to reject his grandfather's request.

Then Arya Gajah Para passed away. His grandson, named I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar, was unaware of the last wish because at that time he was not at home, he had gone to Gelgel to meet with Sri Maharaja along with I Gusti Ngurah Pegametan.

Upon his return, I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar, along with his brother, was welcomed by everyone. They were informed about the passing of Arya Gajah Para. I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar, who had just arrived, was shocked and deeply moved by the news. Then, I Gusti Ngurah Kaler conveyed the message of the last wish. I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar fell silent. All the words spoken by I Gusti Ngurah Kaler were not approved by I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar. I Gusti Ngurah Tianyar insisted on instructing all the people to perform all the Ngaben ceremonies, hoping that the cremation of his ancestor's remains would take place soon as the auspicious day was approaching.

Bound by his loyalty to the truth of the last wish, the anger in I Gusti Ngurah Kaler could not be contained. His older brother was immediately challenged to engage in war. The battle was fierce, causing many casualties among the people, with bloodshed and mountains of bodies from the warriors. And both of them ended up losing their lives.