Timings : 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Entry Fee : No Entry Fee
Monkey Forest Sanctuary: IDR 50,000
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The Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali hides another gem in its southwestern corner - the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, or the 'Padangtegal Great Temple of Death', dedicated to Lord Shiva. Thought to have been built around 1350, the Kecak dance performances at the temple in addition to the excellent craftsmanship make this a significant religious and cultural attraction of Ubud.
Believed to have been built around 1350, the dignified Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal has been named so because of the numerous statues and figurines of Balinese demons installed within its premises. Of these, the statue of the iconic Demon Queen, Rangda, stands out. With unkempt hair, bared teeth, and sagging breasts, she is portrayed as holding an infant in her arms, which she is supposed to feed on.
Owing to the captivating Kecak dance performances and the intricate craftsmanship, Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal has become one of the most significant cultural stopovers in Ubud. The temple complex is believed to play a principal role in teaching the spiritual way of life of people belonging to the local communities in and around this region.
The mystic Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal is covered with depictions of Balinese demonic women, all of which have a characteristic form. With eyes that bulge out of their sockets, long tongues, fangs, and sagging breasts that reach to their stomachs, these figurines emit a chilling aura.
The staircase at the entrance is lined with balustrades that have been built in the form of snakelike creatures with fangs, and snarling lions, among other ferocious beings. A sliced gate, a common feature of Balinese architecture, leads the way to the main temple. Within the premises, creatures of Balinese mythology, both good and evil, are strategically placed, and a number of open-air shrines cover the temple complex.
The rising shrine towers are considered to be the most sacred space of the temple, with pale stones and orange bricks carved into ferocious creatures. In Balinese mythology, demons are associated with the underworld, locally referred to as ‘bhur’, which is one of the reasons why this fascinating temple has been named the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal.
To the left of the temple is a large, open courtyard, primarily used for the traditional Kecak Fire and Trance dance performances, and a music pavilion sits next to it, popularly referred to as gamelans. Musical instruments that resemble xylophones, made of wood and bronze, are placed inside this ensemble, all of which are carved with creatures from Balinese mythology with intricate detailing.
The ground of the temple complex follows a striped pattern with alternating bands of grass and stone and is believed to depict the balance of the two dichotomies of evil and good, something which is prevalent in the Balinese religion.
Kecak Fire Festival is one of the most captivating traditional performances in Balinese culture. Also known as the classical ‘monkey chant’ dance, the performance takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at 7:30 PM in the courtyard of the temple complex.
Skilled dancers from Desa Pekraman Taman Kaja come to this glorified place of worship and present the conventional style of the kecak dance, which is based on the Hindu epic, Ramayana. First created in the 1930s, the mystical dance also has elements that have been borrowed from the sanghyang exorcism rituals.