The temple ceremony at Taman Pule in Mas falls every 210 days on Kuningan. The temple, classified as “Pura ring Jagat” – loosely translated as a ‘temple for whole world’, a classification below only “Sad Kahyangan”, draws devotees from all over this island. So busy does it get that devotees vie to get there early on the first day before the legendary traffic jams and crowds build up. By 5 am there were already queues for the main courtyard – and these were people who had already prayed at the various other shrines dotted around the main temple.  20 images shot between 5 and 7 am this morning, Kuningan day.

photos©Rio Helmi

 

A young boy’s father and grandfather adjust his ceremonial  ‘destar’ (‘udeng’) headdress before entering the temple

As the moon gazes down, devotees enter one of the several courtyards in the Taman Pule complex.

Above and Below: At each shrine the same routine is patiently repeated – offerings are taken out of baskets, arranged, and incense is lit, offerings placed, and then everyone sits down and waits for the pemangku priest to finish incantations before praying to the various gods of the particular shrine.

 

Above: While some try to get there early to beat the crowds to the main shrines, it turns out that already by 5 am there are long queues waiting in front of the small doorway into the main courtyard – they squeeze through in batches (Below).

No shortcuts around the queues…

Above: Meanwhile vendors are already hard at it – above, a vendor touts his knives, choppers and other metal implements. Below, food vendors are set to do brisk business today.

Every year a ‘blue tented city’ of tarpaulin covered vendor stores covers the entire football field in front of the temple.

And finally the sun rays break through the array of shrines, deocrations and umbrellas, catching a ‘kwangen’ offering in the hands of a devotee praying.

Even pemangku priests and their helpers can’t resist snapping the scene as the sun rises… Or is it a selfie??

A temple attendant adds wood to the incense burner atop this eccentric statue  created by the legendary Ida Bagus Nyana decades ago (see below).

 

Holy water is sprinkled and doled out after prayers – and anyone may be designated to do this – as in the cas eof the youngest member of this family who it seems insisted.

While a young infant is ‘hand-fed’ his holy water by his parents.

Temple attendants prepared ‘take home’ bags of tirtha holy water for devotees.

All the while the presiding pemangku in the main courtyard spends hours fulfilling his duty performing the rituals for wave upon wave of devotees.

Here the pemangku performs a special ritual, a kind of matur piuning or ‘informing the gods’, for two young children who have prayed in this temple for the first time.