Pura Batur Sari, on Jalan Suweta, Ubud had its latest Odalan this May. Long term resident and neighbour of the temple, Lyn Shwaiko lets us see it through her eyes. All photos and text ©Lyn Shwaiko

Named for its connection to Batur, the embodiment of the male and female duality of the island, and home to a large stone representing this sacred volcano, Pura Batur Sari / Pura Batu Sari (or Pura Merajaan Sari, as it was originally called,) is one of the few Pura in Ubud to still retain its old style decorative touches.

Above: The luminated door  (center left, between the two black and white  chequered ‘umbul-umbul’ flag banners, ) is the home to the Batu Sari stone.

Top (feature image): Chinese porcelain plates were cemented into walls and gateways.

Above: Long before Ubud had electricity, light bulbs were used as decoration. Not wired to any current, these were cemented directly into the tops of gates and have, amazingly, remained intact.

Slowly this pura is being brought into the 21st century style of temple decoration – black ‘Ijuk’ roofs have replaced old style terracotta and ironwood tiles and shingles and just recently the Balai Kul-Kul (signal tower) has been completely rebuilt with reinforced concrete tiang, or pillars, instead of the old carved wooden ones.

Above: this kul-kul tower was completed in time for the present Odalan anniversary ceremony, The celebration draws people from all of Ubud’s banjars communities. Over four days, they come in their finest pakaian adat (traditional clothing) to pray, bring offerings, watch dance and drama performances and meet one another.

Above: Pura Batur Sari is also home to the oldest Barong of its lineage, Ratu Lingsir. Ratu Lingsir is seen here with Ratu Gede Gombrang, the mask that was bought by an American and taken back to the States, only to be returned to Bali, years later, by the very exhausted American whose sleep and life had constantly been disturbed. Ratu Gede America, as he is called by the community, now resides in the Merajaan of the Puri Saren Kauh when he’s not visiting other Pura.

Below: seen here, surrounded by “visiting” Rangda and Barong masks, Ratu Lingsir plays host to these members of his “lineage” during the Odalan.

 

Above For this important Odalan the “visiting relatives” were so numerous that they filled another balai as well as Ratu Lingsir’s permanent home.

Above and Below – The day before the Odalan begins, every young girl gets a chance to dress like a princess and lead a procession of Ratu Lingsir , holy masks and relics to the Pura Gunung Lebah in Tjampuhan to pay respect and cleanse the religious artifacts belonging to Pura Batu Sari.

 

 

Above – For each Odalan, there are scheduled performances that are firstly dedicated to the gods, and also provide entertainment to the community when they come to pray.

Above: The Baris Gede – a ritual dedication of warriors and their weapons, this performance stayed true to the original version – older men from Bentuyung move in a stately and measured dance, mesmerizing the audience with their quiet presence.

Below: Orang Tua mask dance – the old man dances his memories, relives his victories and deals with the everyday truths of getting old.

 

Above – Women from Banjar Tengah, Ubud perform Rejang – people I see on the streets every day are transformed, dancing while the prayers begin.

Below: Basura performance

 

Above and Below: the general atmosphere during the odalan anniversary ceremony

 

 

Above:  at the end of the night’s prayers on the last day of the Odalan, the temple attendant returns offerings in preparation for the return trip of one of the visiting Barongs .

Below: Full moon over the roof tops