Attractive temple with lotus pond
The picturesque lotus-filled pond is the main drawcard for tourists at Pura Taman Saraswati, a stone’s throw back from Ubud’s main road, and it does indeed make a pretty backdrop for a selfie, but it’s worth getting a little closer to admire the impressive paduraksa entrance gate.
The temple is dedicated to Dewi Saraswati, goddess of the arts and scholarship. Historically, she may have been a river goddess but has transformed to represent the more metaphorical creative flow. Saraswati Day is celebrated every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar when offerings are made to sacred texts and books are blessed.
Commissioned by Ubud’s Sukawati Royal family, the temple was built by renowned court undagi (architect), stone-carver and painter, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862?—1978). The red brick gate features a riot of pale paras stone ornamentation, protected by a florid Bhoma head. Bhoma can be seen on many temples in Bali, symbolic of being halfway between earth and the Gods, a guardian, yet a representation of entering/transforming from one space to another.
According to stories from Lempad’s son the design here was inspired in part by the monstrous head carved at the cave entrance at Goa Gajah. You won’t be able to venture beyond the gate unless there is a temple festival when you’ll need full traditional attire to enter.
Evening sees the temple lit up as the venue transforms to a stage for regular dance and music performances. To view the gate and the ponds, find the narrow entrance between Cafe lotus and Starbucks on Jalan Raya Ubud. Entry is free during the day and unless you go for a performance or ceremony, you’ll be in and out in five minutes, but it’s defiantly worth a look as pass by.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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