Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
, located by the western banks of Lake Bratan
in the Bedugul Highlands
at a level of 1239m, is one of the most picturesque and most photographed temples in Bali. Danu Bratan is inside the caldera of the now extinct volcano Gunung Catur. It is one of the main sources of irrigation in the Balinese highlands, and so the temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the lake goddess. Pilgrims come to pay homage, and to ensure bountiful harvests.
According to the ancient manuscript of the Mengwi Kingdom, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan was built in 1633 by I Gusti Agung Putu, the King of Mengwi, the same person who later built Pura Taman Ayun
. Inside the main gate, you come upon a large stupa with carvings, then the main temple Pura Teratai Bang. Then there's a smaller temple, Pura Dalem Purwa, dedicated to the goddess of food and drinks. On the shore of the lake are two multi-tiered merus. The bigger, 11-tier menu, is the abode of the god of Gunung Mangu. Gunung Mangu is said to be the abode of Wisnu, hence the meru is dedicated to Wisnu.
The other shrine is that of Lingga Petak. It is smaller and further away in the lake. This shrine, with a three-tier meru, is dedicated to Shiva. It is reachable only by canoe. When the shrine was renovated in 1968, three long round stones were discovered at the foundation, coloured red, white and black. The white stone was believed to be a "lingga", a phallic symbol of Shiva, and associated with the worship of fertility.
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