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Besakih  

D. J. Stuart-Fox

Balinese Hindu temple (pura) complex. It is situated on the south-western flank of the volcano Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest mountain, in the north-east of the island. Associated probably since prehistoric times with the Lord of the Mountain, now identified with the Hindu god Shiva, it has been a dynastic temple of several royal families since at least the 15th century. The complex consists of 22 temples, spread along three parallel ridges over a distance of more than a kilometre. The complex was not planned as an entity but seems to have been constructed piecemeal, and the overall structure that links the temples is more ritual and symbolic than physical. The annual cycle of more than 70 rituals culminates in the enormous centennial Ekadasa Rudra ceremony.

The symbolic and ritual centre of the complex is Pura Penataran Agung, the largest temple, which over the centuries has undergone numerous changes. Its 57 separate structures are arranged on six terraces. Originating probably in a simple prehistoric sanctuary, it has a terraced form suggesting a series of successive enlargements. The earliest structures were probably simple shrines and stone seats, represented now in developed form by the two uppermost shrines dedicated to the Lord of the Mountain. On current evidence, the pagoda-like shrines (...

Article

Heather Elgood

Two groups of Hindu temples of the 10th–15th centuries ad on the edge of a small lake near Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. The complex is enclosed by undecorated walls similar to those at Baroli. The main temple at Eklingji is dedicated to Shiva and houses a linga regarded as the guardian deity of the Sisodia Maharanas of Mewar. However, the earliest temple in the complex is the Lakulisha Temple (971–2), a simple building consisting of a sanctuary (vimāna), a hall (maṇḍapa) and a porch. One wall niche contains an image of the goddess Sarasvati (see Indian subcontinent §V 7., (iii), (a)), and inside the sanctum is a seated sculpture of Lakulisha, founder of the Pashupata sect; the doorway has a similar image on the lintel. Although the hall is square, its supporting columns form an octagonal space. Niches on its outer walls contain relief sculptures of a variety of goddesses. The main Eklingji temple dates from the 15th century. The principal sanctuary and the two-storey hall are constructed of marble, and there is a curved tower over the sanctuary. Inside the sanctum is a highly decorated silver doorway and screen preceding the central image, a black marble four-faced Shiva ...