Pura Luhur Batukaru: Exploring the outer courtyard
Heading inside the outer courtyard, I passed through a candi bentar (split gate). Balinese temples usually have either 2 or 3 courtyards (outer, middle, inner). The jaba (outer courtyard) is the realm of the people, where public dances will take place, the jaba tengah (middle courtyard), is a transition area between the realm of people and the realm of the Gods. Offerings are prepared here and sacred temple gear is stored here. The jeroan (inner courtyard) is the realm of the Gods is the focus of all ritual ceremonies.
All shrines are here including the padmasana in the far right corner. The padmasana is the raised throne where the supreme deity, Sanghyang Widi Wasa, sits, his back towards the most sacred mountain, Gunung Agung. The padmasana is supported on the back of a cosmic turtle, the bedawang, which carries the universe on its back.
All temple layouts are slightly different, due to the unique sites that each occupy. Puru Luhur Batukaru has a section off to the right towards a watergarden. I walked down from the outer courtyard to this, and along to the area where holy water is gathered. The watergarden was built in honor of Danau (lake) Tamblingan. In the middle of the pond is an island which is off-limits to everyone but the pemankus and pedanda’s (priests) of the temple. The inner compound and compound areas around the water springs are off limits, as sign in English indicate. I could still peer over the wall and see ceremonial equipment ready for use.