Catur Lokapala Temple: The Heart of Pura Besakih

Seeing what is Unseen from the Catur Lokapala Temple. Talking about Catur Lokapala is inevitably talking about Pura Besakih as well. Pura Besakih is one of the most important religious buildings for Hindu people in Bali. In addition, it is a must-visit tourism spots in Bali. The greatest temple that has become the main icon of Island of Gods, is definitely a tourism spot that you miss it with great regret. Some people even said that you haven’t visited Bali when you don’t visit Pura Besakih.

And in the center of Pura Besakih, you can find what Balinese call Catur Lokapala Temple as the most important temple for their religious activities. The temple is ultimately meant to preserve the personal serenity and tranquility of the people so that in the end they can express it in their social life. Pura Besakih is the center of religious ceremony for the Hindu people in Bali. This Great Temple is spiritually believed as the main source of holiness and tranquility for the Hindu people.

A lot of religious ceremonies and rituals are hold in the temple in order to keep the pureness of the temples inside and its surroundings. Those activities are the manifestation of the Satyam-Siwam-Sundaram thoughts. The primary building in Besakih is called Palinggih Padma Tiga. It is located at Pura Penataran Agung Besakih.

The building has three main building in the shape of padmasana stand in one altar.  The holy building is meant to worship the main three Gods called Tri Purusa, Siwa, Sada Siwa, and Parama Siwa (The One and Only).




The word Padma was taken from the old Javanese language which means Lotus. Lotus is believed as the queen of the flower for it can live in three habitats, land, water, and air. The flower symbolizes the Gods that they call Triloka Stana Gods. Another expert said that padmasana may also means a throne. Coming from two words: padma means lotus (which symbolizes high position), and asana means a seat.

When both words combined it is acknowledged to mean as a high throne for a holy king. Padmasana itself is a sacred building meant for the hut of their god, Ida Sanghyang Widhi as the symbol of The Great Universe.




Based on the story of Balinese wayang, a traditional puppet show, Catur Lokapla is the concept of protector and keeper of four worlds that is ruled by the four prominent Gods. The temple belongs to the main Mandala, which means that the Catur Lokapala is in the most sacred zone of the temple.

The Catur Lokapala temple is four main temples which surround the Padma Tiga follows the four main directions as below:

1. East; Pura Gelap, is used for the castle of Ida Bhatra Iswara.

2. West;  Pura Ulun Kulkul, is used for the castle of Ida Bhatara Mahadewa.

3. North;  Pura Batu Madeg, is used for the castle of Ida Bhatara Wisnu.

4. South; Pura Kiduling Kreteg, is used for the castle of Ida Bhatara Brahma

The four temples symbolize the petals of a flower that surround the Padma Tiga in Pura Besakih.




Those four temples in Catur Lokapala temple are also called Sad Kahyangan. Sad means primary, while kahyangan has similar meaning to heaven. So Sad Kahyangan then defines as the primary sacred place. Those temples are regarded as a unity, it cannot be separated as it is a padma (lotus) with its petals together, that symbolizes the throne of their Highest God, that they call Sanghyang Widhi Wasa.


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