When you hear it for the first time, it might sound queer, for the two words are coming from two different beliefs. The Mekah is derived from the word “Mecca”, the Holy City for Muslims, while the temple is known as the place for the Hindu people do its worships their Gods.
According to the local legend, the use of the word “Mekah” for some temples in Bali are purposed to show the local people’s respect and tolerance toward the Muslims who had arrived and stayed in Bali from the 16th Century. These Muslims were believed coming from Java Island and went to Bali for the first time to do the trading by using the water line. They got through Bali by the Tebanding Harbor and there they finally stayed.
As those Muslims came to Bali, the local people had already had their own belief. However, they accepted these guests with the open arms and believed that their coming would bring more joyous and prosperous life for them by the trading business. Therefore, they finally built the special temples to show their gratitude for the Muslims who already stayed there. Then, they name the temples with Mekah Temple, addressing to the Holy city in Arab, Mecca, as the center of Muslims all over the world.
THE KIND OF TEMPLE
From many temples that you can find in Bali, there are some of them that built especially for Muslims, that they call Pura Dalem Mekah or Pura Ratu Mekah. These temples are built as their belief to preserve the spirits of the ancestors. The Muslims who had come to Bali adapted the life of the local people there, so that even when you visit the Muslims family in Bali, you would still find important building called Pura Dalem Mekah or Pura Ratu Mekah on their residence.
1. Pura Ratu Mekah and Pura Dalem Mekah in Ubung and Kukuh Village; These two places are believed to be the initial destination of the Muslims from Java who came to Bali to trade. The temples are located near the bus station of Ubung.
2. Pura Dadia in Singaraja; Another Pura Ratui Mekah is located in the middle of Singaraja city.
3. Pura Negara Gambur Anglayang; This temple is located in Kubutambahan village, Buleleng. It is easy to find because its location is in the field not far from the highway of Singaraja - Amalapura.
THE FUNCTION OF THE MEKAH TEMPLE
The temple has two separate functions:
1. Religiosity Function; In these temples the people hold their religious ceremony to worship the Gods. There are also special spaces for their gods, like Ida Bathara Ratu Gede and Ida Bhatara Ratu Hyang. They usually do the routine ceremony twice a year.
2. Social Function; Besides the religious function, the temple has its social function too. It is believed that the temple is the center of the social activity of the people involved. It is the place to enhance the family bond among the worshipers.