The Balinese people are deeply religious. There is a belief that the region is owned by God Sanghyang Widhi, also known as Achintya, the inconceivable or unimaginable. Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa is the divine order and Sang Hyang Tunggal is the divine oneness. Achintya is equivalent to the metaphysical concept of Brahman of Indian Hinduism. All Gods, Goddesses and existence are believed to be the manifestation of the Achintya in Balinese Hinduism. Hinduism in Bali was formerly known as Agama Hindu Dharma. Religion impacts every aspect of life of Balinese Hindus. The different types of Balinese temples are arranged according to the physical and spiritual realm of Balinese Hinduism –like Pura Tirta “water temples” for cleansing rituals, Segara “sea temples” that are located by the ocean to appease the sea Gods. There are also village and family temples in Bali. Every important event in human life is always followed by a particular ceremony, for example there are Balinese ceremonies for birth, puberty, maturity, marriage or death, then there are ceremonies on important holidays and many temples have spaces for many of these rituals. Samuan Tiga Temple is one such temple, which is famous for different types of rituals and designed ritual spaces.
Samuan Tiga Temple was built in the tenth century during King Chandrasangka Warmadewa’s reign. This temple was the Warmadewa dynasty’s royal temple. Balinese people believe Pura Samuan Tiga, another name for the temple, is a place to meet Gods, deities and saints word “samuan” means “meeting,” and “tiga” means “three.” The temple is located in the village of Bedulu, 25 km from Denpasar, five km from Ubud and just 400 m from the sanctuary of the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah). There are two rivers on two sides of the temple and many sacred trees like banyan, pule and curiga are around the temple.
The temple of Samuan Tiga consists of seven courtyards, divided by the walls and the gates, connected only by the stairs. There are many halls and conference rooms and meeting places of Gods, saints and bhaktas. These remind us of the Mandapas, sabha mandapas, nat mandapas and Bhog mandapas of Hindu temples. The innermost courtyard of the temple has numerous shrines, again reminding us of various small shrines in the temple complexes of Bharat. As a royal temple, the Samuan Tiga Temple also includes eight satellite temples around the temple: Pura Bukit, Pura Pasar Agung, Pura Melanting, Pura Dalem Puri and Pura Geduh, to the East; Pura Celanggu, to the South; Pura Batan Jeruk/Margibuung to the West, and Pura Santrian, to the North. Numerous rituals are carried out in the spaces of the temple. All these spaces seem to be designed for those
rituals. Architectural beauty of the temple is as unique as its ritual spaces.