Taman Ayun literally translates as "beautiful garden' and is generally regarded as one of the most attractive temples of Bali. Taman Ayun is situated in a beautiful park with trees and ponds, near the village of Mengwi in the south of Bali at about 8 km southwest of Ubud and 18 km northwest of Denpasar.
Pura Taman Ayun was built in 1634 by the Raja of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Putu. It is a socalled 'Pura Kawiten' or family temple, a special temple where the deified ancestors of the Raja Dynasty of Mengwi and important gods of other temples are honored.
The temple is boardered by broad canals and it can only be entered via a bridge leading to a richly ornamented 'candid bentar', the gate which gives access to the outer courtyard (jaba) of the temple.
From this candi bentar a straight, paved footpath leads through the well maintained park past a square pond with a fountain exactly in its center. This fountain has nine water jets, four of which are positioned according the cardinal points, another four according the sub-cardinal points and the ninth in the center, symbolizing the Dewa Nawa Sanga, the nine main gods of Balinese Hinduism.
The footpath leads on to a second candi bentar which gives access to the 'jaba tengah', the more elevated, second courtyard of the temple.
Inside the jaba tengah one finds the walled 'jaba jero', the third and most holy courtyard of the temple in which the most important shrines are located, among others a number of five, seven, nine and eleven tierd meru's. The jaba jero is only accessible during important religious ceremonies, such as the 'odalan' - the day on which the inauguration of the temple is commemorated.
The odalan of the Pura Taman Ayun takes place every 210 days on a day called Anggara Kasih, the Tuesday of the week Medangsia of the Balinese Pawukon calendar. The ceremonies of this odalan comprise a period of several days.
Due to the 210-day cycle of the Pawukon calendar, the odalan of Pura Taman Ayun takes place two times in 2008, starting at the following dates:
- 2008, February 12
- 2008, September 8