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On Crossroad  

by on Thursday, 3 May 2007No Comment | 2,326 views

Crossroad is one of many revered and feared spot in Bali. offering are given to the spirits who dwell on that crossroad sometimes a statue is erected as a symbolization to honor the spirit in that place and as a guardian to ensure the safety of passing people.

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The main crossroad in any Balinese village becomes the center of the village, the central point for community activities and ceremonial events. Palace, market and village temple are build around the crossroad since the intersection is an open space where the four cardinals points meet so it is easy to be reached from all parts of the village.

Tawur Kesanga
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Many rituals and ceremony are performed in this point, for example the most important annual sacrifice ceremony (Tawur Agung) is held before the New Year celebration (Nyepi) in the main crossroad of every village. In this ceremony, evil spirits, bhuta kala, and all the personification of negative forces are summoned to assemble on the main crossroad and given a special offering to ensure that they will not disturb the Balinese for the next year to come.

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So what is regarded as a main intersection of Bali island. Bali’s main intersection is located in the capital town of Bali, Denpasar. It is situated on the meeting point of Gajah Mada street from west, Surapati street from the east, Veteran street from the north and Udayana street from the south. The gigantic Caturmuka (four-faced statue) is erected right in the center of this main crossroad.

This main intersection naturally has cultural and historical significances based on beliefs and traditional Balinese culture. On the northeast corner of this intersection where now the official residence of governor of Bali, previously stood the Royal Palace of Denpasar, the grass field in front of the governor’s residence, now known as Puputan Square, was the place where the King of Denpasar met his people. Around this very spot on September 20, 1906, the population of Denpasar and their nobility marched to a fight-till-death war (puputan) with Dutch army (hence the name of the square).

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The Caturmuka statue also plays important role in the significance of this intersection. This statue symbolizes the union of four gods of four cardinal points. The face of God Iswara, the god of wisdom who ends all suffering faces the east; the face of God Brahma, the creator faces the south; the face of god Mahadewa known as the love giver faces west and the face of Wisnu, the presever and remover of poverty faces north. The four hands of this four-faced god hold respectively, a string of beads representing that knowledge has no end; a whip symbolizing government, a wheel for the law and a lamp signifying the source of wisdom and knowledge.

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This four-faced statue is symbolizing a perfect way of controlling the world so that the people of the world can achieve prosperity and peace. From this central point of the intersection all four cardinal directions can be observed at once for the purpose of guiding, organizing and safeguarding humankind and all creation.

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