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Home » Religion

Protecting House Compound: Guardian Spirit Shrine  

by on Thursday, 19 April 2007One Comment | 6,273 views

For Balinese, protecting house compound is great task that cannot be handled effectively by walls and gate only, especially when dealing with mystical disturbances. For Balinese mystical disturbance is as real as the physical one and some Balinese put more emphasis on the mystical disturbance when dealing with protecting house compound issue since it cannot be perceived with mortal eyes and proven to be harder to deal with than a mere physical disturbance.

Balinese believe that a mystical disturbance should be handled by a mystical guardian since ordinary human has no adequate power to penetrate into the mystical realm even though someone has enough mystical power he simply cannot stay alert 24/7 in order to guard his house compound from mystical.

A typical Balinese house compound usually has two shrines for its two spirits that act as mystical guardians; each has its respective shrine. The shrines are located within the house compound. The first shrine is called Sanggah Pengijeng Karang or shrine of house compound guardian – the word “sanggah” means “shrine”, the word “pengijeng” means the one who stay at home (derived from the word “ijeng” means “to guard” or “to stay at home” and the word “karang” means “house compound”. The sanggah pengijeng karang is a roofed shrine with one compartment. It is located more or less in the middle of the house compound, not in the family temple. It is the home of the spirit of which acts as a guardian or caretaker of the property.

Sanggah Pengijeng Karang shrine

As any other thing in Balinese, there is no uniformity in the name and function of this shrine. Some Balinese say it is dedicated to Bhatara Surya, the sun. Others claim it has a connection with the kanda pat – the four spiritual siblings of every Balinese. This shrine is sometimes described as being for the family. The word “family” here can be either the physical family that lives within the walls of house compound or for the kanda pat – mystical family that lives in the mystical realm.


The second shrine is called Penunggun Karang or Tugun Karang or Tugu Karang, translated literally into “shrine for house compound”. The shrine usually a roofless shrine but in some area it is roofed with one compartment, situated in the northwest corner of the house. The spirit in this shrine acts as a guardian that watches not only the property but also the inhabitants of the house compound – humans and animals. This shrine is dedicated to Kala Raksa, or Bhatara Kala – the god of the evil spirits. Balinese believe that when they employ the god of the evil spirit as a guardian, logically, no evil spirit will dare to disturb the house compound and its inhabitants.

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