Serangan, a small island lies just off Bali southern coast near Sanur, connected to the main island with a dusty bridge-road. Serangan has an area of only 180 acres and a population abut 6000, and famously known principally for its important Sakenan Temple.
Serangan is a dry island, too dry for wet farming but its residents grow corn, maize, peanuts and beans. Some islanders earn living by making shell trinkets to sell to the tourist, working in the fishing company and civil servants.
Serangan was formerly known as Turtle island due to the abundance of turtles swimming picturesquely under ocean cliffs but in the 1980s Serangan acquired the infamous nickname “killing field”, due to the enormous amount of turtle captured and wholesaled by the Serangan residents. People in Denpasar area were very fond of turtle meat especially on the holyday and serangan residents were more than happy to fulfill this great demand. But in the 1990s, the turtle trading was banned by the government to save the turtle from the extinction. Killing turtle for consumption purpose is illegal since that time. In addition, the use of turtle meat in religious ceremony is restricted to the massive sacred ceremony. There is also a turtle conservation center build and operated in this island and slowly but sure Serangan now works hard to regain its former title as the “Turtle Island”.
The best day to visit Serangan is on the holy day Manis Kuningan in the 210-day Balinese calendar. On this day, the famous Sakenan Temple celebrates the anniversary of its founding by Mpu Kuturan, which according to the prasasti Belanjong inscription occurred during the 10th century. The Sakenan temple complex consists of two courtyard, situated on the north coast of the island just west of Dukuh. Inside the first temple there is only a single shrine, in the form of tugu or obelisk. This is the seat of Cri Sedana, the God of fortune and welfare. In the second and larger part of this temple there are typical Balinese-style shrines for the prasanak, relatives of the god Cri Sedana who come to visit the temple in anniversary day.
The festival lasts for two days, beginning on the last day of Kuningan, Sunday, and ending on the first day of Langkir, Monday. Thousands of Balinese will come from all villages in south Bali to pay homage to the deities in Sakenan temple. On the arrival, worshippers pray at the shrines of Cri Sedana to ask for a prosperous year. Dozen of Barongs, Rangdas and deities from Sanur, Pedungan and others neighboring areas pay a visit to this temple and spent a night there. The temple anniversary in Sakenan is always a great festival.
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