Tajen Pura Hyang Api (Cockfighting of Hyang Api Temple)
Hyang Api temple in Kelusa village, Payangan, Gianyar is well known for its deity-protected cockfighting. Hyang Api’s cockfighting is the biggest deity-protected cockfighting event in Bali, involving thousands of gamblers, several arenas, and last for 42 days. This cockfighting starts on Kuningan Holiday (every 210 days based on pawukon cycle), for the first five days the cockfighting is held from dawn to noon after that it is held every 5 days during 42-day period following Kuningan. At least 100 pairs of fighting cock will be involved during the first 5 days.
[photopress:tajen_19.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_20.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_21.JPG,thumb,pp_image]
The cockfights in this temple are usually held in wantilan (public hall) and middle temple courtyard. Since this cockfighting involves thousands of gamblers many arenas are created in the middle temple courtyard besides the main arena inside the wantilan. Ordinary tajen always has one arena however big it is. Hyang Api’s cockfighting is considered as a super cockfighting in Bali.
[photopress:tajen_22.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_23.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_24.JPG,thumb,pp_image]
Hyang Api’s cockfighting is considered to be a ruwatan (clean up all the misfortunes) ceremony. The cockfighting is an obligatory ritual or otherwise the village people believe they will suffer various forms of physical and other misfortunes, affecting both humans and their livestock.
[photopress:tajen_25.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_26.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_27.JPG,thumb,pp_image]
No one would dare to cheat their opponent, and each fight is presided over by an impartial referee. Even if there is no referee, no one will dare to cheat, the gamblers believe that cheating in the temple complex is suicide since the temple’s deity watch all the games and punish the cheater with deadly misfortune. As these cockfights are connected with religious belief, the police and the authorities would face enormous hurdles if they were to attempt to prevent the cockfights.
[photopress:tajen_28.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_29.jpg,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_30.jpg,thumb,pp_image]
The local people believe that anyone who tries to stop the cockfights will experience bad luck, including falling victim to ill health or accidents. The police officers in their right mind will never try to stop this cockfighting since the punishment from the temple’s deity is deadly and unpredictable. They just focus on controlling the traffics outside the cockfighting arenas.
[photopress:tajen_16.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_17.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tajen_18.JPG,thumb,pp_image]
The unique characteristic of Hyang Api’s cockfighting is the equipment of the gamblers especially the temple congregations. Each of them bring a kisa (purse-like, portable baskets made of woven coconut leaves with carrying string that can be slung over the shoulder, or with handles that allow them to be carried like a shopping bag). This bag is usually used for carrying a cock to the cockfighting. In Hyang Api’s cockfighting the gamblers and the congregations bring the kisa whether they bring a cock or not. The kisa is considered as a symbol of their participation in this activity.