Pura Batu Medahu (Muller, 1989/2013)

Australian Anthropologist Carole Muller researched various aspects of Nusa Penida in 1989, and reported on her findings in a publication entitled 'Nusa Penida, an adventure in 1990', published 2013. Muller discusses aspects of history and banishment to the island, the fate of the blacksmiths (Pande Wesi), the Bali Aga on Nusa Penida, and reports on her trip to Lembongan and various villages on 'Nusa Gede', and gives a description of the main temples, of which Pura Dalem Ped is the most important one. For her contribution on Nusa Penida textiles & Pura Dalem Ped, see elsewhere on this site. Below article is dedicated especially to Pura Batu Medahu and contains selected text from her book, which includes a great number of historical black & white photographs (not published here). Carole Muller's book can be purchased from: http://www.blurb.com/b/4538449-nusa-penida

Pura Batu Medahu

muller-2013-coverNext day we drove back to Sewana in the minibus, as I had planned to visit the temple on the coast near Sewana (Pura Batu Medahu). It was considered by village priests and inhabitants to be the second most important temple on the island. It was believed to be the 'female', the consort of the 'male' temple (Pura Dalem) on the north coast at Ped. It was also said that every village on the island was affiliated with these temples. (Giambelli, 1990: personal communication).

The 'female' temple of Batu Medahu had four courts, one containing a twelve-post assembly pavilion. The main court had a man-made square moated island with a shrine in the centre, also considered to be the ritual bathing place of the heavenly nymphs (dedari). In 1990, a flight of cement steps connected the island shrine to the surrounding land, replacing the 1930s narrow bamboo bridge (titi) previously described.

In the temple there were also two very interesting and unusual sculptures of elongated stone seated figures; unfortunately one was vandalized and headless. Could they have been deified ancestors of the original inhabitants? Also a very unusual eleven-tiered pagoda with corrugated iron roofs was built above a storeroom with a padlocked door. There was no village priest in the temple to answer our questions about these unique sculptures and pagoda. They have subsequently been confirmed as being part of the temple complex (Hauser-Schäublin, 2012: personal communication).

It was now late in the afternoon and as we were driving along the mini bus broke down near Sewana where a friendly family gathered to watch my driver Nazir fix the vehicle. They offered me a room to stay overnight, as it was already 8:30 pm. We were very tired, so decided to drive back to Toya Pakeh that evening. The next day I had planned a very early start to go to the big festival (usaba) in the temple of Ped.


  • Muller, Carole - Nusa Penida, an adventure in 1990; Walsh Bay Press Sydney, August 2013

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