Prof Nyoman Darma Putra – ‘Puja Mandala’ seminar 14 Oct 2015

Puja Mandala: An invented icon of Bali’s religious tolerance?

Near the tourist resort of Nusa Dua in Bali sits a cluster of houses of worship representing five out of six religions (agama) officially recognized by the Indonesian state. The site, called Puja Mandala, The Domain of Worship, is home to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, Catholic Church, Protestant Church, and Islamic mosque. The prayer house for Khonghucu is not there since this religion was not yet recognized by then. The plan to build this complex was initiated by the national government in the early 1990s, following the construction of upper class tourists resort Nusa Dua. Puja Mandala was intended to provide visitors worship facilities and symbolically express tolerance and harmony between the members of different agama to embody the national slogan, “unity in diversity.” This chapter investigates the mixed responses to Puja Mandala from the different religious communities and interpret its significant as an invented icon of religious tolerance.

I Nyoman Darma Putra teaches Indonesian literature in the Faculty of Arts and Culture at Udayana University in Bali. He obtained his master degree from the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at University of Sydney (1994) and his PhD from School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Queensland (2003). Prof Darma is a guest of the Indonesia Initiative at the University of Melbourne.

The Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative is a three year visiting scholar program which aims to further enhance teaching and research relationships with colleagues in Indonesia. The initiative, led by Dr Kate McGregor, Dr Edwin Jurriens and Professor Thomas Reuter will fund three visiting scholars per year for three years from Indonesian universities and will provide opportunities for increased engagement.