Bali Governor, Made Mangku Pastika, has agreed that there should be a ban on tourists entering sacred areas in Balinese temples. “I agree that they should not be allowed to enter the temple, especially the temple’s main area,” Pastika said to reporters in between the House of Representative’s Plenary Sessions in Denpasar, on Wednesday (26/7).
As reported by Bisnis.com, Pastika elaborated that tourists may visit the temple but only as far as the front area or they can go inside but not enter the main part of the temple. Yet he acknowledged the fact that it was the Balinese themselves who invited the tourists to come in.
“They would give the tourist a shawl, bring them in, collect payment, and that’s actually not allowed,” said the former Bali Police chief. But he also noticed that some temples have no guards nor no-entry signs so that people can just come in freely. “And they even sit in the sacred area. That is because no one is guarding it, and we have a lot of temples,” Pastika added.
Ida Bagus Padakusuma, a member of the House’s Commission III, added that there ought to be a restriction in relation to places of worship. “We need the restrictions, but these restrictions should be based on particular areas in tourist destinations, for examples banning people going into the main area of the temple,” he said, adding that part of the literature of Hindu teachings emphasizes the need to be respectful when inside the temple’s vicinity. “We need to teach people that, and if we let them in then it might lead to them desecrating the place.”
The plan is to formulate a new local regulation that will detail sanctions for those who violate the rules of the temple. Nevertheless, Wayan Tagel Arjana, member of Commission I, said that the regulation will not bar tourists from looking or taking pictures, and only be pertinent to areas that are considered sacred.