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The start of the road from south Bali is lined with outlets for stone sculptures – stone carving is the main craft of Batubulan (moonstone). Workshops are found right along the road to Tegaltamu, with another batch further north around Silakarang. Batubulan is the source of the stunning temple-gate guardians seen all over Bali. The stone used for these sculptures is a porous grey volcanic rock called paras, which resembles pumice; it’s soft and surprisingly light. It also ages quickly, so that ‘ancient’ work may be years rather than centuries old.
The temples around Batubulan are, naturally, noted for their fine stonework. Just 200m to the east of the busy main road, Pura Puseh Batubulan is worth a visit for its moat filled with lotus flowers and perfectly balanced overall composition. Statues draw on ancient Hindu and Buddhist iconography and Balinese mythology; however, they are not old – many are copied from books on archaeology. An attenuated Barong dance show about the iconic lion-dog creature is performed in an ugly hall; it’s a bus-tour-friendly one-hour-long show. Note that Pura Puseh means ‘central temple’ – you’ll find many around Bali. Some translations have ‘Puseh’ meaning ‘navel,’ which is apt.
Batubulan is also a centre for making ‘antiques’, textiles and woodwork, and has numerous craft shops.