The Pura Sada (or Prasada) at Kapal is easily reached. The route is clearly marked by a signpost at a turnoff past the bend near the marketplace.
This Pura is an old dynastic sanctuary of the Mengwi Kingdom. The most important feature inside the sacred enclosure was a temple (prasada) dedicated to the king’s defied ancestors, constructed in a style similar to that of the Javanese candis. The original edifice was believed to date from the Majapahit period.
When Kapal detached himself from Mengwi, the poor village community had to care for the pura. The temple increasingly deteriorated, and the earthquake of 1917 nearly finished off the prasada When the Archeological Service resumed its work in Bali in 1949, the last remains of this building – a few fragments still standing- had already been removed by the villagers. An incident which had recently befallen the communiyy’s barong outfit had been interpreted as a punishment for the continuous neglect of the sacred building. This neglect had to be compensated for by yhe erection of an entirely new prasada, which was accomplished in 1949-50.
A beautiful brick “split gate” also showed large cracks and seemed doomed. Fortunately, it was possible for the Archeological Service to restore this candi bentar with the enthousiastic help of the local people. The prasada proper (now 16 meters high) and the other buildings in the pura -certainly a highly interesting compound- have been independently renewed by Kapal village under the guidance and after the design of one of the villagers, I Made Nama. He was assisted by members of an older generation who knew the building before the 1917 earthquake. The new prasada’s shape harmonizes with the gateway. Its body is solid; a small niche in the front serves as a temporary abode for the deity during temple feasts. This deity is Siva out of whom eight other gods have emanated: the guardians of the cardinal directions, whos images are affixed to the prasada. Wishnu and Brahma, with Siva constituting a trinity -the Tiga Sakti- are also portrayed on the eastern side. A lower series of images represents the Seven Seers, or Saptaresi. It must be stressed again that all these sculptures, as well as the Prasada itself, were made after about 1950. Although practically no part of the present Pura Sada, exept for the restored Candi Bentar, is really old, this pura nevertheless presents a remarkable example of the splendid work which can be achieved by “simple village people” under the guidance of an equally “simple” young carpenter who had never before built anything comparable in his life.
Apart from the pura’s general layout, only the Candi Bentar and a few sculptures are old. The Candi Bentar, for that matter, has been completely restored and partly reconstructed. A very fine detail in its decoration is the Kala head, both at the front and the back. Like the gate itself, the head is split in two.
Another split head is found on one of the buildings in the Pura Taman Ayun at Mengwi. The compound is essentially modern, but there is a brick construction at the back, the paibon (“offering place”), which plays a part in the ancestor cult, as do the three brick pasadas (about 4 meter high) opposite the building. The paibon’s basement is completely decorated; the design includes the “split head” previously referred to.
From:A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali.