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  BANGLI, BALI - INDONESIA                                                                                               

BANGLI

Sept 23  -  We took advantage of another free excursion put on by SeaBali that focused on the Bagli Recency. Situated in the centre of Bali, Bangli Regency is the leading producer of horticultural goods such as oranges, coffee beans, beef and, of course, rice.

Again, we boarded one of the 4 half empty buses and made our way through the streets, police siren blaring, lights flashing.

As we headed out of the grounds surrounding the anchorage at Serangan Islands, we noticed someone's way of dealing with all the piles of rubbish that is strewn around everywhere. Feed it to the livestock!

We passed a multitude of homes along the road, each with its own ornamental pillared entranceway and elaborate three story roofed pagoda- like Hindu temple in every yard.

The bus sped  through many towns, including Ubud, the famous artisan community, with shops in each area categorized by products like wood carvings, gold and silver, bedspreads, garden ornaments, pottery and the like.

We stretched our legs at Tampak Siring Dan where a temple is built around a holy spring water sight. We wondered around enjoying the view.

Hawkers relentlessly tried to sell their wares at ridiculously low prices, the result of a desperate economy of no tourists.

 

 

Mount Batur

We toured through hilly bamboo tropical forests, arriving at Kintamani and a scenic view of Mount and Lake Batur, 1500 meters above sea level. Mount Batur last erupted in 1917 devastating the surrounding villages.

The crater is holy and a
sanctuary at the top is dedicated to the fertility goddess


Everywhere was heightened security and the presence of police and army guards

 

Onward to Penglipuran Village, 700 meters above sea level, where the entire village was waiting for our arrival. Penglipuran means holy place to remember ancestors. We were given a welcome drink and snacks.


The population of the village is less than 1000 people and I'm sure every one of them were there to meet and watch us.

During our visit we were entertained by a young  group of girls performing the Legong dance in beautiful costumes accompanied by a boy's gamelan orchestra playing a group of bronze percussion instruments, met allophones, gongs, cymbal and hand drums .

We were led to a grassy stadium where we were warmly greeted and shook hands with the dignitaries, then seated under a decorated canopy. We were entertained by Balinese Dancers then had a delicious buffet lunch, followed by local Bali coffee.

The Barong Dance

Then the highlight…the Barong Dance, a sacred and meaningful performance that is performed at big ceremonies and festivals. An elaborate costume, worn by two people, represents the good Barong spirit (which looks like a hairy tiger). The decoration is intricate and the face piece has moving parts. In the complete version of the dance, there are many acts that include other animals depicting good versus evil.


Handicraft Demonstrations

Afterward there were demonstrations of Cassowary egg carving, larger wood carvings, basket painting, and unusual local traditional Balinese food for us to sample. The prices for the crafts were very reasonable and many people made purchases.

Traditional Balinese food was set out for us to try...lots of unrecognized items. Unfortunately we were all too full from our big lunch to investigate the new Indo-flavors.

Of course, outside the stadium was the usual array of items for sale, including barong puppets & masks.
We followed our guide to Penglipuran Village, a preserved traditional village of  people relying on agriculture as their source of income. The friendly people had opened all of their homes to us and we were invited to see their yards, temples and gardens.
The village was immaculate and the gardens very well cared for. They rely on what they grow to sustain themselves but must also grow enough flowers for the daily offerings given to their god. All of the homes had similar compound gates with bamboo roofs and adjoining individual temples, some very complex in their decorations.

Similar to each dwelling was the layout of the homes, with the Bamboo Kitchen always separate from the rest of the house.

The kitchens were primitive and poorly lit and it is there that the elder of the house sleeps next to the fire in a basic board bed with straw mat.

Each home had its assortment of handicrafts
set out in case we were interested in making a purchase but there was no pressure. Many of the villagers were carrying out normal duties of their day to day life.
Here a woman grates coconut.


Amazing Craftsmen

At one temple, several men were carving the decorative scrolling in the cement BY HAND! It was incredible... no templates or sophisticated tools to form the wet cement into a masterpiece. A woman was mixing the cement, coloring it to the traditional brownish hue.


 



I was in constant amazement as to the care and workmanship involved in the home temples. And the expense that the families must put forward. The rooftop structures (left) cost 2-3,000,000 rupiah each! We reluctantly left the streets of this friendly village to board the bus bound for our next destination

Kehen Temple

Kehen Temple, the first temple built when Bangli, was founded in the 12th century. We were told that it is the oldest temple in Bali.

 

We were given sarongs to wear and ascended a long flight of stairs to the ornately engraved entrance.

The impressive ornamental décor, gold leaf filigree and the extraordinary shrines around the grounds were very impressive.

We couldn't help teasing Gord that we finally got him in a dress! He had eluded the attire in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji but the Hindu customs finally made him succumb!

The yachties all looked so colorful in their yellow sarongs.

Our guide explained many of the traditions of the Hindu faith as well as the history of the temple which houses three original bronze made ancient manuscripts.
Here's the gang descending the stairs of Kehen Temple. A great end to a perfect tour and another excellent experience compliments of SeaBali!

 

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