Ligaya in Indonesia
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple
|The temple on the lake at Bedugul is one of the most photogenic places on Bali. Indeed, it is often seen on advertisements for Bali. It even features on the back of the 50,000 rupiah banknote.|
It seems that just about every temple on Bali, and there are many of them, have to same form of entrance pillars. They are very ornate on the front and back, and on the outer edges, but the inside edges are always completely smooth. When I first saw them I thought that the entrance had been cut wider to make space for the road, but they are all like that.
Here, Rosie, Dessy and I are posing like tourists at the main gate. Dessy, who is from Borneo managed to talk her way in as our official guide, with her husband as our driver, so they managed to avoid paying. It was a real treat to be taken around by local people who are very knowledgeable about the island.
Despite the bustle of many tourists, inside the gates there is a feeling of tranquility. The gardens are beautifully maintained, and different sections are set aside for various religious ceremonies.
The temple was built in 1663, by the King of Mengwi. He dedicated it to Dewi Danu, the goddess of water. Probably it is a good idea for us to keep the right side of her too, and then maybe she will look after us on the boat.
Water is of paramount importance to the rice farmers, so many ceremonies are held here, to ensure a good rice harvest.
It is interesting to me that this is one of the very few places in the world, where three religions seem to coexist happily side by side, without any overt aggression or bad words.
The main temple, the one on the little islands that features on the money, is Hindu. However, there is a prominent Buddhist shrine and even a small mosque in the grounds. One thing that they all obviously agree on is that the water Goddess is important.
Different sections of the area are set aside for the various ceremonies. In the holier areas visitors are not allowed, but we could watch through the gates.
Here, the priest was sat in the little kiosk with the various offerings. He was continuously ringing what sounded like a bicycle bell, while the four guys behind him did the praying.
This whole Hindu thing of the offerings is strange. Every morning people put out "offerings", usually in small woven baskets made specially for the job. The offerings may be placed outside their houses or shops, at the foot of a statue or at the temple gates, or here in the port, at the end of the dock. There is always food of some sort offered. We have seen everything offered from chewing gum to a full-blown dinner plate of food.
Once the offer has been made, they do not seem to care what happens to the food. Birds and ants seem to get first pickings, closely followed by dogs and, in the case of the offerings on the end of our dock, rats. Every evening the rats swarm out for their free meal. It has been estimated that about 5 tons of rice is used every week in Bali, just for the offerings, which are then eaten by the rats.
|Although they take their religion very seriously, the kids are not in awe of any of it. This young fellow was quite happily fishing in the shadow of arguably the holiest place on the island.|
|The temple buildings on the little islands are off limits to the tourists. When a special ceremony is planned, bamboo bridges are built out to the islands, so the priests can cross to perform their duties.|
|This is part of the Buddhist shrine. The statues in the niches are all swathed in the traditional Buddhist robes. Opposite the shrine was a small mosque, and this is just around the corner from the main Hindu temple.|
Scattered around the gardens are statues, that represent "Bad Spirits". It seems that they are meant to serve as a warning to people who misbehave.
I had assumed that these were ancient statues, so was a little surprised to see one being made. The guys made a steel armature and then were in the process of plastering it with a cement mixture. I had not imagined that the statues were hollow.
|The gardens were worth a visit in their own right. Here is an orchid that was blooming beside the path. The land here is so fertile, it appears anything will grow. In one village we saw a wooden fence that had been built, and all the posts were sprouting new leaves.|
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