Adventures in Bali: A Practice in Following the Heart

     Each day I spent in Bali was brimming with love, and overloaded with joyful, beautiful experiences. Everything was brand new to me and I just took it all in. From the back of Kadek’s motorbike, the wind swept strongly and brought with it the scent of the fresh plants, the burning fuel of the surrounding motorbikes, and the incense wafting from the temples and the daily offerings found all around Bali. The people create delicate trays out of folded bamboo leaves and place upon them rice, flowers, and sticks of incense for the spirits and Gods. It is a daily tradition for the people, and these offerings can be found everywhere. They are placed on the ground, on the steps of the temple, on a rock, or the side of a bridge. Each morning the owner of the homestay would place two freshly made offerings on the branches and the base of the tree outside my porch.
     Not only does each village have a temple dedicated to the Gods, each home has its own temple as well, placed in the North-east corner. Kadek told me that he constructed his home temple by hand along with his family. Devotion is integrated into daily life in Bali, from the offerings and the home temples, to the frequent village wide celebrations. Driving through the villages at any given time, one comes across people in traditional dress celebrating with the community. The women wear brightly colored sarongs with sashes, and delicate shirts of lace, carrying elaborate offerings of fruit, sweets, and flowers upon their heads. It looks like a difficult skill to balance objects on one’s head and walk amidst the clamor of the streets, but the Balinese do so effortlessly. The men don all-white sarongs, sashes, shirts, and headbands. Beautiful music, chanting, and the ringing of bells can be heard as the people celebrate with their village, expressing gratitude and devotion.
     There are many sacred areas of Bali where the people celebrate and I was fortunate to visit a few of them, including the two biggest mountains on the island, Mount Agung and Mount Batur. The day that we visited Mount Agung, the foggy skies shrouded the top of the mountain in thick clouds so we could not see the top. We went to see the temple there which is the second picture below. Mount Batur was also lovely. It is located near the village town of Kintamani. I got to see it at night, when the lake next to Mount Batur reflected the few lights of the villages and the stars sparkled brightly. The entire sky was illuminated by thousands and thousands of stars, and the Milky Way was clearly visible as a band of stars across the sky. We saw three shooting stars that night, all within seconds of each other. It was quite amazing, as looking at stars is literally peering into the past.
     
This is Bali, the island of a thousand temples.

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2 comments

  1. I even guess there’s a lot more than a thousand! Absolutely gorgeous! Thx to bring back the memories.


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