Friday, 11 January 2013

Bali Trip 2011 - Part 1

Maps and emblems were taken from Google. The rest were taken by us during our vacation.


Both me and Vasuge went for our honeymoon in Bali. This was in December 2011. Before I proceed further with the post, I would like to thank my maternal uncle and his wife, Mr & Mrs Seliyan Kandapillai. They sponsored the Bali vacation as our wedding gift.

I am surrounded by many good people. Will write about them in the future.

Introduction to Indonesia and Bali
Bali is one of the 34 provinces located in Indonesia, the largest nation in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is an archipelago that is made of 17,508 islands and covers an area of 1,904,569 sq km. It has a population of almost 238 million which consist of approx 300 native ethnics.  The majority are Javanese as they are 40% of the entire population. The rest being Bugis, Banjar, Minangkabau, Malay, Sundanese, Madurese, Batak etc


Map of Indonesia

Indonesia is also the most populous Muslim country in the planet. 87% of Indonesians adhere to Islam, mainly of the Sunni sect. However, Indonesia was once a nation of Hindu and Buddhist majority. Bali is actually the last remaining Indonesian province with a Hindu majority. When Islam swept across Indonesia like a wave, many Hindus escaped to Bali to preserve the old religion of the nation.

The Bali province is made of a few neighboring islands and the isle of Bali, which happened to be the main island itself. I think it will be good to display the map for you. You will understand better as I narrate further.


Map Of Bali

Balinese Hinduism is quite an ancient one. The Hinduism you see in India was reformed by Adi Sankara (788-820 AD). But Adi Sankara did not travel to Indonesia. Which means, the form of Hinduism practiced before the time of Adi Sankara is still being preserved in Bali.

Bali also has its own caste system. Caste is actually divided into two main divisions. Jati (clan) and Varna (social class). Most Hindus in Malaysia still associate themselves with the clans they were born into. It is mainly for kinship purpose.

I am not aware of the Jatis in Bali but the Varnas still exist. The Varnas in Hinduism are Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Please Google to know more about Hindu Varnas.

Among the sects of Hinduism in Bali are Siva Siddhanta, Pasupata, Bhairava, Vaisnava, Bodha (Soghata), Brahmana, Rsi (Rishi), Sora (Surya) and Ganapatya. Based on this and my own experience, I can say that Balinese are mainly Saivites. The main festival is a Siva festival known as Eka Dasa Rudra. It is celebrated on a very large scale once every 100 years. Other deities are worshiped too.

Arrival at Bali
The flight from LCCT to Denpasar International Airport a.k.a Ngurah Rai International Airport was around 3 hours. We were greeted by our tour guide Wayan and another couple from Sarawak, Mr & Mrs Ismail joined us. 
Birds eye view of Bali

At Denpasar airport
Wayan is a very common name in Bali. The eldest child of the family is usually named Wayan. I can't remember the name of his assistant, our driver. I think it was Kadi.

The Sarawakian couple were Christian Catholics. Wayan was surprised as he assumed them to be Muslims. He was just checking to see if food was an issue for them as most Balinese restaurants are non-halal.

We checked in at Best Western Hotel in Kuta. Kuta is a busy town located 10.5 km south west of Denpasar, the capital. The road to the hotel was narrow but I was amazed when I realized how decent the drivers were. Even when a car breaks down, the others patiently wait till the road clears. They seldom honk in frustration unlike us Malaysians.

First impression, very good!

Uluwatu
Bali has a number of seaside temples. These temples were built by the 16th century monk called Nirartha. Nirartha founded the Saivite priesthood in Bali. He was originally from Java island. There is a legend that he traveled to Bali on top of a pumpkin. This is why the Balinese Brahmins do not eat pumpkins! You can Google more about Nirartha. Seems to be an interesting person.

Signboard at the entrance

There are 9 directional temples in Bali. Its purpose? To protect Bali from evil spirits. The Pura Luhur Uluwatu is on the western end of the Bukit peninsula. This was our first destination after we checked in at the hotel.

We did not go to most of the directional temples. Therefore, I will write about those we visited. Anyway, here are the full list of the 9 directional temples of Bali:

Pura Luhur Uluwatu on the western end of the Bukit peninsula
Pura Masceti on the south coast close to Ketewel
Pura Pasar Agung on southern the slopes of Gunung Agung in East Bali
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Bedugal in the Central highlands
Pura Ulun Danu Batur at Kintamani in the eastern highlands
Pura Besakih on the western slopes of Gunung Agung in East Bali
Pura Goa Lawah on the main road near Padangbai in East Bali
Pura Lempuyang on the slopes of Gunung Lempuyang near Amlapura in East Bali
Pura Luhur Batukaru on the southern slopes of Gunung Batukaru in Central Bal

Uluwatu
Uluwatu

Temple entrance

Wayan and me having a chat

Beautiful view

Rock caused by movements of tectonic plates

Main temple
Main temple
Guardian of the temple
Vasuge at one of the gateways

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (GWK)
We then traveled to Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) from Uluwatu.

GWK
Garuda is the vahana (vehicle) of the Hindu deity Vishnu. It is a giant eagle. The Garuda is also the national emblem of both Thailand and Indonesia. In Thailand, it is called Phra Khrut Phah and in Indonesia as Garuda Pancasila.

National Emblem of Thailand

National Emblem of Indonesia



GWK is situated in the southern end of Bali island. It is about 15 minutes from the airport and 240 hectares (2.4 sq km) big. This is where we saw the Kecak dance.

The gigantic statue of Vishnu you see in this picture is actualy part of a larger statue which GWK is planning to build.

This is the prototype of the complete statue which is to be 150m tall with a wingspan of 64m wide.

The statue behind me is about 20m tall.

A shrine in GWK

The head of Garuda


The story of Garuda and Amrita (nectar of immortality)




The Kecak dance is a form of Balinese dance. We watched the version which depicts Garuda and his master, Vishnu..

Kecak is very vibrant. According to Wayan, the origin of the word Kecak is from the sound produced when people dance in the muddy paddy field 'chak...chak...chak'.


Kecak performance


The Gamelan musicians

Vishnu on Garuda

Vasuge with the dancing girls who potrayed the celestial damsels, Apsaras
We had our lunch in GWK. It was our first taste of Balinese cuisine. Food was okay. It is similar to local Malaysian Malay food.
Our first Balinese dish
Click to read Part 2
http://sharmalanthevar.blogspot.com/2013/01/bali-trip-2011-part-2.html








- Comments

3 comments:

  1. Bali is truly exotic bro...iam amazed by your detail in writing the 9 directional temples in Bali...This is a wonderful article..keep up the goodwork bro...can't wait for the second part :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bali was beautiful. We took so many photos on our trip. When I look back at them after a year, it brings back all the good memories :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for this great exhibition

    ReplyDelete