According to Bon Jovi, Tommy and Gina might have been down on their luck but Balinese Putu and Made are giving them a run for their money. Fortunately here in Bali, Putu and Made are Hindu. And with Hinduism everything's gonna work itself out.
After yet another rainforest/rice field hike riddled with unintuitive paths and a better-safe-than-sorry retreat, I'm proudly two for two on remote hikes going awry! I figured it was time to venture into gentler territory: the temples. With 90% of Bali's population identifying as Hindu, Hinduism's prevalence is everywhere. Which makes sense. It dictates how one should behave and is woven into principles of everyday life. There is just so much to try to understand about this very foreign religion to me. Thankfully my driver BJ and any other Hindu locals I've spent time with believe in Karma, so they are exceedingly patient with my questions.
And I have learned a ton in the short week that I've been here. Like Hindus believe that all life is sacred; to be loved and revered. From animals to trees to those little clear, non-threatening jellyfish that stung like pin pricks when I was snorkeling the other day. So happy to revere those suckers. Or that there is a Hindu ceremony and temple for just about everything. Traditional temple wear is common on the streets as I'm guessing at some point in the day they've got a ceremony to attend. Or prayers and offerings to the gods and spirits should be given each day (often multiple times a day) for thanks, protection, and good fortune. Walk past every home, every shop, even every cage at the zoo and you'll find a small offering of rice, fruit, faintly burning incense and a plumeria or two wrapped in a banana leaf. Even my villa caretakers have one sitting outside my front door every morning. Or that according to the Balinese calendar, you have a birthday every 6 months. The Hindu goal is always the pursuit of harmony. Everything has a correct place to help achieve balance. I mean the Circle K's temple needs to be placed in the proper spot on the property for good business karma. To this last point, temples, the meeting and resting places for the gods during their stay on the island, are significant.
Bali is known as "the island of the thousand temples". Truth be told there are probably hundreds of thousands of temples. Bali has more temples than houses. And of the four kinds of temples (family, territory, professional, and public), the public ones are luckily pretty spectacular. Want to walk on temple grounds? Wrap on that sarong- typically imperative for both men and women to cover up. Ladies, is it that time of the month? Then no can do on the temple visit this time. Come back when you're less dirty and impure.
So don't mess around when it comes to Balinese worship. You just may need a prayer and some good karma for that throwback big hair of yours that had a life of its own!
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan- A peaceful lakeside temple in the mountains
The royal public temple of Pura Taman Ayun meaning "beautiful garden temple"
Split front gate entrance to Taman Ayun
Village temple overlooking the rice fields in Pacung
Pura Goa Lawah- A temple centered around a cave inhabited by thousands of bats
The bat cave! Look closely. That dark area on the front of the rocks are bats
all huddled and squealing on top of each other!
The temple on the cliffs at Uluwatu
The offering outside my front door everyday.
A typical daily offering seen on the ground outside a shop
Pura Tanah Lot, or "land in the sea" temple, was the one I most wanted to see.
It did not disappoint.