Updated: May 23, 2020
Hope you all have read the previous blog where I talk about my recent trip to Malaysia. As promised, here I am with a blog that describes the second leg of my tour wherein I covered one of the most touristy spots in Southeast Asia.
Contrary to the popular belief that Bali is one of the most beautiful places you could go to get a relaxing vacation along with the perfect city vibes that it radiates, Bali also has a lot to offer culturally. In spite of being a part of a predominantly Muslim country, locals in Bali are known to practice Hinduism thus being called Balinese Hindus. Their faith in the religion arises from a great sense of devotion towards Ramayan wherein they are not only known to worship Lord Ram but also shower respect to Raavan for the mighty king of Lanka that he was. Architecturally speaking, Bali is a land of umpteen temples which have amazing carvings that depict their history as well as their art. Lastly, Bali is known to exist on the most beautiful piece of land on the globe that showers us with breathtaking views of mountains and hills teamed with scenic beaches along with a few peek-a-boo incidents of the volcanoes situated in this geography.
To begin with, we started our day by traveling from the international airport in Kuta to Ubud. We were welcomed with warm weather in December which is known to be the Summer season with the expected onset of Monsoons. While we drove to Ubud, we came across a group of locals that sat on the road wearing their traditional dresses and offering their prayers. When asked what this was about, our driver mentioned that these locals were offering prayers to mother nature which is a huge part of their traditional rituals. These prayers are offered with respect towards nature but also as to pray for the well being of the planet and its species. Our first day at Bali was meant for leisure at a poolside resort that was surrounded by rice fields.
We began our Bali tour with our first stop at Tanah Lot which means “Land in the sea”. The temple is situated in the sea and is carved out of rocks. This temple is known to be of utmost importance to the Balinese Hindus as it has been a part of their traditions for centuries now.
The view was breathtaking. The sun shone brightly overhead amidst the clear sky that reflected its color through the crystal clear water. The waves lashing at the rocks adjoining the temple is a sight to see.
The next stop was the Sacred Monkey Forest. The monkey forest serves the motive of preservation in the busy city. The forest has been present for years now and has taught the people to live in peace and harmony. We happened to meet a couple who had been there for a prewedding shoot dressed in their traditional attires and a trio who had been there for a photo shoot while on their way to a show
Next on the list was the Ubud Royal Palace. The Royal Palace of Ubud was the official residence of the royal family. It is said that Rsi Markaneya was told to bury five precious metals on a mountain slope. With aided help from a group of his followers, he managed to find a location that according to him radiated light and energy. This place was a river junction in Campuhan where he was obliged to build a temple which was later known as Pura Gunung Lebah.
The Palace is beautifully adorned with carvings over the walls and their entrance teamed up with structures that resemble “Asur”
The last place to visit for the day was the Ubud Art Market. This place is one of the most famous shopping places in Bali known for its extensive collection of Batik goods and handcrafted bags and purses.
Day 2 of our stay in Ubud, we decided to visit the Lempuyang Temple and Tirta Ganga. Lempuyang temple is most famous for the “Heaven’s Gate” that overlooks the view of the magnificent Mount Agung which is one of the active volcanoes in Bali. This is one of the highly respected temples in Bali. Located in the town of Amed, this surrounds Mt Agung on one side of the drive while the other side opens up to view of the ocean. The volcano last erupted in June 2019 after which the entire town of Amed was vacated with all of the airports being shut down for transportation.
Due to the cloudy weather, the view wasn’t clear enough but still managed to get a sneak peek of Mt Agung amidst the clouds.
Next up was Tirta Ganga. The literal translation of the name is water from the Ganga but the name strictly refers to the water palace that was built in 1948. This temple is also associated with the Hindu reference where the water from Ganga is considered to be sacred and the water is cherished for agricultural and religious purposes. Fun fact about this place is that there a lot of fishes that you are allowed to feed.
Followed by this place was a temple that was more of a bat cave that the locals worship. The cave full of bats is of utmost importance in Balinese history and is known as Goa Lawah. This was the last stop of our Ubud trip.
Bali has a lot of temples that signify their culture in various ways. All of their temples are adorned with a black and white checkered cloth which is tied around the worship place and is considered holy. Also, the Balinese Hindus are known to worship the throne instead of a statue of any god. Their belief incorporates the idea to worship the value of the throne than the one who acquires it while paying their respect to the kings that make a part of the Hindu mythology.
The second leg of our Bali trip highlights our visit to the Uluwatu temple and the Nusa Penida islands. which will be covered in detail in the next blog. Till then keep yourself hooked on with the recent ones that have been posted 🙂