Saturday, 19 July 2008

18 - 20 July 2008: All things cultured in Ubud, Bali

We decided to come back to Bali for three days to spend more time in Ubud, which is the arts and culture capital of the island. After three weeks of cold showers, we were pleased to check into the Dewi Ayu homestay (0361-8514846) with hot water. It was located on the lower end of Monkey Forest Road, just down from the Circle K.

On our first night in culture land, we went to see a traditional Balinese dance performance with a gamelan orchestra. The orchestra were literally hammering out the tunes. The dances were intricate, with each movement of hand, wrist, finger and eye being important. The dancers were dressed in stunning, colourful costumes. We particularly enjoyed seeing an extra from 'The Planet of the Apes'.

For our second day we were lucky enough to be in town while a mass cremation ceremony was taking place. The king of Bali had been cremated here only a few days before. Families bury their dead and then the bodies are exhumed, sometimes up to five years later, ready to be cremated. Hindus believe that cremation allows the soul to travel to heaven.

As we arrived at the cremation site within the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, some of the family members were already there. Prayers were said and then, in turn, 30 families carried a large figurine to their cremation platforms. Figurines included dragons, fishes, anatomically correct bulls, cow mermaids (?!?) and an elephant. The families came out in procession, carrying the bones of the deceased and offerings: food, water, live chicks, cloth and money. These were all placed inside the elaborately decorated figurines.

Finally, after a lifetime of waiting (six hours), all the figurines and their precious contents were ready for cremation. Simultaneously, a member of each family lit their figurine, forming three lines of pyres. The figurines burnt quickly and very close to the relatives. The local fire brigade doused some of the fires. A fascinating experience and very different from European cremations.


David said...

Hi Andy and Jen,
Am enjoying the blog and learning about life on the other side of the world!

Beats a bland funeral anyday.

Hope we can skype soon.


Anonymous said...

Moro jenni ja Andy!! Ja sori Andy et tää on suomeks, mut kyl sä jo osaat, vai mitä?
Aivan loistava tää teijän blogi... oispa mullakii ollu tällänen ku olin reissussa... samointein pääsee vielä katteleen teijän ottamia kuvia! pitäisköhän vältellä ä ja ö kirjaimia?
Mihin ootte suuntaamassa Indonesian jälkeen? Jos käytte kathmandussa ni pliis käykää tapaamassa Pranitaa, voin kertoa yksityiskohdista myohemmin. Jos on asiaa ja vaikkei oliskaan ni postia saa laittaa
Ma oottelen nyt vaan viikonloppua et paasen Karunaan. Voikaa hyvin!

Anonymous said...

Ai niin... postikortti ois kiva.. vink vink
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