Saturday, January 21, 2012

tanah lot & the way of life

I enjoyed our visit to Pura Tanah Lot immensely. It is a bit of a drive from where we were staying in Nusa Dua, but it's worth going just to see how the Balinese go about their day to day life with all the tourists (including us) around them.

The Balinese are a spiritual bunch. There's not a day that gone past without a prayer or two. This is quite apparent during our visit to the Pura.

As soon as we arrived, we saw the locals in their traditional clothes, riding the motorbike, going to the Pura. This guy in red clothes must be one of the gamelan players.

I love this white kebaya that a lot of the women seem to be wearing.

Getting closer to the Pura, you'd see women carrying the offerings on their head, as a sign of respect to the gods. It's probably also because it's easier for them to do this.

Aren't they amazing? I wouldn't be able to carry that kind of weight on my head.

These particular women are actually carrying their offerings to another temple opposite the Tanah Lot Pura. This side temple is called the Pakendungan temple.

These are the more elaborate of offerings.

You can see neatly stacked apples, pears, mangosteens, oranges, eggs, sponge cake and at the very top there's a trussed up chicken and beautifully arranged flowers.

While the women were tending to the offerings, the men were vigorously (read: loudly) playing the gamelan.

At the Pakendungan temple, the locals were praying and socialising at the same time. They were having quite a laugh, actually, gossiping and eating.

But this little dude was what caught my eye. How dapper!

After dropping off most of their offerings at the Pakendungan temple, the women and girls would walk the small distance to the Tanah Lot Pura, bringing with them a small part of their offerings.

They're all dressed impeccably.

Some are really colourful.

Like these two sisters in their blue and purple kebayas. So very pretty.

The more time I spend in Bali, the more I came to realise that Hinduism for them is not so much a religion, but more of a way of life. It is in everything that they do.

Our driver, Wayan, who's been with us since the first day of our Bali trip, told us that when he got married, it is their custom for the neighbours to help them cook and decorate their house for the reception. They'd get together and just cook away, make the place pretty. Everyone would also bring few bags of rice with them as the wedding gift, some of which will be served during the reception. I think it's lovely to have this sense of community and togetherness.

He also said that every day his wife would have to go to the nearby Pura to pray for the safety and prosperity of the family. There's not one day that's gone by when she wouldn't go. Actually, that's not completely right, he said, there are certain periods of the month when she's not allowed to go, so they would have to send someone else in the family on her behalf. But other than that, it is virtually every day.

There are other small things that shows the Balinese spirituality. Walking down a Kuta  street, we saw offerings neatly placed in front of every shop.

These offerings are called canang. The offerings usually consist of betel, rice and colourful flowers placed in a small tray woven from palm leaves. I didn't explore this in depth during my visit, but coincidentally, a fellow blogger did just that recently, check it out.

But back to Tanah Lot. Other than seeing the locals going to the Pura, we also enjoyed seeing the locals and tourists fly some kites.

I guess Bali is quite windy, we saw kites flying everywhere in this island, it's a favourite Indonesian childhood pastime.

We enjoyed cooling down, dipping our toes in the cold sea water.

We briefly visited some of the shops.

There you go, folks, that was our Tanah Lot. How's yours?

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