Category: Culture

Several Interesting Pura to Visit in Bali

It’s very exciting that the Bali Culture Officeis making a comprehensive documentary film on Pura Besakih, which is considered to be the mother temple in Bali. You will find Pura Besakih on the slope of Mount Agung in Karangasem regency. After all, this is one of the most popular destinations by tourists headed to Bali.

“We are now conducting research and studies on Pura Besakih to get insightful coverage on the temple,” said I Wayan Dauh, head of the office’s film and licensing.

Pura Besakih is an absolute must to visit. It signifies the Kingdom of Balinese Hundus oneness. There are numerous puru (temples) in the Besakih complex, which is massive. Many tourists guides mention 28 temples although some say as many as 38 temples exist there.

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The Captivating World of Balinese Temples

The proper name for a Balinese Hindu temple is “pura”, but not all temples in Bali are Hindu. However, Hindu temples in Bali are still the most-visited, as Bali was originally a mix of Hinduism and animism before the Muslim influence arrived. Bali is also called “the island of a thousand puras” because there’s so many of them. They’re also a huge tourist attraction.

A brief round-up of Bali temple links:

  • Mother Temple of Besakih – This is the biggest and most important pura in Bali. The maze of pagoda-style rooftops is staggering. It’s also situated on the slope of Mount Agung.

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Civet Coffee Bali

Civet Coffee – Another Amazing Balinese Oddity

Travelers to luxury villas in Bali love to soak up the local culture and lore, and nothing is so authentically Balinesian as their famous civet-cat coffee. Produced on Sumatra, Java, and Bali, these Sumatran beans are incredibly expensive, but also highly sought after. Because they’re made from civet-cat poop.

No, wait, come back here! You see, civet cats eat coffee beans, which are actually the “seed” in the middle of a kind of berry. As the beans pass through the digestive tract of the civet cat, its enzymes break down peptides and amino acids in the beans – this makes them less acidic and more mellow. The beans are then collected and washed, sun-dried, and light-roasted. They sell for $160 per pound, but coffee fanciers staying in Bali might find a bargain from a local producer.

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The Sacred Monkey Forest of Bali

The Sacred Monkey Forest of Bali – Why A Temple?

Visiting the Balinese Monkey Forest of Ubud, and the accompanying temples there, is an activity that some 10,000 visitors per month enjoy. But, particularly to the Western mind, the mere existence of a sacred forest, much less the temples, is an enigma. Why build a temple to monkeys, of all things? Do they actually worship monkeys as gods there?

Well, no, they don’t worship monkeys per se. But the explanation requires us to dive deep into the Balinese traditions of Hinduism, which is a pretty complicated subject. Balinese Hinduism differs from other forms of Hinduism in that the Balinese mix in some animism, Buddhism, and ancestor worship. They believe in reincarnation and have a caste system. And they believe that how you live in your present life determines what caste and form you take in the next one. Furthermore, they believe that all life forms, animals, insects, and all, participate in this great universal scheme of reincarnation.

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Bali History

Today Bali is famous for its clean and pristine beaches along with a host of fun and adventure activities. It is interesting to know that some researchers feel that Bali would have maintained the same charm and beauty even before the Ice Age. In the more recent past, Balinese people have come under strong influence of Buddhism, Chinese culture and later Hinduism. Today, even though Indonesia is an Islamic country, Bali retains its own unique Hindu culture.

From Pre- Ice Age Era to 800 BC
It is believed that Bali was the final frontier in the mainland and a place was a magnet for human immigration several millennia ago. In the pre-ice age era, being at the end of the mainland, the sheer beauty and abundance of Bali would have attracted early human settlers. In fact excavations have revealed the existence of Java man or Homo erectus in these islands.

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Folkers Bali

Balinese Folklore

You’d probably want to soak up at least some of the local culture when you tour Bali. After all, imagine if you bring home some exotic wood-carving of a Rangda and you’re showing it off on the mantel after you get it home, and somebody asks you what the heck a Rangda is. You don’t want to be stumped, do you?

  • Antaboga – The “world serpent”. You know that snake in a circle eating its own tail, popular in logos and tattoos? Rooted in the same myth. Antaboga created Bedwang.

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dancing bali

Four Things In Bali Culture You Must Experience

Those planning a trip to Bali would be well-advised to take the following advice: Don’t just go there to languish in the sun for a weekend on the beach! The island of Bali is one of the world’s most exotic, dynamic, and fascinating cultures, ripe with a dazzling array of local color and a deep culture that will be worth your while to explore. Just off the top, here are some aspects of Balinese culture you ought to at least take in once in your life, just to cross them off your bucket list:

Balinese Dancing Dance ceremonies in Bali stride the line between religious ceremony and deliberate performance art. Bali is a very ancient culture dating back to 2000 BC, and their dances have evolved continuously since that time. Like a stage play or an opera, there’s characters and a story, all with the performers decked out in intricate costumes that will dazzle your eyes. Find out the story behind each traditional dance, and the variations from place to place. You will be fascinated, and maybe even pick up a few lessons from Balinese beliefs. One good site on Balinese dance here.

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A Tourist’s Guide To Balinese Temples

A Tourist’s Guide To Balinese Temples

Next to the natural wonders of Bali such as beaches and coral reefs, the temples are its next-biggest attraction. They’re picturesque, exotic, historic, and world-famous. Some of them get thousands of visitors per day. But they can be baffling, too. We’ll try to demystify temples in Bali with this handy little guide:

A very brief overview of Balinese Hinduism

Hinduism is easily the most complicated religion in history. It appears to be polytheistic, meaning that there’s many gods, but also all gods are said to be one god in many forms, rather like the Judeo-Christian trinity. Furthermore there’s sub-castes of gods; there’s a trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and then there’s the lesser Vedic gods who resemble ancient Roman / Greek gods in being associated with some aspect of nature. Hindus also believe in reincarnation, and Balinese Hinduism is further complicated by the mixing in of some animism and ancestor worship on the side. There is also a different attitude towards sexuality, tending to view it as holy worship rather than a shameful sin as with Western religions.

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Some Balinese Words

Some Balinese Words And The Cultural Concepts Behind Them – PART 1

This will not be a general language guide to Bali. Rather, this will be a specific focus on Balinese words which sum up a concept that is uniquely Balinese (or at least Indonesian). This is important to know, because none of these words have a direct translation into any English dialect. And so, each of them provide an interesting insight for those about to visit (or return to) the island of Bali.

Rojong – The concept of mutual communal cooperation.

In the west, we might have mottoes like “everyone for themselves” or “may the best player win”. This spirit of individual competition is somewhat looked down upon in Balinese society, in favor of “rojong”, the sharing of work so that all may gain equal benefit from the results. Kind of in a commune / socialism sense, many Balinese villages thrive on community gardens, group herding, and sharing of resources and even living space. If you’ve heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child”, that’s the kind of spirit the Balinese have.

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Some Balinese Words

Some Balinese Words And The Cultural Concepts Behind Them – PART 2

Here are yet more Balinese and Indonesian words with complex ideas behind them which are unique to that part of the world. Vacationers in Bali, no matter how casual, would benefit from getting to know some of these concepts, because they express ideas that are both uncommon to the Western world-view and indelibly embedded into Balinese society.

Rasa – The feeling evoked by a work of art.

Arts in Bali and most of Indonesia have a trait that is peculiar to Western thought: they may be overwhelmingly sad, scary, erotic, or humorous, to the point of making the work itself a caricature. Don’t be confused by this over-bold statement; this is actually the “rasa”, a Sanskrit word that’s seen as a quality to strive for. There’s some dozen of them, and they’re meant to invoke different Hindu gods and even have chakra colors associated with them. For instance, a statue of a conquering warrior might invoke the “viram rasa”, associated with the deity Indra and the color yellow.

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