So once upon a time, I got all enthusiastic about showing people some awesome Bali sights… And I did that by posting a few photo essays about People and Animals, Food and Beaches. But then I started a new adventure and events overtook the Bali one and here I am, with a bunch of Bali photos that need to see the light of day some 9 months after I took them.
So today I show to you Bali’s culture. Before visiting this small island which is a speck in the vast Indonesian archipelago, most people have visions of an exotic culture of bare breasted women carry offerings to temples, men tilling verdant ricefields and kids playing joyfully with archaic toys. Well, of course that’s fallacy, but a similar feeling can be experienced if you try hard enough – albeit of the more modern kind (ie no boobies).
So this is one of the small rice offerings put out by Balinese people at the start of each day from the rice they have cooked. A thanks to the gods for the food.
These “temples” are placed all throughout rice fields for purposes that are too complex for me to understand. Probably something to do with the rice goddess, Dewi Sri. Needless to say, they are everywhere.
Pura Melanting is a large temple near the coastal town of Pemuteran in northwest Bali. When I was there, it was decorated coloufully and looked fabulous.
Penjors are used for a variety of reasons, but most tourists will see these around Galungan – a 10 day period of great importance to Balinese. Usually lots of pigs are slaughtered as well and made into lawar and sate. If you get a chance, eat the raw blood version of lawar – it is an experience.
Skulls are cool. Especially when they’re on a black flag and you ponce around with a peg leg and an eye patch. Better still, you can get up and personal in the village of Trunyan where local people don’t really bury their dead. Well not all of them anyway. Some of them just decompose above ground and the resultant skulls are placed on a wall for all to see. Cool!
Balinese have quite a few artistic specialities. They carve, they chisel, they weave and they paint. Sometimes all on the same piece. This temple box is similar to many you will see all around the island.
Finally, Balinese people pray. A lot. And it’s not uncommon to see scenes like this when you get out of the main tourist centres. The settings are usually unbelievably peaceful and the devotees completely focussed. Bliss.
So there you have it. Bali really does have culture in spades and many people fall in love with it. Wanna go to Bali?