Monday, 5 March 2012

Bali - Day 2

Free and Easy Bali - Day 2 Itinerary 
1) Customised day tour to Bedugul and Tanah Lot
  - Taman Ayun Temple
  - Rice Terrace at Pacung (Lunch)
  - Bedugul (Bratan Lake) - Ulundanu Temple
  - Bali Botanical Garden
  - Coffee Plantation (Bali Oka Agriculture)
  - Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
2) Fine Dining at Semiyak
3) Massage at Kuta

As usual, we did not cater much time for breakfast. But we were pleasantly surprised with the porridge and bee hoon goreng offered at Best Western Kuta Beach.  More information at Bali Day 2 Breakfast.

Breakfast - Porridge

We engaged a driver cum guide for a full day tour to Bedugul and Tanah Lot at a booth along Kuta at Rp. 400k. We were very lucky to have Loys ( to be our guide as he is quite knowledgeable and is able to give us a glimpse of Balinese culture and customs.
Bali Tour Operator

Taman Ayun Temple 
Old state temple in Mengwi, built by Mengwi Kingdom in 1634 and is currently opened to public.
Taman Ayun Temple

The Hindus believe that there is always good (dharma) and bad spirit (adharma), just like Chinese Yin & Yang, there is always a need to balance. That's the reason why the cloth that cover the temple guardians consist of contrasting black and white.  There are also umbrellas to provide shelter to the temple guardians.
Temple Guardian

The temple pavement are lined with many tall decorative bamboo poles, similar to those we saw outside of houses on our way to the temple. They are called penjor, which are erected outside of Hindus house to celebrate Galungan, symbolising the dominance of good spirit over bad spirit.  They are usually decorated with coconut, rice steams, palm leaves, yellow coconut leaves.  There is a small "cage" at the bamboo pole where offerings can be placed.  The offerings are placed in a leaf container which usually consists of flowers, food and incense.
Elaborated Penjor at Temple
According to our guide, temple usually consists of 3 courtyards - outer, middle and inner.  The outer courtyard is a wide area opened to all, including the bad spirit.  In order to keep the bad spirits from entering the middle and inner courtyard, there will be performance and cock-fighting to keep the bad spirit busy and entertained in the outer courtyard. The rooster's claw are fitted with sharp metal claw sometimes so that there will be bloodshed to attract the bad spirit.
Musical Instrument and Cock-fighting area (under renovation)

There is a open gate (no doors) to welcome both male and female to the middle courtyard, except female who are having their period as they believed that bad spirit are attracted to blood. There is a KulKul, big wooden Balinese bell on a high kulkul pavilion to indicate time for various ceremony and gathering.
Outer to Middle Courtyard and KulKul

There is also a kitchen area to prepare food offerings to the God and also meals for the religious workers. There were around 15 person in the kitchen area busy preparing the food offering - pressing white rice to a certain shape, folding meat containers using banana leaves, grinding coconut, frying fish sticks, grilling satay and arranging the food nicely before its offered in the temple.
Kitchen in Temple
The food were then being carried into the inner courtyard to be offered to the God. The lady was carrying a tray of cooked food on her head while the guy was carrying nicely decorated raw meat.
Carrying cooked food offerings to temple

Beautifully decorated sticks of raw meat offering

The inner and middle courtyard is separated by a close gate and moat. Doors at the gates are opened only for believers and they have some simple cleansing ritual before entering the inner temple.
Gates to inner Courtyard
Cleansing Ritual
For this temple, outsiders can only glimpse into the inner courtyard. You can see a lot of Meru, Balinese Hindu multi-tiered shrines, which resemble the Chinese pagoda. The nice looking thatched roof of Meru were made with palm tree fiber and the number of tiers is supposed to be odd numbers, usually starting with 1 tier and towering up to 3, 5, 7, 9 and finally 11th tier. As this temple was built by the royalties, to signify its prestige over the others, its Meru started off with a 2-tiered shrine.

Thanks to the guide, else this temple visit might not be as interesting.

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