December 2017
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  • Day22

    Temples

    December 30, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    The temple is the most important institution on Bali and the center of religious activities. Though Bali is renowned as the "Land of Ten Thousand Temples," there are actually at least 50,000 scattered over the island. Large or small, simple or elaborately carved, they're everywhere-in houses, courtyards, marketplaces, cemeteries, and rice paddies; on beaches, barren rocks offshore, deserted hilltops, and mountain heights; deep inside caves; within the tangled roots of banyan trees. At most intersections and other dangerous places temples are erected to prevent mishaps. Even in the middle of jungle crossroads, incense burns at small shrines brightened with flowers, wrapped leaves, and gaily colored cloth.

    Each village has its own shrines for community worship, and public temples may be used by anyone to pray to Sanghyang Widhi or any of his manifestations. There are mountain temples (pura bukit), sea temples (pura segara), genealogical temples, temples for the deities of markets and seeds (pura melanting), lake temples, cave temples, hospital temples, bathing temples, temples dedicated to spirits in springs, lakes, trees, and rocks. There are also private temples for those of noble descent, royal "state" temples, and temples for clans (pura dadia) who share a common geneology. Some temples commemorate the deeds of royalty. Numerous important temples-Gunung Kawi, Pura Penulisan-are actually memorial shrines to ancient rulers and their families. 

    Balinese temples are not dedicated to a specific god but to a collection of spirits, both good and bad, who reside in the various shrines. No one knows which spirits are visiting which shrines, so to make sure that only their beneficent aspects appear offerings are placed in all shrines. 

    Unlike the austere, restricted temples of other countries in Asia, the Balinese temple is open and friendly, with children, tourists, and even dogs wandering in and out. During festivals the temple grounds serve as a stage where the worshippers become actors, the priests directors, and the gods and demons invisible but critical spectators. 

    Once every six months in the Balinese calendar, each temple holds an odalan or anniversary celebration. Since there are tens of thousands of temples on the island, an odalan is in progress almost every day somewhere. On the occasion ancestral personages descend from heaven and the temples are alive with fervent activity. For the really big religious ceremonies and rites, temple pavilions are sometimes completely wrapped in cloths and umbel-umbel banners, studded with ceremonial umbrellas. Foods are placed on altars under the eyes of the stone deities, the gods occupying small gold, bronze, or gilded wood figurines (pratima). 

    During festivals the temple courtyard is literally covered in gifts to the gods, with seething throngs of people beneath high tapering white and saffron-colored flags, the air thick with smoke and the clanging of gamelan. Everyone arrives beautifully dressed, presenting the deities with prayer, devotions, food, and music to amuse them during their visit to Earth.

    After one to three days, thoroughly entertained and surfeited with food, the deities return to heaven.
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  • Day22

    Marigolds

    December 30, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Fields of marigolds can be seen across Bali during the dry season as farmers take advantage of the constant demand for flowers to be used for religious offerings, ceremonies and the ubiquitous welcome garlands.

    Marigolds offer an alternative income to farmers when there is insufficient rain to plant rice. Bright colorful marigold flowers are perfect for warming joyful gatherings and events. Their carnation-like flowers have made the bloom popular among gardeners. In Bali, marigolds are called gumitir and are usually used for offerings, in temples and for home decorations. In spite of their sparkling blooms, the flowers can have a pungent odor.

    The blooms are used in Balinese Hindu daily offerings and therefore demand is high and sustainable. One plant may produce dozens of blooms. Marigold cultivation is considered a promising farming activity. The harvest period ranges from 40 to 45 days. To plant and cultivate 1000 seeds, a farmer needs around Rp 1.8 million (R1800-00) Each harvest season, he could hope to reap around Rp 3 to Rp 4 (R3000-00 to R4000-00)
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  • Day22

    Bali Dogs

    December 30, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Prior to reading up on the Bali dogs, we thought that they were simply strays or dogs that didn't belong anywhere. This is what I found out ....

    Bali dogs are a unique breed found only in Bali. Their DNA is made up of a combination of Australian Dingo, Chow Chow and Akita.

    The genetic make-up of domestic dogs around the world has altered over thousands of years and they have become dependent on humans and their goodwill. This transition has not occurred with the Bali dog. While the Bali dog relies on humans for one source of food it remains highly independent and can survive without human contact. The four main colours of the Bali dog are black, white, brindle and red.

    Bali dogs are by nature free roaming animals that have roamed the island of Bali for thousands of years. 90% of the dogs you see on Bali’s streets have a place to which they “belong”, but this is not ownership as understood in the Western context.  A Bali dog may “belong” to a family, kampung, warung or other place of business, but this does not mean that the people involved will necessarily give it food or water or otherwise assume any responsibility for its care.

    Prior to the 2008 rabies outbreak (whish was still ongoing in 2015) on the island, the people and dogs of Bali lived alongside each other naturally. Each knew the other’s purpose and they cohabited in parallel lives. If they did not always live in total harmony, they accepted each other. Since rabies broke out it is true that many Balinese people have become wary of dogs.

    Balinese people will always have dogs in their kampungs and banjars (traditional communities) as they keep away intruders – both physical and spiritual. They dispose of rubbish and control rats.

    In 2008 the dog population was estimated to be approximately 600,000. With the outbreak of rabies, the number dropped to approximately 150,000 dogs. If numbers continue to drop, the Bali dog will be at risk of extinction. The situation is dire and the magnificent animal that is Bali’s heritage dog is under threat.
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  • Day22

    Pollution and rubbish ...

    December 30, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Often dubbed a paradise, Bali has tons of rubbish washing up onto its beaches from both the sea and inland river sources daily. This has become a huge problem and officials are now having to remove in the region of a 100 tons of rubbish from beaches every day.

    The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is the world's second biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and it is estimated that a colossal 1.29 million metric tons is produced annually by Indonesia.

    However having personally seen this, I'm amazed that there hasn't been any major outbreaks of disease on the island 😷
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  • Day21

    Tedung Umbrellas

    December 29, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    The ornate and colourful tedung umbrellas are iconic elements that frequently adorn the compounds of Balinese temples.

    The ceremonial importance of the umbrella has its roots in the Hindu religion, with some academics speculating that umbrellas were first introduced in the 13th century, when they were brought to Java on a Chinese merchant ship and, subsequently, appropriated in the shrines of the Hindu kingdom.

    Different colours of umbrellas reflect the nature of the ceremony that is taking place at a temple. Each colour has a special meaning, with black and white symbolising harmony, yellow symbolising glory and other colours alluding to religious manifestations, transforming the umbrellas from everyday items to sacred ceremonial instruments.
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  • Day21

    Ganesha

    December 29, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom.  Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva.

    Ganesha is a very popular god of Hindus and he's one of the most worshiped Gods in Hinduism. Hindu tradition states that Ganesha is a god of wisdom, success and good luck.

    He is also giver of different types of favours. The Hindu tradition calls Ganesha as the Vighneshvara. "Vighneshvara" in Sanskrit language means one who is the lord of obstacles or difficulties. Thus, the Hindu tradition states that by worshiping/honouring Ganesha, one can remove all obstacle and difficulties. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies.
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  • Day21

    Rice paddies

    December 29, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    In Bali rice fields can be found almost everywhere, and the Balinese people have depended on this method of agriculture for almost 2000 years. The terraced rice fields were carved by hand, with the help of some simple tools, and are being maintained by succeeding generations.

    Rice is considered to be the most important crop for the Balinese and traditionally it has been viewed as a gift from the gods that needs to be honored as such. It is a key ingredient of the local cuisine. The value of this crop to the local population is demonstrated by the fact that the villages surrounding the rice fields will have shrines devoted to it. Read more

  • Day20

    Scooters & Bicycles

    December 28, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Scooters are used to transport families of anywhere from 2 to 5 or even 6 people 🙄

    They are also used by street veners who carry and diaply all their produce by hanging and balancing on, over, around and possibly under the their vehicles 😂

    However, the guy sitting on the back of the bike holding a wheelbarrow deserved an award for the most ingenious. Who knew that you got bike trailers 🤗😁Read more

  • Day20

    Hinduism in Bali

    December 28, 2017 in Indonesia ⋅ 🌬 22 °C

    According to a survey conducted in 2014, 93.18% of Balinese people based their faiths in Hindu. This makes Bali unique since Hindu has the least followers in Indonesia. Most Indonesian people base their faith in Islam.

    Balinese people are generally religious. Small temples (shrines) are often placed in the front of a home and the body part of it (the pillar) is usually covered up with a black-and-white or yellow sarong. The black-and-white plaid motif symbolized dualism in life, such as good and evil, brightness and darkness, as well as men and women. Between black and white is grey, between afternoon and night is sunset. The yellow sarong has another meaning. It aims to protect the secrecy and purity of the temple, and it’s also a protection from any bad intentions.

    These people believe that their offerings placed in these temples can give them more luck in life, more prosperity, health, and can save them from any bad luck and danger.
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