Jan 202012

Intricate: A sarcophagus is delicately chiseled.

Preparations for community ngaben or cremations are intense.

Every day, men, women and children head to the community bale banjar to create the specified offerings — to build the great bamboo platforms that will carry the sarcophagi or make endless baskets to carry the flowers, fruits and rice of offerings.

Gusti Mangku Batur of Tengkulak Kaja says the women of the village make thousands of offerings during the 17 days leading up to a cremation.

“We come together from morning until night every day,” says Mangku of the thousands of man hours spent creating the offerings that, like the sarcophagi, will be burnt during the ngaben. Continue reading »

May 242011

Bali: Eat, Pray, Love Tourism

Ketut Liyer / Image via davidchatt.com

On a still road in Pengostanan Village in Bali’s central foothills, a dull, blue-stained signboard points toward the house of the medicine man. Ketut Liyer is a ninth generation healer of undecided age — “maybe 90?” he shrugs — who has never been off the Indonesian island. But the dozen or so women who crowd his compound this afternoon, their chatter in competition with the peeping of caged birds suspended from clay-roofed pavilions, have come from all over. One by one they approach the small, weathered Balinese seer with the brilliant, near-toothless smile, and have him interpret their palms, their legs, sometimes even their spines. Continue reading »

May 172011

Bali coral reef

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Conservation International (CI) in Indonesia and its local partners have found nine new coral fish and one coral reef species during a marine survey in Bali waters.

“The survey shows the healthy coral reef coverage has increased compared to 12 years ago. In most diving spots, there are indications that Bali`s coral reefs are in a recovery phase. The survey has also led to he discovery of new species,” CI Indonesia Executive Director Ketut Sarjana Putra said in a press statement here Sunday.  Continue reading »

May 042011

Unusual ritual: Flimsy bamboo cages and cloths cover up the deceased. JP/Simon Gower

The island of Bali is generally thought of as an island full of life. When and where death does encroach, it often becomes a spectacle of cremations and elaborate ceremonies.

One small part of Bali however upholds an unusual and apparently quite ancient tradition pertaining to death.
Sitting at the edge of Lake Batur in Northern Bali is a small cemetery known as Trunyan, where people from the nearby village of Kuban “bring” their dead to rest on top of the ground.

This unusual practice has become something of a macabre tourist attraction. Perhaps it is not really an “attraction” but a place that pricks peoples’ curiosity. The local people, though, have clearly become used to tourists coming to this site and so haggling and near constant pestering for “donations” has to be dealt with.

One can only reach this site by boat, a small fleet of which awaits visitors at the end of a wooden jetty where the stunning Mount Batur looks on.  Continue reading »

Apr 292011

Ubud is arguably the best place to use as a base if you’re visiting Bali; if you’re looking for culture, comfort, nature and inspiration. Ubud is surrounded by most of the things that bring people to Bali — scenic rice fields, small villages, art and craft communities, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, cheap accommodation and unique luxury hotels. Continue reading »