Friday, April 4, 2014

The Mother Temple of Besakih

On Wednesday different groups planned different adventures and some spent the day enjoying the Villa and the town nearby. Anita and I decided to have a little adventure together and hired a car to take us to the oldest and biggest Temple in all of Bali at the base of Mount Agung, the enormous, revered and mystical volcano that towers over Bali.

The view of Mount Agung from our room at the villa:

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The temple was started in pre-historic times and through the centuries has become the most sacred temple of the Balinese among what must be hundreds of thousands on the Island! In 1963 the volcano erupted killing 1700 people and the lava flow came within meters of the Mother Temple and stopped. A miracle!

Like a dummy I jumped from a little ledge to a marble platform and heard my knee crack in several places just before we left but I was determined to see it, even though our driver warned us about many stairs.

We stopped at the Water Palace for a few minutes on the way as Anita hadn’t seen it because of a hike the day before. I saw lots that I hadn’t seen before and it was fun to enjoy it together:

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The Water Lilies were incredible!

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And the views all the way along were magnificent!

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On our 90 minute car ride we drove through village after village preparing for special celebrations. We stopped to marvel at this bamboo frond that was lovingly being prepared for a special ceremony by friends of our driver. Just look at the beautiful detail on this thing that will be placed upright beside the road the runs through the village. Fruit and hand-make decorations from leaves abound!

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Every person is Bali is an artist at heart and this goes to prove it! Such sweet people!

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At last we arrived the Mother Temple of Besakih. It was astonishing,spectacular, unbelievable!  Our driver was right about the stairs!

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This was the first of six staircases. PLUS a 7th one to Nirvana! You can’t see Agung in the background because it is so foggy but it’s there! I hobbled on up, one stair at a time. Anita was so kind and patient and took most of these pictures with her camera that beat my little iPhone by a lot!

 

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The Royal Door that only the King and Queen can enter:

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Above is a gamelon orchestra waiting for a special ceremony.

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Guardians abounded:

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On the sixth level there was a courtyard where the air was magical and Anita and I got to have a private ceremony with the Priest (for a price). It was actually a very spiritual experience because he gave us about five minutes to pray and meditate after the ceremony. I loved it! We were 1000 meters above the sea at a mystical place that I may never see again.

Part of the ceremony involves the Priest sticking rice on the forehead. Anita’s stuck really well  (mine not so much) which was supposed to be an indication of how well our prayers would be answered (or something like that).

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It was such a lovely experience that we didn’t mind so much that we got ripped off when we had to buy saris  (they wouldn’t let us in without them and it was a monopoly) in order to enter the temple and had to pay the Priest for his services. Truly, it was worth it!

There was no end to the temples to see! There were 23 separate but related temples within the temple.

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Almost at the top, My knee was screaming at me so I sent Anita up to “Nervana” and I carefully maneuvered my way down the stairs. As you can see, we were almost the only ones there which made it ever more special and on the way down the steps I heard the deep ringing of a giant gong over and over again. Magical!

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At the end the fog had cleared and we had a perfect view of the magnificent Agung!

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Our driver “flew” us home because the villa staff had been preparing all day for our big celebration….our 45th Anniversary!  Even though it’s not officially until this summer we knew there was no way that we would all be together on that date so we celebrated early! When we got back our husbands were enjoying a lovely massage on the beach in the Sunset and the Villa was decorated beautifully for the occasion. 

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That fun celebration coming next!

2 comments:

kms said...

Isn't it nice you were allowed to enter. Cost thousands to get on the plane. You do not really think the temple clothes were too costly?

Eyrealm said...

Absolutely not worried about the money kms! It was SO worth the experience. We were just a little irritated because the shop keeper was obviously taking advantage of us. He knew we couldn't go into the temple without a sari and his was the only shop in sight. His starting price was 5X what we all knew it was worth. He was just trying to get what he could from us comparatively rich tourists. I was glad to put some extra money in his hands. Just thought it was an interesting way to do business. Sometimes I like to surprise people by doubling what they ask in a bartering situation because they certainly need it more than I do but not this time!