Photos

Photographer's Note

Now, when all over the world we are imprisoned in our homes and can't leave it without a good reason, it seems impossible that such scenes could be observed only three weeks ago.

One thing that is striking in Bali is how pervasive religion is in Balinese society. Wherever you look, you’ll find the presence of religion, be it in the form of beautiful temples, elaborate offerings, or complex and colourful rituals and festivals. In Bali, there is a religious festival pretty much every day (literally), and the life of Balinese people seems to revolve around religion in a rather unique way.

For such a small island, Bali boasts an incredible number of temples (called pura in Balinese). This is not surprising given that every single village has at least three territorial temples where only local people are allowed to pray: one dedicated to the village ancestors, one for official/institutional functions and one for cremation ceremonies.

On top of that, all traditional Balinese family houses have a family temple, and there are other temple compounds containing temples and shrines dedicated to different Hindu deities.

Among the latter, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (also sometimes spelled as Bratan) is one of the three most important temples in Bali. The iconic nature of Ulun Danu temple is proven by the fact that it is depicted on the reverse of the 50,000 rupiah bill. The existence of a temple in this location has been documented since the 16th century, but the current temple compound was built in the 17th century.

The temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the Goddess of water, lakes and rivers. Fittingly, it is located on the shores of Lake Beratan, in a beautiful spot surrounded by 1500 metre-high mountains. Although this is not very high altitude, the area feels decidedly high-mountain, with slightly colder temperatures, and a mistier, rainier climate than most of Bali.

Lake Beratan used to be the largest lake in Bali, until an earthquake split it into three smaller ones. Beratan still remains the second largest lake on the island, and its waters are a source of fertility for the numerous plantations and rice paddies in the area.

Ulun Danu Beratan is in fact a temple compound comprising four groups of shrines oriented towards the four cardinal directions. Even from outside the temple, your eyes will be attracted to the tallest structure in the compound, the 11-tier meru covering the shrine dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. There are also 7- and 3-tier shrines built to honor other deities, including the two other main deities of the Hinduist Trimurti (literally, ‘three forms’): Brahma (the creator) and Shiva (the destroyer). Merus are roofed structures that always have an odd number of levels, usually three, seven or eleven; the latter is often reserved to show the ultimate degree of respect, depending on the deity and purpose of the shrine or temple.
Like in many other Balinese temples, whole families and groups of people who come there for ritual purposes. In festivals and other special days, women traditionally carry to the temple on their heads baskets full of flowers, fruit and other foods as offerings.
Colors have a symbolic use in Balinese Hinduism. Each of the main three deities has a colour: red for Brahma, black for Shiva and white for Vishnu. And yellow (or golden) represents prosperity and happiness. The black and white checkered fabric, called poleng, is used frequently in clothes and draped over trees, rocks, columns and other objects considered sacred and inhabited by a spirit (there is a strong component of animism in Balinese Hinduism). (after https://www.thevisualtraveler.com/ulun-danu-beratan-temple-religion-in-bali/)

I hope you will find it interesting. I was like in heaven. People, nicely dressed in the traditional way, smiled and waved to me when they saw an old with the camera.

pierrefonds, holmertz, jhm, ikeharel, Royaldevon, papagolf21, tyro, everlasting has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 0
Points: 38
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12237 W: 130 N: 31320] (145401)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH