Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Bali

Kecak, also known as tari kecakilolahhe in Indonesian, is a type of Balinese Hindu dance and music theatre that originated in Bali, Indonesia, in the 1930s. Since its inception, men have performed it almost exclusively; the first women’s kecak ensemble established in 2006.

We had a chance of watching this incredible performance this time when we visited Bali. The set up is against the backdrop of gorgeous setting sun in Uluwatu Sea Temple. The most interesting fact about this show is that there is no music. All the sounds are created by the performers. I was amazed at their lung capacity and the enthusiasm never dropped.

Watch the amazing performance on my Youtube channel here – https://youtu.be/B5g9qQXcLgQ

The clips in my video includes the parts of Hindu epic Ramayana. You will see the scenes of Sita sending Ram & Lakshman after Gold Mrig and Ravan Kidnapping Sita. Jatayu tries to save Sita but gets killed. Then comes Hanuman and the best part of the show when they capture hanuman and set his tail on fire. He escapes and sets Lanka on fire.

The Kecak Dance of the Uluwatu temple is a pioneer in drawing a sizable part of tourists from all over the world among all the major traditional arts, theatre, and dance in Bali. One of Indonesia’s most recognisable glimmers of its rich cultural past is the Kecak Dance of Bali. It is a type of classical Hindu dance that is based on the tales from the well-known epic “The Ramayana.”

At around 6:00 PM, the Kecak dance performance begins in the sparse light of the setting sun. A big group of approximately 75 male dancers enter the stage and perform the first five chapters of The Ramayana at varied tempos depending on the atmosphere of the scene. The performance concludes with a magnificent rite that involves lighting up the central torch against the deep, dark sky while gradually singing in unison. The atmosphere is too compelling to pass up the opportunity to experience at least once in a lifetime when the silhouette of the fire against the night sky and the sound of the ocean combine.

Due to the dense jungles that surround the Uluwatu Temple and are home to numerous monkeys and long-tailed macaques, it is imperative to carry food and other necessities in fully covered bags or backpacks to protect them from the animals’ teeth.

Obtaining dancing tickets is not at all a difficult task. One to two hours before the dance starts at around 5:00 PM, you can walk up to the ticket booths without making an appointment. Because to the presence of many guarded routes, wild animals, and extremely steep slopes, the route to the temple may be difficult for pilgrims from the plains. Therefore, it is usually suggested to wear proper shoes and stay away from slippers to reduce any unwelcome incidents and the amount of trouble while travelling to the temple.

Image From Internet

Incredible Rice Terraces in Bali

An ideal vacation to Bali includes strolling along picture-perfect beaches, visiting temples, indulging in delectable cuisine, taking in colourful ceremonies, listening to the roar of waterfalls and taking in stunning scenery. Not many people know about the stunning & mesmerising view of rice paddies. No matter how many you’ve already seen, Bali’s dreamy rice terraces will win your heart.

We arrived at Jaltiuwih Rice terrace around noon and it was raining quite heavily. Though the view was great, the incessant rains were making it tough to step out of the car. We waited for around an hour at one of the lovely restaurants and had lunch in the meanwhile. The rain finally stopped and we were all excited and charged up. A small alley across the paddy fields was inviting us to explore this lovely view closely. We travelled the red route through the rice fields, passing a few farmers and cows that were taking a break in the nearby covered shacks. We eventually arrived at a paved road from which we could capture stunning images of the majestic rice terraces and the distant, dramatic views of Mount Batukaru.

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace

A staple cuisine in Bali, rice is closely associated with Balinese culture. The rice growth cycle very much establishes the framework for traditional Balinese living. The Balinese people consider rice to be a gift from God and a representation of life. The three types of rice grown on Bali’s stunning rice terraces—white rice, black rice, and red rice—have been produced by the Balinese people for countless generations. White rice is the most widely available, whereas red rice is considerably more expensive and unusual. My freind bought samples of each type of rice from the local farmer.

Asia is home to many beautiful rice fields, but what sets the Balinese rice terraces apart is the Subak irrigation system, which was even added to the UNESCO list of world historic monuments. The Tri Hita Karana philosophy, which is a part of Balinese culture, is manifested in the Subak system. 

This way of thinking permeates practically every element of daily life in Bali, including Balinese architecture, daily rituals and offerings, and the subak water system. Agriculture crops thrive in Bali’s fertile soil, which is the perfect combination with the island’s humid tropical environment. The subak method, which integrates spiritual, natural, and social aspects, is used to water all of these crops.

Although the Jatiluwih rice terraces are not yet as popular with tourists as Tegalalang is (the eateries and the marked trails indicate they will soon become one of the most popular rice fields in Bali), early access is usually advised. However, you shouldn’t worry too much because, because of their size, you can probably still find some peace and quiet even in the middle of the day.

We still have a few Bali rice fields on our bucket list for our subsequent trip because there are so many beautiful ones that it is difficult to see them all. Particularly the one in West Bali.

Gates of Heaven : Most Instagrammable Place in Bali

You’ve certainly seen photos of this location on Instagram, where the gate and clouds appear to be floating above water in a beautiful mirror-like reflection known as the “Gates of Heaven.” I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there is no pool of water. All of those reflection images were staged using a pocket mirror. A clever local sits here all day and takes the identical photo of each person who who pays and is willing to wait for at least an hour as there is a long queue to get this intagrammable spot picture.

The gate is also referred to in the west as “The Gates of Heaven,” and the entire setting is quite lovely. Approximately two hours from Ubud and two and a half hours from Canggu, the gates and its temple are situated in the eastern highlands of Mount Lempuyang.

Although the complex contains 7 distinct locations or temples, most visitors only throng to the “Gates of Heaven.”

The above photograph shows the temple bang opppsoite of the famous “gate” and the stairs take you up to the temple. The other temples are also quite lovely, so it is absolutely worthwhile to see them as well. You must ascend 1,700 steps to reach the mountaintop location of the steepest one. We did go and offered prayers and must say it was worth it.

Little bit of History

As per wikipedia, the establishment of places of worship around Mount Lempuyang is believed to predate the majority of Hindu temples on the island of Bali.The puras of Mount Lempuyang, represented by Pura Lempuyang Luhur, the highest temple in the area, is grouped one complex of pura which represents the Pura Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang. The temple groups are considered as part of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad, or the “six sanctuaries of the world”, the six holiest places of worship on Bali. According to Balinese beliefs, they are the pivotal points of the island and are meant to provide spiritual balance to Bali.The temple groups of Mount Lempuyang is also one of the group of temples in Bali known as Pura Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana. Each of the temple in the Pura Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana marked each of the eight cardinal directions. Pura Lempuyang Luhur represents the direction of east (purwa) and the color white. This direction is associated with the domain of Balinese the god Iswara.

Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang was restored in 2001.

Tanah Lot – A Blissful Coastal Temple in Bali

Bali excels in every category, whether it’s the beautiful bluish blue ocean, the massive Hindu temples, or the sheer untouched virginity of the countryside. Tourists who visit throughout the year have the time of their lives and are relaxed beyond their wildest dreams. Variety is the spice of life, and Bali has a plethora of tourist attractions and getaway locations where one can recharge after months of strenuous work and strain.

It will take many blogs to cover my trip to Bali this June. So I plan to take it slow and introduce you to the place, one attraction at a time.

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot, also known as Pura Tanah Lot Temple, is a well-known and sacred Hindu temple in Bali. As a popular tourist destination, Bali attracts a large number of enthusiasts and adventure seekers who make it a point to visit this location each year. This holy temple is well-known for its beautiful sunset views and even more soothing cold breezes that flow throughout the beach.  This beautiful temple is situated about 20 kilometres southwest of Kuta in the Beraban town of the Tabanan Regency. This location may be reached in around an hour and a half if you’re travelling from Kuta. It takes around an hour to get there from Bali’s Ubud.

Three temples make up the Tanah Lot complex, which is situated on a massive offshore rock on the beach. The main Tanah Lot temple is one of the three, while the other two serve as a spiritual stand-in when it is closed due to high tide because they are inaccessible. The ‘guardian’ sea snakes that live in the cracks around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain can be seen at low tide by crossing to the base of the rock. It is one of Bali’s main attractions and welcomes everyone, regardless of caste or creed.

Fun and interesting details regarding the history of the Tanah Lot Temple can be found in its legends. It is stated that in the latter half of the 15th century, a high Hindu priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java travelled to Bali to propagate Hinduism and related ideas. He built a shrine to honour the Sea God Varuna, and despite objections from the village leader, he successfully used sea snakes to secure the rock where he meditated. That is how the eponymous temple in Bali, Tanah Lot, got its name, which means “land in the sea.” The priest is said to have gained Nirvana, or enlightenment, at this holy location.

 

The tranquil Tanah Lot temple site was properly protected and repaired thanks to assistance from the Japanese government, despite a serious erosion threat. As a result, the magnificent temple continues to welcome visitors today. On the approach to the temple, you’ll pass by a number of tropical gardens and rest areas where gift shops, art galleries, and sculptures are on show. Traditional drinks and sumptuous  snacks using coconuts are available here.

Pro Tip :

When you see the scene in all its splendour, the Tanah Lot Temple sunset view speaks for itself. In order to avoid the crowds, try to make this sight your final stop for the day and come well before nightfall.

 

How to reach Goa in 10 simple steps

Ladies and gentleman, brace yourselves as you are about to read the ultimate guide to reach Goa from Kolkata in ten easy steps, exclusively from the horse’s mouth.

Step 1. – Book yourself on a one stop flight via Mumbai to Goa. Take as much luggage as possible. Trust me, taking extra luggage has a lot to do in making your travel story successful.

Step 2. – As soon as your plane touches Mumbai, shove, push & stomp on people’s feet to get ahead in the queue to get down. Ignore the air-hostess’s plea to remain seated.I repeat, get down of the aircraft as soon as possible, as if it was about to explode. If you remain in the flight for 5 more minutes, you will totally realize that this same flight can take you to your destination in another hour.

Step 3.- You may plan your travel with your close friends and ask them to meet you at Mumbai airport, who by chance will be travelling from Kolkata itself, but of course by a different airline. Make sure your flights don’t touch the same terminals. Taking an over expensive cab just to get to Terminal 2 to be together with your friend will kick start your journey to Goa.

Step 4. – Book your tickets on a train to Goa from Mumbai. There’s a train at 11 30 AM, which goes through a picturesque landscape. SKIP THAT. You don’t want to see any other beauty as you are going to GOA. There is enough scenic beauty planned in your 7 days trip.

Step 5. – Take the one at 3 PM. This way, it will be dark soon and you will have nothing else to do besides talking face to face with your family as there will be no mobile network. Seldom comes a time in today’s hectic schedule, when we all sit together and talk heart to heart.

Step 6.- Indian train journey can not be complete without a tussle between you and the Manglorian uncle, for he wants his bags to be comfortably placed first, for he wants the window seat, for he is OLD. Forget all the chivalry and push all of your 36 bags under the tier.

Step 7. – Thank yourself for creating miracle – your babies. The train journey is never complete till one of kids either steps on some uncle’s hand, falls down from the berth or goes to the loo no less than 100 times. Keep them on sugar rush throughout the journey. They should play, run around and scream till the time half of the compartment gets migraine attack. Some old lady might advice you to make them sleep. Ignore her.

Step 8. – Did I tell you that this train does not have pantry car!! Lock this in specially if you travelling with kids. You don’t want them to have decent meals everyday. Let them enjoy Vada Paav once for god’s sake.

Step 9. – The train reaches Goa at around 2: 30 AM. There will be no coach attendant at that time, so queue in your luggage at the gate. You never know when the train will align at the platform. Make your sleepy kids sit on the luggage. Refer to point no 1 which is to carry extra luggage. You can make them lie on them. 🙂

Step 10. – When you finally reach Margaon station after a 12 hour journey, look for the way out. Don’t go too far. There is a foot bridge towards the taxi stand. There’s an escalator too but that isn’t operational till 6 in the morning. Everyone travelling, pick three to four bags each, weighing according to your caliber and pull yourself up one step at a time. Its fun trust me. When you get down on the other side, you will realize that you are the back side of the taxi stand!!  See I told you its fun. Come on, now pull all your luggage around half a kilometer to get to your cab. Once you do find your cab, you will spot the taxi driver looking desperately for you facing towards exit of the station, which of course you would had come out of, if you would had decided to walk down further on the platform and not take the bridge. But, if you would had done that, would there be any story left with you to tell your grand kids.

No journey is long enough till the time you are in good company. So my friends, do try this amazing travel plan tailor made for the adventurous soul inside each one of us.