Bali Sheer natural miracle!
Bali Sheer Natural Miracle! It’s customary to enter any Balinese temple with a sarong- a wraparound—as a mark of respect.
Life in Bali is always related to the spiritual relationship between man and God, and the environment
Breaking the myth that Bali derived its name from Bali Chakravarthy, the Hindu King, our guide Nyoman (name of third son in any Balinese household) said Bali is acronym of –Banyak Liburan—which means ‘many holidays’ in Bahasa Indonesia! No wonder the air and soil of Bali is replete with contentment born out of leisure! Leisure can be dangerous as it can breed laziness, but people of Bali know how to nurture creativity in leisure. It’s very difficult to begin the Bali saga, especially when the bustling island speaks a lot for itself, through its art, architecture and the delicious cuisine! Apart from the typical places suggested in the itinerary, one could explore the island all by themselves, provided they know how to navigate. Visit to the busy Kuta beach on the day of arrival is a curtain-raiser to the Bali culture. This beach also has the memorial of the 2003 blast victims. Don’t miss the Bali dance at sunset here.
For connoisseurs of food, Bali is the place to be with varied mouth-watering (authentic) cuisine like masakanpadang (hot steamed rice with thick delicious egg, non-veg or veg stews) gado-gado (fresh vegetables and boiled pulses in peanut sauce), nasigoreng (vegetable fried rice with crispy crackers) and rujak (stone crushed fresh fruits with a tangy sambar or chutney). Apart from this authentic Indonesian cuisine, the fast-food lovers can gorge on Mc Ds, KFCs, Hoka Hoka bentos (Japanese) and of course the ‘all-pervasive’ pizzas! Freshly brewed Bali Coffee is a coffee lover’s delight that instantly awakens you with first sip. Kopi Luwak or Asian civet coffee (beans of coffee berries once they have been eaten and excreted by the civet) is a huge hit there are free tasters are available in every Kopi Luwak farm, incidentally every farm looks like an exclusive resort with lots of vegetation and ethnic interiors.
A typical tour- itinerary begins with the farthest place first and the day one would be to Kintamani volcano, which is more famous for the magnificent temple and lake Batur. Throughout the lovely journey one can see luscious country-side with elegant Balinese women, carrying baskets of offerings to temples. Bali is the only place in Indonesia which has more than 90% of Hindu population. Don’t be surprised if people ask your religion as they feel immense pride relating to one! Kintamani and Batur are shopper’s delight with fringes of small tokos (local shops that sell artefacts), alongside the road. Despite heavy footfall the place looks spic and span as Indonesians are known for their aesthetics, civic sense and courteousness. Bargaining is a very common scene, and one ought to be really smart at that! All the negotiations are done via calculators as the locals are well aware of foreigners’ pulse. This place is famous for the lemon-sized oranges that taste like honey. One would easily trade a best meal for those fresh juicy fruits!
Ubud or the art-village is an artisan’s paradise and crucible of wood-craft. Right from a ten-year old to the ones entering senility are seen busy at wood-sculpting and an astonishing fact is that none of the artisans are bespectacled, in spite of the intricate toil for long hours. One can see different stages of artefacts, starting from the beginners’ work to the accomplished ones, all from murah (low-cost) to mahal (expensive)! Many generous tourists pick up the novices’ works too, to encourage the budding artists! Intricate wood carvings of goddess Saraswati, Barong masks, Hanuman, Ghatotkacha, etc are all artists pets.
It’s customary to enter any Balinese temple with a sarong- a wraparound—as a mark of respect. Out of curiosity, I requested one of the Ubud residents to allow me to enter into their compound as every house seemed like a temple, and lo behold, it did look like one! Almost every house has elaborate temple- like structures, with separate altars for every idol, like Surya/Aditya, Goddess Saraswati etc, and an offering of flowers, incense and fruit before every idol.
Rice Terrace farms are spectacular and one can even go on exploring the country side on rented bikes, it’s a very common sight to see Europeans explore the island on two-wheeler or by foot. Cosy cubicles adorn the edges of the terrace fields where one can have whiff of country air and sip on Bali coffee, at leisure.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Parkor GWK in Bali is a venue for every occasion where one gets to watch the spectacular Kecak dance performance. The artists enacted the episode of Ravana abducting Sita, with the trance-like uttering ‘kecak-kecak’ which gives a surreal ambiance that makes you almost dizzy. Knowing the language helps you enjoy better. Very close to this place is the Uluwatu beach, which is a hub for sea sports, like surfing and para sailing.
I would say icing on the cake was the Tanah-lot, beach and temple located on the cliff-top. Stunning views of sunset and the majestic tides would leave anyone speechless. It’s hard to escape café Murni in Ubud, which is known for authentic Indonesian food and an array of delicious cakes & deserts. If the taste of vegetable Satay lingers on your taste buds for long, the three storied aesthetically designed restaurant takes a permanent place in your heart!
After Bali, Lombok Island is all game for those looking for privacy and loads of ‘raw’ nature! Lombok is less explored and more exciting for adventures like trekking, cycling, etc. One can opt for 6 hour cruise or hour’s flight from Bali’s NgurahRai international airport. Pristine beaches like Mawun, Kuta, TanjungRingitt, Cemara will tie down the tourists who are seen lazing around beyond sunset. Those having fascination for pearls, mother -of –pearl, could go to authentic shops where a certificate is also given.
A stark difference between Bali and Lombok, is that the former looks like God’s Paradise, teeming with art, architecture, culture and creativity, while the latter‘s a sheer natural miracle!