Bali (day 4)
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
We had a relaxing morning in the hotel. After breakfast, we went for a swim followed by a massage at the hotel’s spa. The massage was good and it met my expectations of a Balinese spa.
At 2PM, Antara and Andy from Nathan tours greeted us at the lobby. Today we had another half day tour to Pura Luhur Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Uluwatu. The trip north to Tanah Lot from Seminyak took around 1 hour. Tanah Lot isn’t too far from our hotel, but narrow Bali roads and weekday macet (Indonesian: traffic jam) contributed to the slow travelling time.
When we arrived in Tanah Lot, it was slightly drizzling. For your information, all temples in Bali have a “Pura” prefix to their names, bigger templates have a “Luhur” prefix too. Pura means temple (in Jawa they use the word candi instead e.g. Candi Borobudur), while Luhur could be translated to sublime or elevated/grand.
There are a number of temples in the Tanah Lot area, but the main temple is Pura Luhur Tanah Lot. The temple is situated on a massive off-shore rock. It was built in the 15th century by the Hindu priest Nirartha. We couldn’t go near the temple as it was high tide. Most of the tourists took photos from the nearby rocks.
From Tanah Lot, we headed south to Uluwatu. The trip took 2 hours, mainly due to traffic. We arrived at 6PM, just in time for the Kecak dance performance. The ticket for the Kecak dance was 70,000 Rupiah per person (USD6, RM20). The temple was built by the Javanese Hindu guru Empu Kuturan in the 10th century.
I have heard many things about the Kecak dance, however it still didn’t prepare me for the actual performance. The energetic performance, with its sunset backdrop, gave it a surreal feeling. It has no instruments, all sounds were made from human voices. Watch the video above. You can feel the energy of the performance.
Historically, Kecak is based from an old Balinese ritual called sanghyang – a trance dance performed by repetitive chanting. In the old days, the sanghyang is used to communicate the wishes of the gods or of the ancestors.
Around the 1930s, when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony, a German visitor suggested a more “tourist” friendly dance based on the sanghyang but without the spiritualistic aspects. Using the Hindu Ramayana epic as the base storyline, the modern Kecak was created.
As per the original epic, the Kecak storyline centers around the story of Rama and Sita. A pamphlet is handed out at the beginning of the show to those who are not familiar with the Hindu epic. All in all, it was a fantastic 1 hour show. I have never seen anything more enchanting.
From Uluwatu, we headed back to Seminyak. For dinner, we had Japanese fusion food at a restaurant along Jalan Oberoi. After that, we took a stroll along Jalan Kayu Aya. Aliaa did some window shopping before we went back to the hotel.