Bali 2022-3 Temples

Like our home city of choice, Chiang Mai, Ubud is renowned for its temples. So our next mission is to visit some, like proper tourists.

First, the famous Saraswati temple. Feast your senses on the lotus ponds in the front. At the main gate, we find a cluster of pilgrims who have come for a special festival of some sort, resting between rutual duties. (Top photo). The gate is capped with an sculpture of the Barong, the guardian forest-spirit of the island. Images of the goddess Saraswati do not prevail.

Actually, unlike the wildly diverse temples around Chiang Mai, all the Balinese temple designs seem pretty similar. Or so it seems as we walk from one to the next. Maybe subtler differences are lost on my uneducated eye. The gardens, however, are ever enticing. This is at the nearby Ubud Palace.

This is a central tourist destination, and the street is busy with traffic. Walking around becomes tiresome amidst the noise and heat. Esso complains: when I see pictures of Bali, I see beautiful nature, not this crowd. I wish we were somewhere quiet!

I respond to my lover’s wishes by turning off the main street, onto an unmarked pathway. Five minutes after her complaint, we are here:

Egrets feeding in the rice paddy

And as a special bonus, our path is shared with a local farmer. From the way she carriers the load, it seems effortless, but when I get a peek at it, it’s a pile of mud-clods—I assume rice seedlings going to be transplanted. It must weigh 20 kilos!

I am quite pleased with myself for being able to discover this experience, so close to the center of the city. (Thanks, Google maps)

Later, we come to another temple to witness the famous Kecak dance. I have seen it before, and was very impressed. That was why I wanted to share it with Esso. The second time for me, I am more impressed with the coordinated effort of the 100 or so men than I am with the dancers.

And then the fire dance, which I remember as a profound shamanic experience, seems anticlimactic. The shaman seems old (is it the same man, 9 years later? is the tradition dying out?). I didn’t feel the Otherworldliness of it.

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