Most of bali's ancient remains and artifacts are to be found in the narrow region bounded by two holy rivers, the Pekerisan and the Petanu. Crossing the Petanu river immedietely to the east of Peliatan on the road to Bedulu, the mysterious Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) is just visible on the lower side of the road. The Cave's gaping mouth is fantastically carved with leaves, rocks, animals, waves and demons, and when it was discovered in 1923 these carving were apparently mistaken for an elephant.
A woodcarving village where you will witness the woodcarvers chip an intricate design out of piece of wood - teak wood, mahogany, sandalwood bony, hybiscus, etc.
The Barong is the magical protector of Balinese villages. As "lord of the
forest" with fantastic fanged mask and long mane, he is the opponent of Rangda
the witch, who rules over the spirits of darkness, in the never ending fight
between good and evil. During the Galungan Kuningan festivals, the Barong (there
are many types, including barong ket, barong macan, and barong bangkal) wanders
from door to door (nglawang) cleansing the territory of evil influences.
The fight between Barong and Rangda is also the topic of traditional narratives, usually performed in the temple of the dead. The most famous is the story of Calonarang, a widow from Jirah who is furious because she cannot find a suitable husband for her daughter Ratna Manggali. All the eligible young men are scared of her black magic, so she gets revenge by wreaking havoc over the kingdom of Daha. The king, Erlangga, tries to punish her, but all his attempts fail. She kills all the soldiers he sends to destroy her. Then Rangda decides to destroy Daha. She summons all her disciples and in the still of night they go to the Setra Gendrainayu cemetery, to present offerings of dead flesh to Durga, the goddess of death. Durga agrees to the destruction, although she warns the witch not to enter the city of Daha.
But the witch does not heed Durga's advice and the kingdom is soon hit by grubug (a plague) and the villages quickly become cemeteries, people dying even before they can bury their dead. Corpses are scattered everywhere and the stench is unbearable.
The only person who can defeat the witch is Mpu Bharadah. At the king's request, Bharadah sends his disciple Bahula to steal Calonarang's magic weapon. Bahula pretends to ask for Ratna Manggali's hand in marriage, and while the witch is away, Bahula steals the magic weapon with the help of Ratna Manggali. Then he gives the stolen weapon to his teacher Bharadah. The weapon turns out to be a manuscript containing the key to ultimate release (moksa) which has been used upside-down by Calonarang.
Bharadah goes to Daha to challenge the witch. With the help of the Barong, she is defeated. Before being killed, she asks to be released from her curse and purified.
In the Barong play, Bali's mythical guardian, Barong, battles Rangda, the demon - Queen. barong's supporters are a group of Balinese men with the natural ability to enter a trance state. They are armed with a kris ( traditional sword). Rangda insults Barong and taunts the men- enraged and in a trance they attack her! But her powers are so strong that they are knocked out. When they come to they are so distressed by their failure, that they try to impale themselves on their kris. But their trance state amazingly protects them from injury.
Located at the slope of the highest and sacred Mount Agung, Besakih serves as the most important temple and the pinnacle of the sacred to the balinese of which people count as "Mother Temple" of Bali. Besakih is a huge complex of temples. The main one being Pura Penataran Agung, which has a large three-seated shrine to brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa.
The still smoking peaks of Mount Batur stretch up in the middle of a huge
volcanic crater basin. Long black streams of lava from recent eruptions stretch
down towards the lake below, and curtain of mist and cloud sweep the basin in
ever changing configurations, causing dramatic disappearances of the whole
panorama into gray nothingness. On the furthest shore of the lake is the
isolated Bali Age (ancient Bali) village of dances where the villages abide by
original Balinese customs. Burial is not practiced there; they simply lay their
dead out in a ravine and leave them
In the 1926 during a violent eruption of this mountain, the original village of Batur at the southern foot of the mountain was totally destroyed. The people unharmed but homeless, moved up into the high ridge overlooking their original homes, and began the task of rebuilding their temple, pura Ulun Danu. Work on this temple on the island. Its stark meru towers stand out against the backdrop of smoking volcano.
Sri Mariamman Temple (244 South Bridge Road, Chinatown) is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Its site was acquired in 1823 by Narayan Pillai, a clerk of the East India Company who had accompanied Sir Stamford Raffles to Singapore. Historical evidence suggests that by 1827 a wood and thatched temple stood here. By 1862-63 the present structure had been constructed. It has, however, undergone several renovations over the years; the last one took place in 1996. Since its foundation the Temple has occupied a unique place in the life of the Hindu community in Singapore and has been gazetted as a National Monument by the Government. It has been used as a place of lodging for new immigrants (till 1900s) and as a Registry for Births and Death. The Temple Committee has helped settle disputes between community-members, and more recently has played an important role in promoting arts, literacy and Tamil education.
The Temple is dedicated to Sri Mariamman, a manifestation of the Great Goddess, worshipped for health and prosperity. Sri Mariamman is popular in Southern India where goddesses are addressed as amman ('mother'). Given the large South Indian community in Singapore, temples dedicated to the Goddess and deities popular in South India dominate the landscape.