Bali is an amazing place and I dont mean its people or its weather or its clean beaches and streets. The fact that in the predominantly Islamic state of Indonesia, this little island of tranquility has a population which is 87% Hindu . And it is visible and how!
In front of every house, shop, hotel, or any business establishment there is a temple which has a sarong in black and white checks tied around it. Everyday every member of the house does his pooja before he leaves for work. Made ( pronounced Maadhey) our driver for the four days we were at the Grand Livio carried his little basket of offerings in the car we were traveling. Yet he is also practical. On one turn the little basket flew off the dashboard and landed at the feet of my brother in law. When we got off, he collected the stuff and put it in a garbage bin!
No chucking it on the road to clean out the car!
Every traffic island in all the heavy populated areas of Ubud and Kuta has these very well sculpted statues of gods and goddesses from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The one that struck me as really artistic and unusual was the one where Ghatotkach (son of Bheema) was shown battling Karna (a stepbrother to the Pandavas, the son of Surya , the Sun god,)
The sculpture is stunning in its shape and size. Statues of Ganesha dot the landscape while the highest statue on Bali is that of Garuda carrying Vishnu on his back at the Garuda Vishnu Kenchana enroute to Pecatu.
We witness the Kecak dance at the live Uluwatu temple where prayers are held regularly. The dance tells the story of Sita apharan(kidnapping) from Dandakaranya, the presence of Hanuman, the battle with Ravana, the and his death.
The show had everyone enthralled—people from other countries could follow the story as they had been given printed leaflets with a brief outline of what was being enacted
Made(Madhey) told us he recited the gayatri mantra three times in the day. He is a happy smiling person who laughs and jokes about Hindi movies and loves Preety Zinta and Madhuri Dixit. Of course , he thinks Shah Rukh Khan is ‘very handsome’
He wants to visit India with a pretty girl (not his wife!!). He nudges my 80 year old brother-in-law, asking him if he would like to come along!
At this he has us in splits!