Jarna Kantaria's honeymoon trip to Bali made her fall in love with the rich local culture, not to mention the bonhomie of the inhabitants, who live in harmony with nature as well as mankind
Sometimes we wonder if a holiday really makes a difference to our lives. Because, after all, we would be coming back to our same old routine—the same job, the same boss, the same commute.
However, when we do decide to pack our bags and travel, we realise how beautiful this planet is and how minuscule we are, considering the bigger picture. And this was confirmed on my first international trip—my honeymoon in Bali.
Bali is an island in Indonesia, rich in cultural values. It’s huge temple/mythological sculptures, paintings, wood crafting, as well as modern dance forms are all enchanting and mesmerising.
We were lucky enough to have a wonderful guide, a local, who helped us experience the best of Bali. We visited a few Balinese temples like Goa Gaja, Tanah Lot, and Uluwatu. One of the interesting conversations with our guide was about the temple structures in Bali. He explained to us that a pura (Balinese for temple) consists of three mandalas:
Nista mandala (outermost courtyard)
Madya mandala (central courtyard)
Utama mandala (innermost courtyard)
The outermost mandala is usually used for religious dance performances and acts, mainly looking like a garden area. Madya mandala is used for temple support activities. And the Utama mandala is the most sacred zone, typically consisting of an idol or a Dhyana place. It is said that an individual may wander with their thoughts when in the outermost mandala, experience a certain level of calmness in the Madya mandala, and in the Utama mandala, focus and completely devote themself to God, for that’s the most sacred zone in the temple. Many saints chose Utama mandala to meditate for days!
Our conversation then took another interesting turn when we casually remarked about how beautifully Bali had maintained its greenery. Our guide informed us that there are three relationships to which they give utmost importance:
1. Man with God
2. Man with nature
3. Man with man
They maintain the relationship between man and God by praying three times a day. Also, each house has a family temple, constructed outside it.
They retain and nurture nature with utmost dedication.
To nurture man to man relations, the locals live in harmony by helping one another. For instance, if there is a marriage in their locality, they voluntarily help with the cooking, serving, decorations, and other marriage activities as they believe in giving more than receiving.
I was simply in awe of these beliefs. And the locals proved these in their customary behaviour too. For instance, to cross the toll roads in Bali, it is mandatory to have a card and swipe a certain amount. Since we didn't have one, we took the help of a biker behind us and swiped his card. And guess what? He was not ready to accept the swipe amount. This happened not just once but most of the times.
The next thing worth mentioning is that I have never seen so many smiling faces in one place. Be it a neighbouring person, tour guide, a helper, or a passer-by. If we made eye contact they simply smiled—a most genuine smile—and that made our day. For even if something went wrong with our deviations in the itinerary, somehow, someone's smile made us a little less bothered about it. My husband bought a few items only because someone simply smiled and was graciously offering their services.
Bali stories would be incomplete without mentioning mythology. Bali has adopted Hindu epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata into their own local culture. Each road convergence depicts mythological figures or stories in the form of gigantic sculptures, adding more beauty to their clean roads.
Bali also has the cleanest of beaches where we relaxed and soaked ourselves in Mother Nature.
I took back with me so many smiles, feeling deeply peaceful, having left behind all my worries. I can feel a shift within—a lighter and brighter soul! I urge you all to travel, maybe for a day or two if not more. We never know what we may come back with.
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