Shepherd Entertainment takes you on a tour of Bali in Indonesia.
All Balinese sanctuaries are built according to the same
plan. Nevertheless, there are never two alike. The buildings stand on two to three fenced courtyards.
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All Balinese sanctuaries are built according to the same plan. Nevertheless, there are never two alike. The buildings stand on two to three fenced courtyards. The main entrance is called the gate split in two and it consists of two pyramid shaped columns cut in half. At one of the corners, the belfry was built. People were summoned by the bell to village assemblies, weddings or festivals but it could signal danger as well, for example, fire. The front yard is the scene of social life. Celebrations and dance performances take place here. The kitchen is here and pilgrims are put up here in separate barracks. The inner church courtyard is called dalam. It’s always separated from the front yard by a high lavishly ornamented wall. It has two gates, one of which is for the priests and the other one is for the commons. The pagoda like towers are called meru, named after the holy mountain of the Hindus. The construction of its roof always consists of an odd number of levels. The number of levels is in direct correlation to the importance of the church. The most important ceremonies are always held near the back wall and the reliquaries are also placed here. A separate room is built for sacrificial gifts. In the sanctuaries, carved statues, reliefs, ornaments and almost everything are of religious importance. Everything is in harmony and according to the beliefs of people here. Devlish demons try to destroy this harmony, therefore, they constantly have to fight against them. This is done by prayers, sacrifices and gifts. The Balinese body of beliefs is quite complicated and an outsider doesn’t have the necessary overview. Foreigners are usually only allowed in the exterior yard of the churches. It’s only possible to progress further inwards on the occasion of festivals. The finesse of the Balinese is shown by their arts and crafts products. They use everything that nature provides them such as bamboo, sisal, reeds, sea grass and countless types of tropical trees. They’re masters of spinning, weaving and making textiles. They decorate their clothes with batik work, dyeing and beads and they chisel their jewels taking ancestral samples as models. Their everyday dress is simple but their festive costume is very ornate, not to mention the dancers’ clothes. They decorate not only their churches but they also take great pains in making their homes beautiful. They choose their furniture and decorations with great care. They often combine their masterfully carved furniture with wicker materials but also with glass and mirrors. Great attention is paid to the choice of the reliquaries which can be found in every home. These don’t contain the ashes of departed relatives as many European people may think as the local customs of death specify cremating the dead and strewing their ashes into the sea. In poor families, it sometimes happens that they bury their dead temporarily while they raise the money needed for cremation. Better late than never though and often at the cost of great hardships, they do pay the charges of cremation somehow because according to their belief, man’s soul can only purify itself of the sins accumulated during his earthly stay and get a new lease on life in a superior world if body and soul are purified by fire. The ceremony held with luxurious formalities and marine sanctuaries is a very important festival. They don’t mourn at that time, but celebrate the eternal circle of life, a segment of which has just closed. Seated in lotus position, the soul of the dead goes on its way towards eternal existence.