I was at Ulun Danu Keberatan Temple between noon and 1.30pm on 24 September 2016. First of all, I was happy that I was lucky enough to visit Bali during the tail-end of the Galungan Festival, one of the most important festivals in Bali. You can read more about the Galungan Festival in an earlier blog post of mine about visiting Uluwatu on my first day in Bali.
Just before we left the temple, we saw a long procession of Balinese ladies and men in their traditional attire, walking towards the paduraksa or kori agung, the roofed tower gate that opened into the inner sanctum of the temple complex, the utama mandala (jero). I thought we were really lucky, because we did not know there was going to be a procession at 1.00pm, but there it was, coming towards us!
The lady at the head of the procession was dressed in a white Balinese kebaya embroidered with beautiful multi-coloured flowers. She balanced a tall package of boxes tied up in a plastic bag on her head with ease, and held an umbrella in one hand.
In fact, all the ladies had mastered the art of balancing various objects on their head, and could walk gracefully without holding the things with their hands. They were carrying stuff hands-free! 🙂
The procession was complete with musicians wearing matching outfits. They were beating drums of various sizes and shapes. There was even the Balinese version of cymbals.
Next, a grand Balinese procession would not be complete without an assortment of flags, spears and poles with ornaments.
Groups of ladies in colour-coordinated matching Balinese kebayas carried offerings already arranged on trays on their heads.
Some of the offerings were quite fancy-looking, with tassels and all.
Some of the ceremonial offerings were quite elaborate, requiring two to four people to carry them on small litters or mini ‘sedan chairs’.
A few groups of musicians were interspersed with the people carrying offerings.
This particular group of musicians seemed to be a complete traditional gamelan group, and they were actually playing their music while walking! Each gong was transported on a pole carried by two people.
The musicians even carried the largest gong. Wow, it looked very heavy!
All in all, it was wonderful being able to see the beauty of Balinese culture in action, and we had a blast the whole time we were there.