Monday, August 16, 2010

Travel & Leisure : Touring Bali's Temples

T+L heads to Bali in search of some of the island’s most authentic experiences.

“And now we drink,” said the priest. The holy water came from deep within the cave in which we knelt. The priest, or mangku, had collected it in a rusty bucket left under a dripping stalactite. The cave was discovered five centuries ago by the Javanese priest Nirartha, progenitor of Bali’s particular strain of Shaivite Hinduism. In my sarong, sash, and headdress, I had nibbled the devotional rice, stuck a few grains on my forehead and solar plexus, assembled offerings, and prayed until my folded legs tingled on the cold cavern floor.

The mangku rang a bell and asked for blessings upon my wife and me. He spoke Kawi, the ancient language of poets and priests, in the rapid-fire patter of an auctioneer. The only words I understood were “hotel” and “Alila.”

Every Bali resort worth its hand-harvested salt has a slate of edifying cultural activities, but the Alila Villas Uluwatu goes several steps beyond. Filling a dense handbook, Alila’s roster of “Journeys” offers a more immersive experience than the average guest perhaps requires. You want to learn to play the gamelan? Practice djamoe medicine? Carve stone? Talk to the concierge.

Full article By Peter Jon Lindberg


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Bali Villas said...

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