ASIA

A Cremation Ceremony – Ubud, Bali

The Balinese view the cremation of a loved one as a time of celebration and go to great expense to ensure the dead have a suitable send-off.  The principle purpose of the Ngaben or Pitra Yadyna ceremony, as it is called in Bali, is to release the soul of a dead person so that it can enter the upper realm. The local people are usually willing to allow respectful foreign guests to experience this unique way of sending off the deceased to the next life.

One of the surprising things is that the person who is being cremated may have already been dead for a number of years. The deceased’s family will save until they can afford the cremation ceremony. The Ngaben is the most important event in a persons life (or death) in Bali and no expense is spared.

Ubud Cremation Ceremony

During my stay in Bali I was fortunate to meet wonderful friendly people and to gain some insight into their personal lives. I felt honoured when my guide invited me to attend a cremation ceremony in Ubud. All members of the deceased’s family, plus friends and associates attend an Ngaben. Attendees include everyone, from the very young to the very old. This amazing event afforded me the opportunity to take a multitude of photos of the interesting people of Bali.

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Young

Cremation ceremonies in Bali entail carrying the deceased for considerable distances to open air crematoriums. The procession tends to be crowded but I undertook to follow it through the streets of Ubud. I am glad I did.

As the Ngaben parade wound its way up the street towards the cremation site I found an elevated spot from which to view the proceedings. These two boys and their mother were kind enough to give me an overview of the event unfolding before us.

Bali Cremation Ceremony

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Captivating

All the ladies attending the cremation were dressed in colourful skirts and beautiful white tops. This young lady had a most captivating smile.

Bali Cremation Ceremony

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Interesting

Men attending a Bali cremation ceremony wear their finest traditional clothing and head dress.Bali Traditional Clothing

Bali Ngaben Parade

Bali Cremation Parade

Bali Cremation Tower

The body of the deceased is placed in an ornate sculptured cow and carried through the streets on a funeral tower.

Bali Cremation Bull

Bali Sacred Cremation Cow

The sacred Ngaben cow or Lembu is made of bamboo and wood. During the official burning of the body, both the Lembu and and tower are set alight. Gas burners are used to increase the intensity of the fire to ensure the body is cremated correctly.Bali Cremation Tower

Taman Ujung Water Palace, Karangasem, Bali

Ujung Water Palace

The Ujung Water Palace or Taman Sukasada Ujung is one of my favourite attractions in Bali. This beautiful sprawling complex is located in the village of Seraya in the Karangasem regency of Bali. I highly recommend visiting for the following reasons:

  1. The palace and surrounding grounds are spotlessly clean and well maintained.
  2. The gardens are lush and superbly manicured.
  3. The ponds are clean and teeming with fish.
  4. The palace is close to the foot of an imposing but picturesque Mount Agung.
  5. Furthermore, the wonderful reflections of the buildings off the water are a photographers dream.
  6. Finally, the palace is far enough away from the main tourist areas to keep away large crowds.

Ujung Water Palace

Taman Ujung Panorama

The palace buildings are built around and on three large ponds. The principle structure is set in the middle of the main pond and is accessed via two ornate pedestrian bridges. The palace is no longer inhabited but has been maintained in pristine condition.

Taman Ujung Panorama

Taman Ujung Water Palace Gardens

The sprawling manicured gardens are immaculately maintained and the walled terraces add to the ambience. The paths and steps that are set amongst the gardens take hours to explore and lead to a number of enchanting viewing spots.

Taman Ujung Water Palace Gardens

Taman Ujung Palace Landscape

Mount Agung provides a spectacular background to the Taman Ujung Palace. Sadly, there is a downside to this seemingly serene setting. The palace was almost entirely destroyed by the eruption of the mountain in 1963 and subsequently by an earthquake in 1975.Taman Ujung Palace Landscape

Gili Bale Building, Taman Ujung Palace

The main building is named Gili Bale. It has an abundance of windows with views of the pond, garden and nearby mountain. The palace buildings were designed by Dutch architect van Den Hentz and, thus, have a decidedly European feel to them. on a final note, I have been warned to beware of large crowds at weekends.

Gili Bale Building, Ujung Palace

Sunrise at Kusamba Beach, Bali

Kusamba Village

This is my second post on Bali Click Here for a link to the previous post.

Following a day of rest and relaxation at my Legian hotel it was time to start exploring the Island of Bali. My local guide, Kasa, collected me from the lobby at the unearthly hour of four a.m. We then headed off through the densely populated suburbs of Denpasar. After almost an hour we arrived at our first destination of the day, Kusamba Village and Beach. Although it was still dark, I immediately saw the promising photographic opportunities. This would be an excellent opportunity to watch the world around me come to life and hopefully get some quality sunrise photos.

Kusamba Village Salt Farming Shack

Kusamba is situated about fifteen minutes from Semarapura City in the Klungkung Regency. The beach consists of black volcanic sand. This coarse dark sand has been the principle deterrent to the development of tourism in the area.

Life in the village continues as it has for centuries with fishing, short haul ferrying of goods and salt farming the principle activities.

Kusamba Salt Farming Shack

Kusamba Short Haul Merchants

Kusamba’s proximity to the outlying islands makes it the perfect place for merchants to base themselves. Each morning villagers fill small boats with goods and ferry these to the nearby islands of Nusa Penida and Lombok. The rest of this post chronicles the start of the day at Kusamba.

Kusamba Beach Sunrise

Kusamba Village Merchandise

Villagers are up before sunrise and manually haul a variety of goods to the beach. Merchandise included water, gas in bottles, dry goods plus fruit and vegetables. There were even bags of volcanic beach sand that is used for home building.

Kusamba Village Merchants

Kusamba Villager

The busy local folk often start the day by hauling merchandise to the waiting fleet of small merchant boats. Many will then go fishing or harvest salt in order to make ends meet.

Kusamba Villager

Kusamba Boat Launch

I was amazed at the amount of product that was loaded into the small boats and the skill of the villagers in launching these flimsy looking craft.

Kusamba Beach Boat

Traditional Jukung Fishing Boat

A Jukung or Cadik is a small wooden Indonesian outrigger canoe. Jukungs are powered by a single cloth sail which can be backed up by a small outboard motor. These graceful vessels are plentiful in Bali and are generally used for fishing. However, they can also be used to carry goods to close-by islands.Kusamba Beach Sunrise

Early Morning at Kusamba Village

The black sand of the beach provided an excellent background to fresh and dry goods waiting to be loaded on a small merchant boat.

Kusamba Beach