Uluwatu Temple-Bali

Uluwatu on the cliff

After a relaxing day at the beach and the pool, we ate an early Thanksgiving dinner of mozzarella-stuffed, prosciutto covered pork, gnocchi with vegetables and spaghetti and bread. It was a pretty good Thanksgiving dinner substitute, and I hope to be able to have some turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie at a later date to make up for missing a traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

After dinner, we headed out to the Uluwatu Hindu temple which is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Before we could enter, we were given bright yellow sashes to wear. Others who were not wearing longer shorts or pants were given purple sarongs to cover themselves. It is situated on the west side of the island, so we watched the sunset into the ocean from the cliffs. With the last remaining moments of light, we briefly explored the temple. A group of worshipers were performing ceremonies in the interior of the temple and we were not allowed to enter through the gates, but we could see them making offerings there.
Near the top of the stairs- the stadium with the dance performance is in the background

The temple complex itself was spread out into different areas. We climbed several sets of stairs, crossed some construction areas, and dodged monkeys in order to see as many parts of it as we could. The picture to the left Landon dubbed the “Hyatt House” because he thought it looked like a cabana like the ones they had at the Ritz that he really liked, which is where he started calling these types of structures “Hyatt Houses”. It is important to note that when we are in the Chicago area we stay at the Hyatt house, so this phrase is very familiar to him. Anyway, we thought it was funny.

Instead of seeing the rest of the temple, we had to come down these stairs to chase
Landon who was going after the monkeys…

Family pic- our sashes coordinate really well with Landon’s shirt color!

Austin says the landscape reminds him of Big Sur, CA

No wonder the temple looks old! It was built in the 11th century and is one of nine directional temples that are supposed to protect Bali from evil spirits. Because of the numerous tourists, distraction of the monkeys and the lack of time before the show, we did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked, but it was still interesting to see the old architecture and a working temple that is still being used today.

Love my boys!

Landon gave such a sweet smile for dad and then decided
to practice squeezing his eyes shut for my pic!
Monkey eating an offering-our driver in the background
Landon WOULD NOT turn around with a monkey behind
him to pose for the photo

Landon’s favorite part of the whole temple experience would have to be the monkeys. Our driver warned us about them, and since we hired him for the whole excursion, he said he would come in and “protect” us from the monkeys.  I think they were macaques, and there were lots of them all over the place! We would want to go one way to explore the temple, and then Landon would sprint off in the opposite direction going after a monkey. For the most part, they just sat around and looked at the people going by, but everyone and awhile we saw one doing something naughty. There was a man resting on the side of a planter with his glasses on his forehead. A monkey came over and quickly nabbed the glasses off his head and ran away with them. Almost immediately, a lady who worked there came over with a basket of snacks and threw snacks at the monkey until he relinquished the glasses and went off to enjoy his snacks. We also saw a few baby monkeys wrestling just like siblings would! They were all very cute, but not aggressive towards us, which was nice. 

Monkey siblings wrestling
Entrance gate to wear they were worshipping

Balinese Hinduism seems to be much different than the Hinduism that we saw in India. For one thing, there are little shrines and temples all over the place. On the side of the road, in rice fields, etc. Each family has a family temple as a part of their housing compound (more on that in a later post). They use white and black or red and black checkered fabric to clothe the temples/sculptures to indicate a spirit resides inside, and shade them from the sun with parasols. The checkered fabric is considered sacred. They give them offerings in little dishes made of bamboo shavings or reeds that include fruit, flowers, and crackers. Sometimes they have incense in them as well. They mix Hindu religion that they got from India in the 5th or 6th century and combined it with animism- or thinking that there are spirits in inanimate objects. They also revere Buddhist figures. There are different ceremonies that they participate in over their life span as well. A Hindu priest or worshiper takes a paint brush and flicks water in some of the ceremonies and offerings. On a run along the beach around sunrise, I saw a worshiper making offerings to the ocean. One major plus of Bali being Hindu is it is a lot cleaner than Java. The Balinese respect the earth much more and want to preserve its natural beauty. It probably doesn’t hurt that there are a bunch of tourists who would not like it as much if it was dirty. At any rate, Bali is clean and has trash cans all over so that is great!

Watching sunset


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