Soulful and Serene in Bali

Bali is known as the “Island of Gods” and once you get, you realize why.  Quite simply, it feels different on the island, as if there’s a divine peacefulness that blankets the place.  You can especially feel it when you find a quiet place and gaze at the sunset, visit a Hindu temple or meditate near the Ayung River.  Bali is the most spiritual place I’ve ever been and it was beautiful thing to watch locals make daily offerings called canang sari.  These small baskets are everywhere… you see them sitting on sidewalks, on doorsteps, on top of shrines, next to statues and even inside trees… basically any spot that the Balinese hold sacred.  Quite simply, as I understand it, the offerings are meant to show reverence to god and can be seen as a sign of thankfulness, good luck and even protection (some offerings are placed at the corners of intersections to ward off accidents).

The baskets are made out of natural elements (typically banana or palm leafs) and filled with flowers, fruit, money and sometimes candy to give back what has been given to you.  The majority of Balinese are Hindu and their culture and religion is strongly influenced by animism and naturalism, where spirits are in all objects and elements of life.  For example, Balinese-Hindus honor everything from the rice fields, to the trees and the ocean because they believe it’s important to maintain a good relationship between people and spirits.

This trip was all about healing and I was lucky enough to visit one of the most sacred sites on the island: Pura Tirta Empul, a water temple, where for more than a thousand years, locals have come to bathe and cleanse their body and soul.  Safe to say I felt refreshed and purified by the end of this special trip.

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Me, my brother Cory and Erika at Pura Tirta Empul wearing our sarongs (appropriate dress) before entering the temple

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Bathing in the holy spring

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Praying after bathing in the holy spring

 

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Offering (canang sari) at the base of a tree

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Ornate decoration inside the temple

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Statues and umbrellas outside temple

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Balinese-Hindus preparing for a ceremony at the temple

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My brother, Cory standing inside Pura Tirta Empul

 

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