Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Bali & Borobudur – 3

On Monday the 15th June we got up late and went on a half-day tour that started in late morning.  Our first visit was to Nasa Dua beach which is famous for beach-side adventure sports like windsurfing, Para sailing, Jet Ski and scuba diving and for snorkeling cruises.  But our purpose was not to engage in any of these activities but only to  watch others engage in these and also to travel in the glass-bottomed boat to the nearby island of Tanjung Benoa and visit the turtle farm there. Getting into the rocking motor boat from the beach-side itself was a big adventure for us.  As the boat slowed down and stopped to let us feed the fishes and  watch the sea-bed through the glass-bottom in the middle of the sea, it began to rock fiercely making Rajam regret why we opted for this trip.  But when the boat picked up speed, the tossing lessened and getting down on the island side was comparatively easier.

In the island apart from turtles there are other  creatures like bats, snakes, porcupines, chameleon, hawks and birds all tamed  and in enclosures. We can touch and hold them.  Getting near to the hundred and odd year old turtles and handling them besides handling and patting other wild species made this trip worthwhile. After spending an hour in the island we returned to the mainland in the motorboat.  The return journey was an enjoyable 20 minute ride.

From there we went to Uluwatu temple which is famous for its location on a cliff top, 70 metres above sea level. A small forest lies at the front and a number of monkeys dwell there.  These are a bit mischievous as compared to the ones in the monkey forest.  They have a fascination for sun-glasses, cameras and mobile phones and we also encountered one who lost  his sun-glasses to a monkey that abandoned it in multiple pieces. There are sign boards warning visitors of monkeys and their attraction for sun glasses and cameras of all types.  They abound the coastal way which is a long one but quite scenic.  So we took off our glasses and used the camera also sparingly. The scenic serpentine path is fortified by concrete walls on the cliffside. The views from here of ocean horizon and of waters beating against the rocks down below are remarkable. Like Tanah Lot temple this temple is also famous for its sunset view.  A kechak dance is performed everyday at the cliff top stage every evening.  As it was only a half-day tour we didn’t stay to watch the sunset or Kechak dance.

Hindus here believe that  the divine powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva become one in Rudra here who is supposed to protect Bali from evil spirits and so this is a very important place of worship even now. The monkeys that abound here are supposed to protect the temple from bad influence.  Visitors must wear a sarong and sash even to enter the courtyard and they are not allowed in the shrine when group worship is going on. We could see number of people in groups visiting the temple in traditional attire and offering prayers.  So we could not enter the shrine. In their prayers they offer different colours of flowers and also chant the Gayatri Mantra.  

The next morning we toured the local markets after breakfast.  As we were leaving that day we didn’t go on any tour. The weather that has been sunny and warm previous three days changed and became cloudy with off and on rains.  So locally also we couldn’t explore much.  We left Bali with regrets that we didn’t plan a longer stay to enjoy the warmth and beauty of the place.