Blessings by the Pemangku

For days we have been seeing ever more extravagant offerings floating through town carefully balanced on the heads of ornately dressed women. Where are they going with these?

That unique culture and religious custom should continue to exist at all in this spot manhandled by an international influx of travelers is beyond comprehension. From the Dutch seafarers in the late 16th century, to the intrepid artsy types in the 1930s to the modern jet powered masses the people of Bali seem to have deflected homogenization like bamboo a storm, with a smile.

A temple not a hundred yards from tacky souvenir stalls appears to be the destination of the offerings. We clearly don’t belong, wrong outfit, no clue and limited language abilities …

After mulling around sharing friendly smiles with the temple guards we are invited to pick up sarong, sabuk and udeng from the guard house to fix one of our problems. A thoughtfully written English leaflet to instruct visitors to maintain a respectful decorum takes care of the rest.

The offerings are delivered and blessed in wave after wave with a hushed, happy and expectant atmosphere like a night before Christmas. The Hindu Dharma prevails for another season.

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(C) Photo: Katja

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