This message is in relation to NOW! Bali’s May 2018 issue, called “Ten Temple Tales”. It is a continuation of our efforts to remind everyone , especially first time visitors, of the importance that religion has in the life of the Balinese. Unlike many western countries (and some eastern as well) where religion has been relegated to a once a week (or perhaps once a year) visit to a church or place of worship, the Balinese Hindus have a constant stream of services, ceremonies and rituals which they have to perform.
But it is the temples themselves which have a really powerful and inspiring atmosphere and are very much worth visiting. Their unique architecture and layout has serious significance and should be read up about, and the whole process of worship is complex and fascinating (and will not be able to be understood in a single trip!)
But as you visit the main temples at Uluwatu and Tanah Lot, and you really should do that, remember that they are active and sacred places of worship, not tourism sites, and should be treated with respect and correct behaviour. Your fascination with the dress, the offerings, the processions and the rituals should not become intrusive or offensive as you try to capture that marvellous picture.
And while you are there, wondering just why the Balinese are so religious and dedicated, think also why you are not (unless you are, in which case apologies!). There is a real reason that religions exist: to balance and correct our lives, to remind us that to those that believe there is a hidden, supreme being, to help us understand why we are here, and what we face after this short life is over. So please take a moment to stand, think, wonder, understand and be amazed at our extraordinary existence in this marvellous world.
Welcome to Bali , Island of the Gods.
Alistair G. Speirs, OBE