Bali Beauty – The Real Thing

Culture | Written By, Ayu Sekar |

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, yet go to any traditional Balinese ceremony or head out of the city and beauty is all around you.

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Temple ceremony days are the best places to see beautiful girls. This is the time when everyone dresses up in their best. Makeup, jewellery, all the most beautiful outfits come out on display. For those who live away from the city, temple time is the chance for display – ostensibly for the gods, but it is also the chance to meet friends and possible future husbands. It is the Balinese equivalent to the club, the bar, and all the other places that westerners may go to meet and socialise.

Accompanied by fabulous gamelan music, dance and prayer, it is a heady time, all experienced while in a state of grace.

Do try to enhance your Bali experience and get invited to a ceremony, it is an unforgettable insight into the real Bali and one that will expand your perceptions of the island and her people to new heights.

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Every village, every desa, has a temple ceremony or Odalan every 210 days and while some months are busier than others, not a week goes by without a ceremony somewhere. The bigger ones will sometimes have the appearance of a country fair, with food stalls and coffee readily available as well as souvenir sellers and other entertainment. The real entertainment though takes place within the temple grounds where it is put on for the gods who descend to the lower realms to be honoured. You may be lucky enough to see a kecak dance, or a beautiful stately rejang, or even a wayang puppet performance or one of a myriad of different authentic Balinese dances. Far from the tourist scene this is authentic Bali, not a performance to please the island’s visitors. It is the real thing.

It is indeed a time for the gods and we mere mortals are happy witnesses.

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Ayu Sekar

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