Selasa, 16 Juni 2009

Journey on the Path of Enlightenment: secrets of Bali‚s Bukit

One very unique activity that Alila Villas Uluwatu (Uluwatu, T: 0361 848 2166, is soon to offer guests when they open officially in June this year is the opportunity to retread the footsteps of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Hindu priest widely recognised as being the first person of importance to visit the Bukit region of Bali in the 15th century.

The one-day 'Journey of Enlightenment' affords privileged access to five of the holiest and lesser-visited temples on Bali's south coast where guests can join the temple priests in prayer and learn more about the incredible voyage of discovery that Dang Hyang Nirartha undertook as well as gain insightful background on the largely undocumented history of the Bukit.

The journey commences with a visit to one of the most sacred sites on Bali - Pura Gong, otherwise known as 'The Temple of the Gong' so called for the central stalactite in the cave that resonates musically when struck by the priest. It was Dang Hyang Nirartha's curiosity about the source of the spring water on the Bukit that led to the discovery of the cave - home to what is today considered to be Bali's most sacred supply of holy water.

Pura Gunung Payung (or The Temple of the Parasol) is the next stop, situated at the southernmost tip of the Bukit overlooking the stunning natural beaches of Payung. It is said that Dang Hyang Nirartha, whilst in distress from choking, struck the limestone ground here with his parasol and drew two natural springs from the ground, one coloured yellow and the other white to represent Buddha and Siwa respectively. The waters are rumored to possess curative values and are, to this day, used for ceremonies in the nearby temple. It is at this temple location that guests pause for a traditional Indonesian lunch in a kabana perched on the cliffs high above the swirling Indian Ocean before departing to Nusa Dua and 'The Temple of Amazing Occurrences'.

Pura Geger has to be one of the most serene temples in Bali where Dang Hyang Nirartha entered a deep meditative period under the local Sawo tree and was witnessed to physically expand beyond normal human capabilities - hence the name 'The Temple of Amazing Occurrences'. The natural peacefulness of this temple site is attributed to the tradition that Pura Geger is the resting spot of the Gods who travel to Bali from far and wide to partake in temple ceremonies and festivals. Many Balinese visit the temple to pray for prosperity and safety whilst the God Sedahan is said to guard the natural spring in the cave underneath the main temple complex.

Pura Uluwatu is the penultimate stop on the 'Journey of Enlightenment' and is where the pilgrimage of Dang Hyang Nirartha came to an end as the High Priest shed his natural human form and achieved a conscious death nearest to the home of the God Baruna, Guardian of the Southern Seas.The final temple on the tour is located on the peaceful shores of Balangan Beach, about twenty minutes from Uluwatu. Pura Gunung Cenggiling (or The Temple of Remembrance) was named as such when Dang Hyang Nirartha, whilst resting in the cave, suddenly recalled that he had forgotten some very important Lontar documents containing information on Hindu rites that he planned to pass onto his children. Dispatching an aide back to the village of Mas on the mainland he rested at the exact same location that guests on 'Journey of Enlightenment' visit, as afternoon tea is served and the sun sets majestically over the Bali horizon.

The experience is unlike any other organised temple tour on the island and is a relaxed undertaking in the company of the knowledgeable and friendly Alila guides. Guests on the 'Journey of Enlightenment' are provided with sarongs and full Balinese dress, the tour takes approximately seven hours with all transport and refreshments supplied. The journey is a truly magical and enlightening experience.



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