Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bali - 3

Parts 1 and 2 be found here and here.

The rest of the second day was spent in visiting a couple of temples and watching a performance of the Kecak dance. The first temple we visited was the Goa Gajah temple. Goa means cave and Gajah means elephant. So, it translates to Elephant Cave. There are carvings on many menacing looking creatures at the entrance of the cave and one of them is believed to be that of an elephant. Hence the name - Elephant Cave.

Like most temples in Bali, one has to be dressed in a traditional sarong (a wrap around) to enter the cave so as to respect the religious sentiments. Everyone is provided with a  sarong at the entrance (which is included in the 10000 rupiah entrance fee), which has to be returned later. It is said that this temple was built more than 700 years ago but was discovered only in the 1920's. At the entrance of the cave, one can see many pieces of ruins arranged in a small field. The local guide told us that this was from the entrance of the cave, which was damaged due to an earthquake. One can also find huge pieces from a status of Buddha nearby, which is also believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake.

We then went to visit another temple, but I have completely forgotten its name. You see, temples are generally not high on my 'must-see-things' list when I am on a holiday. But, then again each of the temple we visited had this serene atmosphere, where one feels that he/she can think in peace. A place where one can contemplate on his/her life without getting distracted by the trivialities of everyday life. I don't know how most temples manage to have that atmosphere.

By now, it had started getting dark and we ended our sight-seeing day by watching a performance of the kecak dance performed at one of the local institutions. The speciality of this dance performance is that they don't use any musical instruments. Instead the entire background music is provided by the chants of many men, who seemed to chant many variations of the sound 'cak'. The dance is actually a musical drama which depicts some of the prominent scenes from the Ramayana. Now, the Ramayana is not new to Indians and hence we were able to understand what is happening. We were also provided with brochures which explained the scenes which were being enacted for the benefit of the non-hindu or a non-Indian audience. There was even a fire dance, where one of the dancers danced on a burning dry coconut skins. That kind of freaked me out a bit. Just imagine, this guy does it almost every day.

The day ended with a hearty dinner at this restaurant called Simpang Cafe, which is located quite close to where we were staying. Infact, we ended up going there for dinner on both the nights we stayed at Bali. Not only did they serve fantastic food, they had a vegetarian menu. They did great with the vegetarian versions on Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng. One word - YUM! My dinner there on both days were accompanied with a glass of orange juice. I was pleasantly surprised that the orange juice tasted a bit different from what we generally have here in Singapore. It was like they had added some special/exotic herb to the juice. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My friend told me later that it was the natural taste of the oranges grown in that region and that no herb was added to the juice as such. It was fantastic! One should definitely try out a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in Bali. The dinner marked the end of a hectic day for me. While my friends continued partying at one of the clubs, I retired early to catchup on some much needed sleep. It was bliss.

The next day was spent shopping for souvenirs and getting a relaxing massage at one of the massage parlours around the hotel. Like I had mentioned in my first post on Bali, Jln Legian is a great place to stroll around and shop. Lovely stuff!

I will definitely visit Bali again to look at many places which I missed out on during this holiday due to lack of time. On my list are the black sandy beaches in the north of Bali and the towering Gunung Agung.

1 comment:

sri said...

oh how i missed the orange juice :(
yes bali is defn a place that requires many visits :P i would await to see the place again :)