Craft&Culture


    Ubud’s Festivity

      1-12-2016
     

    Ubud’s Festivity

    Photo courtesy of Amandari.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    Amandari is embrancing the principles of a Balinese village.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    The bedroom in the Ayung Suite.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    Photo by Risty Nurraisa.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    The Rejang Dewa dance. Photo by Risty Nurraisa.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    Photo courtesy of Amandari.

    Ubud’s Festivity

    Exceptional service with style infl uenced by local cultures.
    Ubud’s Festivity
    Photo courtesy of Amandari.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    Amandari is embrancing the principles of a Balinese village.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    The bedroom in the Ayung Suite.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    Photo by Risty Nurraisa.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    The Rejang Dewa dance. Photo by Risty Nurraisa.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    Photo courtesy of Amandari.

    Ubud’s Festivity
    Exceptional service with style infl uenced by local cultures.

    Stay at the Amandari and join the people of the Kedewatan village in celebrating the anniversary of the Dalem Suargan Temple...

    It was 3.30 p.m. when I arrived at the Amandari in Ubud, using the hotel’s pick up service. As soon as I walked into the alfresco lobby I felt like I was in a serene sanctuary as the friendly staff welcomed me, for the view of the greenery and the hotel’s infi nity swimming pool was very pleasing to my eyes. While the staff was helping with my check in, I absorbed the positive energy of the area that was much needed as I was going to witness a Balinese ceremony for two consecutive days.

    The staff then escorted me to one of the Ayung Suites, where I was to spend my night at Amandari. The suite is a duplex with its own living room and two separate daybeds in the suite, and a private infinity swimming pool and bale on the outside. Designed with teak and marble decorative accents, this suite has a spiral staircase that leads to the bedroom with a queen-size bed and glass windows that offer a tranquil view of the greenery and the Ayung river valley.

    As much as I wanted to rest in my room, I had to get ready for the highlight of the day – witnessing a Balinese ceremony at the local temple. But before that I still had some time to swim in the private pool with the view of the forest to recharge my energy.

    Cleansing Ceremony
    Dressed in my casual shirt and the hotel’s sarong, which was provided as a souvenir in each room, I was ready to see the ceremony at 5 p.m. Sang Nyoman Arsana, one of the hotel’s drivers, was already waiting for me at the lobby. Using the hotel’s car he took me to the Dalem Suargan Temple, the village’s temple where the locals were gathered.

    “The anniversary is actually tomorrow,” Mr. Arsana explained when we arrived at the temple. “Today the people gather to ask God for taksu (positive energy) for tomorrow’s ceremony.” Mr. Arsana led me to the temple entrance and splashed some tirtha (holy water) on himself and me at the gate. “I believe that everyone who comes to the temple has good intentions, but the tirtha is here to make sure that one is clean from any negativity before entering the temple,” he added.

    Within minutes the temple was filled with Balinese people – men and women, young and old – who live in Kedewatan area. “There are 638 households in this area, and everyone knows everybody because we often gather for this kind of ceremony,” said Mr. Arsana before he blended in with the crowd as the prayer started. While watching the Balinese praying from the back of the congregation I noticed that almost everyone wore white – the men were in white shirts while the women were in white kebaya. “White clothes symbolize that everyone is the same in front of God, regardless of their background,” explained Mr. Arsana when the prayers were done.

    The afternoon prayer was followed by a march to a neighboring temple named the Tegal Suci Temple. Gamelan music played and the Barong, Rangda and other tapakan (statues) that are believed to be God’s manifestations were ready to be taken to the Tegal Suci Temple along with some offerings. All the people of Kedewatan Village then walked one kilometer northwards – and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a magnificent cultural ritual as I joined the march.

    “In the next ceremony we are cleaning the Barong, the Rangda and the other tapakan,” Mr. Arsana explained amidst the sound of the gamelan. “The Balinese believe that every element in this world has to be cleaned from negativity at least once every six months. That’s why we celebrate the anniversary of our temple every six months.” When we arrived at the Tegal Suci Temple, the sun had already gone down. The Balinese sent up their prayers and when this ritual was done they marched back to the Dalem Suargan Temple to keep the Barong, Rangda and other God’s manifestations overnight.

    Morning Ritual
    The next morning, I put the sarong back on, only this time it was paired with a kebaya that the hotel lent me. At 9 a.m., Mr. Arsana picked me up at the hotel’s lobby to take me back to the Dalem Suargan Temple. Just like the day before, the people of the Kedewatan Village had gathered at the temple to pray. Once again I witnessed how the Balinese prayed in unison, all wearing the white clothes that made them look the same in front of their God. Then as the gamelan music was playing again – it was time to march the Barong, Rangda and other God’s manifestations one more time, this time to the Meraja Pati Temple, which was around 500 meters south.

    The next ceremony was quite different. Not only did the Balinese pray but they also performed three traditional dances to mark the celebration; the Baris Gede where the dancers performed with spears, the Rejang Dewa that was performed by young girls, and the Topeng Wali. “These dances have the same philosophical meaning though,” said Mr. Arsana, “That we have to do rituals with sincerity. That what we offer or give to God today has nothing to do with what we ask of God tomorrow. That we need to let the universe to take control.”

    I also admired how the Balinese children were involved in these rituals, from the little ones who pray with their parents and perform the traditional dance to the teenagers who march the God’s manifestations from one temple to another. “We also hold this ceremony to educate our younger generation so that this ritual will never vanish,” said Mr. Arsana. “All those traditional dances performed today are also to teach our children about kindness and that we have to give back what God has given to us.”

    A Village Resort
    During the ceremony I noticed that there was a foreign couple that wore the same sarong as me. It wasn’t hard to tell that they too were the guests of the Amandari as the hotel’s sarong has its own distinctive characteristics. Mr. Arsana and I also encountered the Amandari’s Marketing Communication and Human Resource staff at the temple. According to Mr. Arsana, the hotel employees including General Manager Jann Hess often joins in local ceremonies, which proves that the hotel has a close relationship with the local community.

    “In fact, 70 percent of our employees are from the Kedewatan Village where the Amandari is situated,” Mr. Hess confi rmed during an interview before I checked out of the hotel. “Aman resorts are unique with certain characteristics, including beautiful natural setting, exceptional hospitality service, a small number of rooms for an exclusive experience, style infl uenced by local cultures and closest attention to details. The design of our resorts blends the local architecture with the surrounding environment as well. And Amandari is embracing the principles of Balinese village, resulting in a resort with a village concept that brings guests closer to the local community.”

    Balinese ceremonies may be found anywhere on the island, but at the Amandari, guests are accompanied by a personal guide who explains the history and culture in detail, and get the chance to blend with the locals and relax at the resort afterwards. I think this is a beautiful combination of a local-oriented and luxurious stay experience to treasure for life.

    Amandari
    Kedewatan, Ubud
    (0361) 975-333

    By Risty Nurraisa


       Author:  Team
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