Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Besakih, the Mother Temple

That same morning, right after descending Mt. Agung, we made for the Mother Temple on the western slope.  We were lucky enough to beat the clouds and the PARAWISATA buses, so we had a crystal clear morning and the whole temple to ourselves:


The temple was miraculously spared from a 1963 eruption, and it has served as the focal point for Balinese Hinduism for hundreds of years.  The rarest ceremony happens every one hundred years, and requires Balinese to climb to the summit of the mountain - livestock in tow - for a massive and epic sacrifice.  Having just attempted the easier, "4-hour" climb (from Besakih, 7+ hours and more difficult) this seemed quite the feat.

Protector, destroyer, good, evil, balance in all things.  Here's an evil statue:


The legions of good and evil statues stayed to the left and right of the stairs:


A good statue:


Bali below us:


Our guide spoke in a rapid-fire mix of Indonesian and English:


The Balinese have their own complex language and even their own script:


These guys keep the evil spirits out of temple areas:


The Balinese put out offerings like these every morning.  Note the kopi bali; get it while it's hot!


One of the multi-tiered temple things.  I forget the significance of the number, but they're always odd numbers and I think the biggest is 11:


The peak towered gracefully in the clear morning:

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