Sunday, June 30, 2013

West Bali

The start of our Bali tour was from here. We stayed at the Medewi Bay Retreat. Check the review of the resort here.

Day 1

Bunut Bolong: Literally means a hole in the tree. This is considered a holy tree. Its so huge that the road passes right through the tree. Situated in a forested area, this makes for a good stopover.

Banjar Hot Spring: Natural hot water spring which is said to have medicinal values. The approach road has a lot of road side souvenir shops. 

Brahmavihara-Arama Meditation Center: This is a Buddhist monastery. This has a terraced structure with various buildings and structures present at different levels. At the top most level, you get to see a miniature version or Borubudur  which is supposed to be the biggest buddhist temple. From the top, you get good views of the surrounding hills and the ocean. Entry to the monastery is free. You will need to cover yourself up properly for entry.  Long pants/saris are fine. Sarongs are provided at the entrance for those who need to cover themselves up.

Pulaki Temple: This is one of the biggest temples of Bali and is beautifully located. On one side you have the ocean with the forested hills at the back. One can see a number of monkeys in the premises. We were warned by our driver to be careful of our cameras, specs, etc for fear of the monkeys. Here again you will need to cover up properly - sarongs are available at the entry. We were advised to make "voluntary donation" for the temple here, which we obliged.

The the temple was built to commemorate the arrival of Javanese saint Nirartha to Bali. The surrounding forest has a lot of monkeys and it is said that when Nirartha arrived, he was escorted by the monkeys. As a sign of gratitude, Nirartha established this temple and made the monkeys its guardians. Another story related to this temple is that Nirartha feared that his daughter would be abducted by the king. So he brought her to this place. He then made the entire village invisible. It is believed that to this day, the invisible poeple exist. They are called gamang and are made offering by the people here

Palasari Cathedral: Had never read of this and still cant find it in google searches. But glad it was included in our tour by resort which arranged our transport. Beautiful place. Peacful.

Day 2

Butterfly Park: The days highlight was going to be the Ulun Danu temple. Enroute to the this, we went to the Butterfly Park at Tabanan. Glad we did this. Saw some really big butterflies.

Ulun Danu: This is one of the iconic temples of Bali. It is featured on the 50,000/- IDR note. It is situated at a relatively higher altitude. It was overcast on the day,  and the weather was refreshingly cool. It is a complex of temples. The 11 storey temple is dedicated to Vishnu and the 3 storey temple is dedicate to Shiva. These temples are surrounded by the lake Beratan which is the major source of irrigation in central Bali.

Day 3

Day 3 was check-out time and time to move to our next location (Ubud in Central Bali). Enroute, we visited the Bali Zoo. It is fairly well maintained. The tree cover meant that even though we reached there in the afternoon, it was not at all uncomfortable. There are special timings for feeding the animals, bird show, etc. Check them out before starting off in the zoo.

Enroute to our hotel in Bali, we visited centres for gold and silver crafting, batik and wood carving and  handicrafts. Most of our souvenir shopping happened here.

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