If you happen to visit Bali around the festival of Galungan (like we did by a happy coincidence in 2013), you’ll notice these ornamental poles of bamboo peering over you, decorated with leaves and fruits and with an offering basket suspended from their top, adorning the gateways of buildings and lining the roads.
With a little inquisitiveness, we learned from our driver and the hotel staff that these poles are called ‘penjor‘ and are symbolic of festivals and celebrations in Bali. And at the time of Galungan, a festival that signifies the victory of good over evil (much like Diwali in India, we thought), 20-feet high penjors bloom in abundance outside almost every home, office, shop on the island, for people to thank the Gods.
Captured during the famous sunset at the Uluwatu temple in south-west Bali:
More symbols of significance with the Daily Post’s challenge this week: “Symbol.”
‘Do we really have to go?’, I grumbled through the sheets, struggling to pry my eyes open.
I fumbled around for my phone for the time; it was the unearthly hour of 2:30 AM and soon to be time for us to leave for our sunrise trek on Mt.Batur, near Ubud in Bali. In half an hour, we would be off on the 45-minutes drive to the starting point at the base. Wanting to catch the sunrise atop the mountain, which, incidentally is also a live volcano, means leaving Ubud at 3 AM and starting your 1.5 – 2 hour climb uphill before 4 to get to the top in time for sunrise.
Keeping up the tradition of my fantastic luck with the weather for outdoor activities, it had rained just a few hours before we started and we were afraid we would just end up seeing clouds rather than the sun at the top. The trek is a little tougher than your average walk in the park, with a couple of steep stretches of slippery volcanic rock in the second half. After a bit of a mad dash in the last minutes to make sure we reached the top before the sun did, we found ourselves in an envelope of mist.
The despair didn’t last too long as the sun dispelled the curtain of fog to reward us with these sights. I’m no Early Bird, but some days are worth it.
Some pictures from a beautiful sunset at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali while we were watching a Kecak performance by the local artists (October ’13).
Uluwatu lies in South Bali, west of the Nusa Dua area where we were staying. It’s best to rent a car with a driver and reach well before the time of the sunset – else, you could be stuck with the bad seats i.e. with your back to the sunset.