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Kintamani Volcano · Ubud · Barong Dance · Part 1

 

The perfect introduction to Bali's fascinating culture and handicrafts, picturesque rice paddy fields, traditional villages and a spectacular lake and volcano. Your journey takes you to Batubulan, known for its stone carving and ornate temples, here you will see the exciting Barong Dance. A traditional dance that portrays the eternal struggle between good and evil, the religious and the profane and with a dramatic ending. On this day, the highlights of the trip were:

 

  • Villa pickup and drop off

  • Travel through the Kintamani mountain region

  • View Mount Batur the active volcano with running lava down its peak

  • See the Balinese mythical Barong Dance

  • Visit Ubud, the artistic hub of Bali

  • A very informative and friendly local guide

 

We also went through the woodcarving village of Mas. Watched artisans chipping intricate designs from wood blocks. Enjoyed lunch in a restaurant providing wonderful views of the lake and mountain. On the return trip, had an exorbitantly expensive fox shit coffee, and stopped at Goa Gajah's holy springs which are believed to have magic curative powers. Ended the day with a visit to an arts center in Ubud.

 

Photos taken using Sony NEX-F3. No edits except cropping. Click on the images below to expand. Disclaimer: The photos herein and all other albums associated with Bali Sojourn are by no means a documentary. They're all touristy snapshots.

 

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Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

The day's tour started as early as 7.30am in order for us to reach the Barong dance site on time. From my villa it took an hour and a half to reach Ubud due to morning traffic. Ubud is a hub for anything and everything artisan: batik painting (as here), wood carving, stone sculpturing, and painting. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Their handiwork all over the place. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

The difference with Balinese batik painters than others I've seen in Malaysia and Singapore is how they draw the lines with melted wax on FREEHAND! In Singapore or Malaysia, for safety reasons, artists usually place their cloth on an elevated frame and draw directly on it. The artists here were effortlessly drawing on their hands like it's pencil. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Next stop, the Sahadewa Barong & Kris Dance. 5 acts in an hour with the most intricate of costumes and customs. The Barong and Kris (Keris) Dance, a must-watch if you're in Bali and performed at various temples, represented an eternal fight between good (Barong, a mythical animal) and evil (Rangda, a monster). Here are the musicians of the Sahadewa Barong & Kris Dance from the Chandra Budaya Stage. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

The dance starts with musical overtone, where a monkey and its friend the tiger appear. Three other human dancers then appear and saw the tiger and attacked it, and in the ensuing barrage of gongs and gamelan, the nose of one of the men was bitten off. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Act 1: Two girl dancers appear, representing the servants of the Rangda (the mythological monster earlier). They are looking for the servants of Dewi Kunti, the mother of the eldest three of the Pandava brothers from the Indian epic Mahābhārata in the Hindu legends (Dewi means 'Goddess'), who were on the way to meet the Patih (Prime Minister) © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

One of the dancers up close. Beside the stage were over 30 musicians playing traditional musical instruments. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Act 2: The servants of Dewi Kunti arrived. One of the servants of Rangda changes into a witch and possessed both servants to anger them, then proceeded to meet their Patih to go together to face Dewi Kunti. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

One of the many gods featured in the show. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Act 3: Dewi Kunti and her son, Sahadewa came up. Dewi Kunti has promised the Rangda to sacrifice Sahadewa. A witch appears and possesses Dewi Kunti. She becomes angry and orders the Patih to bring Sahadewa to the forest. The Patih was also possessed by the witch but he does not have pity on Sahadewa, who was then taken into a forest and tied up on a tree. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Act 4: Unknown by Rangda, God Siwa appears and gives Sahadewa immortality. Dun dun dun dunnn... The Rangda appears, ready to kill Sahadewa and eats him up, but Sahadewa is still alive. Mwa ha ha ha harrr. The Rangda then surrenders and asks him to redeem her. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

..and Sahadewa agrees and kills the Rangda. The Rangda goes to heaven. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Act 5: One of the servants of Rangda called Kalika comes up before Sahadewa and asks him to redeem her too, but Sahadewa refuses. Kalika gets angry and changes into a boar and fights Sahadewa. Comic relief when the act switched to a ceremonial slaughter of the boar as it fell... © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

...only to have the cheeky actors pull the tail of the boar to the front... even exclaimed in English, "Oh my God! What is this!?" Haha! Cute. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Anyways, boar's spirit turned into a bird and continued fighting Sahadewa but was defeated again... © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Challenge accepted? © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Until finally she changes into a Rangda herself (left) and with the upgrade, Sahadewa too called upon the gods to transform him into a Barong (right). Note: Rangda = mystical evil monster; Barong = mythological good animal. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Unfortunately the Rangda seemed to be too powerful and the fight became an unending battle of good vs evil. The followers of Barong appear and even help him fight the Rangda... © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Crouching tiger hidden dragon. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Only to have themselves possessed and tried to drive their kris into their chests but through the power of the High Priest (center), the followers' body became impenetrable, and has since became the legend of good vs evil til today, an eternal fight for humankind. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Next stop after the hour-long dance, we visited a silversmith shop in Ubud. While the local industry depends on primarily tourism to drive itself, the locals try their very best to not fall into modernity a little too soon; everything must still be molded, carved, painted, or put together by hand. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

I think she's polishing the final bits of some earrings... © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Walking around the building I noticed every house, office, shop, there's a shrine or a temple. More on that in detail in the next album. Anyways, the locals pray 3 times a day before every meal giving offerings to the shrines. Just don't step on 'em when you see it on the floor anywhere if you're in Bali. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

The architecture of most buildings in Bali continue to retain its traditional Javanese style with intricate wood and stone carvings from the floor to the roof. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

We then proceeded to check out the wood carvers. Along the way in Ubud, you'd see one whole street of stone carvers. Another street full of silversmith. And then a long stretch of wood carvers. Most find their resources from around the region, and make everything in bulk for export. Mind you, no machines. All hand. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

You can go into just about any of the artisans' shop to see someone working on something. Here you see some circumsi-...waitaminute © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

As Bali's population is primarily Hindu, a carver working on a statue of Buddha was enough to know the place you're visiting is not for domestic sales. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Yes, Bali has dolphins too and not just those carved. For dolphins in Bali, go to Singaraja. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Inside the intensive labored shop, you'll see stuffs carved intricately from wood by hand filling up a space nearly half the size of a football field from floor to ceiling. Looking closely you can understand why prices can be so high in the millions of Indonesian Rupiahs. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 2
Bali Sojourn - Day 2

Important: Australian custom will not allow wood to be placed in luggage so you'll need some permits and extra taxes to bring them home - mostly from fear of bringing in termites. If you're from other countries please check with your local immigration. Also, please do NOT buy from these kinds of shops. A small elephant the size of my fist would cost US$20 and bought 7 for my colleagues. On Day 7, I found out I was conned by $18! Click below to be redirected to Part 2. © Evan Hwong Photographs

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