Candi bentar

Candi bentar on Bali

By Lonneke — July 12, 2017 03:12 pm

The whole island of Bali is one big temple. Driving or walking through these huge candi bentars (split gateways) you enter a new part of it time and again. You feel surrounded by their attempt to seek balance and harmony between dharma (order in the cosmos) and adharma (disorder): it travels through the air, like the smoke of the incense sticks and the sounds of the gongs and xylophones.

Every guesthouse looks like a temple, with decorated Ganesha's at adorned gates. Holy statues hide between shops, and small offerings are placed everywhere - no thing too humble, no item too common to earn an offering. Everything deserves protection and blessings and good luck. I understand why the Balinese are keeping up these frantic rituals: it has certainly gained them a lot.

Balinese Hinduism has roots in Indian Hinduism and Buddhism, but they mix it up with lots of other things good and appealing, like animism - a worldview in which basically every element of nature possesses a spiritual essence and is therefore a potential home for spirits. The expressions of their beliefs is reminiscent to the Thai ways with Buddhism, in the sense of using offerings, flowers, foods and such to please and appease the spirits. The people carry a flower behind one ear and some grains of rice on their foreheads, not the bindi of the Indians.

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