Saturday 3 September 2011

Indonesia: Demons, dragons and monkeys

Ulu Watu temple monkeyKecak crowd, Ulu Watu temple, BaliAfter an afternoon on sun beds in the dappled shade near the pool, we visited Puru Luhar Ulu Watu along with most of the island it would seem.

I looked lovely in my bright blue sarong as we wandered through the temple grounds past chunky monkeys that looked in need of some exercise. One monkey sat on the edge of the cliff sucking the arm of a pair of stolen sunglasses in a pensive manner as visitors queued to take his photo.

At 6pm we found some of the last remaining seats the arena for the Kecak dance – the rest of the tourists were placed on the ground around the amphitheatre. Japanese ladies may be petite, but they know how to guard an empty seaSri Rama,Kecak dance, Ulu Watu temple, Balit.

Just before sunset, men entered the arena and toHanoman, Kecak dance, Ulu Watu temple, Baliok their places in concentric circles to begin the chanting which provided the background music to the unfolding story, a Hindu drama involving a banished prince and his wife, lusting demons, magical powers, rings, hairpins, massages, bows and arrows, dragons and a number of monkeys. In true panto style, the baddie gets it in the end. The best part was the panic scampering of some of the audience resulting from the burning of flammable material around the circle of chanting men.

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