Bali The Island Of Temples

Bali’s Religion and Beliefs

Approximately three million people live on Bali and about 90 percent of the people follow the Hindu religion. Balinese Hinduism was formed from a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from across Southeast Asia and South Asia. The Balinese, like all people of Hindu faith, believe their religion is one of holy water. Water symbolizes fullness. Water is the building block of life and all living beings are at the mercy of God for water.

Bali temples

The Balinese consider everything to be holy and they believe that physical and spiritual lives are indivisible. Balinese describe their attitude toward life as one with “happiness in duty.” Faith and fun are one. Festivals, ceremonies, dances, and trances are an integral part of Balinese life.

The local people make offerings to the gods every day. Typically, women prepare and deliver the offerings on behalf of their family. Most offerings are simple and include rice, flowers, and incense on a banana leaf. For special ceremonies, the offerings are much more elaborate.

Bali monkey dance

The Balinese believe that when a child is born, it must not touch the ground during its first 105 days. During that time, they believe the baby is still living between heaven and earth and is not yet human. After three months, the family holds a ceremony to welcome the child to the material world and to give the child its name. From this point forward, the child can touch the earth.

Like all followers of the Hindu religion, the Balinese believe in reincarnation. Therefore, the lifelong goal of every Balinese person is to have a beautiful cremation ceremony. They believe the spirit is not released until the body is destroyed and the ashes are thrown to the sea. When a Balinese person dies, a surviving son must arrange for a cremation ceremony. Therefore, it’s important for every Balinese family to have at least one son.

Wealthier families have private cremation ceremonies fairly soon after a relative’s death. Families that don’t have the financial resources immediately available for the cremation may temporarily bury the body for up to 25 years, while they save enough money for the cremation ceremony. They also may join with other families recently who have lost a loved one. By joining together, they can conduct a mass cremation ceremony to make it more affordable.

The Balinese can’t cry when a relative passes away. If a tear falls to the earth, it grounds the spirit of the deceased, which prevents the spirit from leaving this world.

Balinese weddings happen in one of three ways. First, the parents can arrange a wedding between their children, without concern for the children’s preference. Secondly, the couple can ask their parents to agree and negotiate a relationship. Finally, if the children anticipate resistance from the parents, they can elope and negotiate with the parents later. On Bali and Lombok, the locals refer to eloping as “kidnapping.”

Danau Bratan Bali

Like all followers of the Hindu religion, the Balinese follow the caste system. There are four classes of people and the priests are at the top of the system. Weddings between castes are allowed, but sometimes frowned upon. The bride always assumes the caste of the husband (up or down) and can’t return to her family’s caste if the marriage fails.

The Balinese also believe that their canine teeth attract evil spirits and bad human qualities, such as greed and jealousy. They historically believed that these teeth must be filed and flattened in order to be reincarnated. In the past, when children became adults, the village priest filed their canine teeth down to a uniform length. Although the Balinese have stopped this practice for humane reasons, they still conduct a symbolic filing on young adults that is brief and less intrusive.

The Balinese wear yellow or white clothing when entering a temple for a ceremony. Musicians, however, are exempt from this dress code and they usually wear very bright clothing.

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Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Indonesia Overlooking Tourism From India

Indonesia Missing Hindu Tourists From India

India is a potential market for Indonesian tourism, especially in Bali, yet the country has never been a main target for promotions, an observer said.

Bali’s senior tourism observer Bagus Sudibya said on Wednesday that on one hand only a few travel agencies had started putting India on their list. Meanwhile, on the other hand, the government’s promotion to India was very low, and it did not put sufficient effort into establishing direct flights connecting the two nations.

Balinese hindu religion

“Airlines have direct flights to and from countries further away, such as China. The same should be done with India, to boost the people’s interest to visit Indonesia,” he said.

Bagus, who recently joined the India Travel Mart event, said that the largest democratic country had one billion people and was enjoying sustainable economic growth in almost every sector.

Bagus also cited the increase of India’s per capita income — which had resulted in a significant addition to its middle class — as a reason for making India a target. At least 20 percent of Indians took foreign trips every year, he said.

Indonesian art and culture

Bali, besides being a main tourist attraction, is relatively close in distance to India as compared to European countries, increasing the potential for the island to become a holiday destination for Indians.

Furthermore, Bali has a bond with India: both are rich in Hindu culture. The province is home to Hindu heritage and places of worship, making India more relevant for promotions.

Bagus went on saying that many Indian tourists also held wedding ceremonies or honeymoons in Bali.

“Most of them come with big budgets, especially when traveling with their families,” he said.

Tanah Lot Bali

“I’ve handled several Indian weddings in Bali and they come with their extended family. The parties were grandiose. Some others chose to come for a honeymoon,” he added.

Bagus said that Indian tourists had a daily spend of around US$150 per day, excluding visits to tourism destinations and entertainment, such as rafting and water sports.

Bali Tourism Agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu has said that India would be a target for the province’s tourism promotions. However, he said the lack of direct flights connecting India and Indonesia, Bali in particular, was a barrier.

“India is indeed an emerging market for Bali, we should work harder for tourism promotions there, involving all stakeholders,” he said.

Monkey Forest Ubud

Indian tourists to Bali from January to July this year reached 37,253, up 37.12 percent on the same period last year. The figure contributed 2.08 percent to the overall number of visitors, which had reached more than 1.79 million tourists.

As for 2012, as many as 46,632 Indian tourists went to Bali, or around 1.61 percent of the total incoming foreign tourists of in excess of 2.89 million people.

India, according to Bagus Sudibya, could be an example for developing special interest tourism, especially with its renowned spiritual attractions.

India is also focusing on expanding its adventure tourism to its mountainous northeastern regions that border Tibet and China — without significantly altering the environmental condition in the area.

He added that tourists visiting the developing destination were relatively affluent, as they were able to pay a minimum $200 to spend a night there. Moreover, visitors had to use helicopters to move around the attraction.

“India is quite aggressive in inviting travel agents and other tourism enterprises to visit and directly witness its attractiveness — especially countries that become its main hubs to other regions, such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia,” he stated.


Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia