Every travel destination has its own particular things to do. Things to do in Orlando include: to go Disney World, Epcot Center, and Universal Studios. Things to do in Paris include: visit the Louvre, see Notre Dame, and go to the Eiffel Tower. Things to do in Bali, aside from trying to not die of heat stroke include: SCUBA diving and snorkeling, watching a traditional Balinese dance, go white water rafting in the jungle, and last but not least, visit the sacred monkey temple.
My darling Colombian husband grew up in the Amazon and was not very impressed with monkeys.
“They throw sh*t at you.” He told me when I brought up the idea of seeing the temple. “I grew up with monkeys.” He added.
Guess what we did that day?
Our hotel concierge and staff assured us that all of the day trips were already booked and no way could we go to the temple. My resourceful husband asked about the exact location of the temple and negotiated a price with a driver we had met the previous day to take us. Take that day tours!
It was so worth it. The legends say that the monkeys are the spiritual guardians of the temple. The temple is not what we Westerners think of as a temple with 4 walls and a roof. It is an area of land with statues, alters, water, and greenery. Cathedrals aren’t needed nor are stained glass windows. The giant trees, moss, and trickling water are beyond words. And the monkeys! The monkeys are amazing. It’s a living, breathing community with rascal teenage monkeys trying to jump on site seers to steel purses and cameras, older monkeys sitting in corners, and babies clinging to their mothers. I couldn’t help but think of my children.
We purchased some bananas to feed the monkeys. While my husband helped me close my backpack, a monkey ran behind him and snatched his entire bundle of bananas. Mr. Amazon himself was swindled. You would think he knew better. The attendant just shook her head.
How refreshing to leave the city and head into the jungle. The roads to the temple were off the beaten path giving glimpses to life in Bali. I saw ladies sweeping away palm tree leaves. I saw gentlemen replacing offerings with fresh incense that adored each home. I saw the Balinese version of trash cans-large, gorgeous ceramic pots. We drove past several stores that sold ceramic deities. Each home and neighborhood has an alter filled with various deities. One Balinese man told me that you can buy a statue of a deity but it’s only when it’s blessed by a priest that part of the spirit of that deity resides in the statue.
I’m not Hindu but, I certainly experienced spirituality at the temple. Thank you Bali.