Komodo Dragon Kaper: Om Swastiastu

Day 12/13

Monday May 24th & 25th

Om Swastiastu = May peace be with you

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Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan waterfall is one of the most popular sites in Bali due to it’s easy accessibility, jungle setting and beauty. It is located in Tegenungan Kemenuh village, in Gianyar, a short 5 km drive from central Ubud. Of course, in the steamy heat of the tropics the idea of visiting a huge waterfall is both romantic and refreshing, maybe paradise?

After passing through the village, paying the tourist fee and walking past the usual gambit of tourists stalls we descended the 100 or so steps. We passed cool dark dipping pools, giant man made stick nests for insta shots, before balancing across a rustic bamboo bridge and up to the face of the falls. Spectacular…

The Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets

In the small village of Sukawati famous as a district of Balinese woodcarvers, we found another one of Bali’s true hidden gems. It was an absolute highlight of our Bali leg, a little known and mesmerising museum of masks and puppets. We could easily have spent a whole day here but packed as much into the few hours we had and it was truely magical.

The five Balinese pavilions and Javanese ‘joglo’ and ‘limasan’ houses are works of art in themselves. Javanese traditional houses are classified according to their roof form—from the lowest to the highest: kampunglimasan, and joglo. The lush immaculately tended gardens which enveloped them were also hard to ignore. I spent much time admiring the flora and pretty landscaping.

This courtyard of houses was stunning enough to warrant a visit, not to mention the breathtakingly beautiful 1,000 masks and over 4,000 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Asia, Oceania, Africa, China, Latin America and Europe which were contained in this village museum. There is no entry free thanks to the Artist-curator Agustinus Prayitno who is the master mind of this wonder.

Tari Kecak Dance

The Kecak dance is unique in that it has no other musical background or accompaniment besides the chanting of male dancers, intoning a “keh-chack” polyrhythmic choir during most of the performance. Kecak’s storyline is taken from the Ramayana Hindu epic . It was originally part of a cermonial dance which has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance. This was adapted and modified by both western and other influences to the modern form that exists for tourists today.

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Tari Kecak

Tari Kecak is simply accompanied by an a cappella chorus of dozens of men including one leader to set the tones, one soloist, one in charge of intoning high and low notes, as well as a narrator. The men wear chequered sarongs and are seated in tight, concentric circles with a central space reserved for the main characters. These depict Rama, Sita, Ravana, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Sugriva. The storyline generally starts from when prince Rama goes to the woods with Sita, his wife, and Lakshmana, his brother. There, Ravana kidnaps Sita and imprisons her in his castle. Rama seeks for help and sends Lakshmana to find his friend, Sugriva, the King of the Monkey Kingdom. Hanuman, Sugriva’s commander, is sent to check on Sita in Ravana’s palace and Rama finally begins the battle. At first, Ravana wins, but Sugriva and Hanuman then come to Rama’s aid with monkey troops. Sugriva finally wins. The male chorus chants ‘chack’, representing the sound of the monkey troops. The soft rattling sound of bells around the protagonists’ ankles is the only addition to Tari Kecak’s choral background.     –  bali-indonesia.com

Lastly on this marathon day we had a wonderful meal at our nearby street markets. We couldn’t resist the classic dishes, a main of Bakso followed by “Dadar Gulung“, a dessert of green pancake filled with sweet coconut …

before heading wearily to bed intoxicated with all things Balinese to leave rested for our morning flight home.

A fitting end to our amazing two week expedition – The Komodo Dragon Kaper.

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