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A great beach on Nusa Lembongan

On the southern end of Nusa Lembongan, there is a beatiful, deserted beach with white sands and crystal-clear ..

Fantastic - Great scenery & interesting insights

We have done several soft adventure bike tours and this was amongst the best - highly recommended.

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Bali Tradition

Bali Tradition
The philosophy which gives order to all things is a reflection of a divine order: the macro-cosmos, or Bwana Agung, is reflected within the micro-cosmos, or Bwana Alit, and never can one be separated from the other.
The universe is split into three levels; the dominion of the Gods, the dwelling place of mankind, and the underworld of evil spirits and demons. So is the human body divided into head, body and feet Bur, Bwah, and Swah. Likewise, division of the village into the holy places and temples, the homes of the villagers, and the cemetery with its connection to death and the netherworld. Furthermore, each family compound follows a similar ground plan of family temple for the deified ancestors, living space, and back yard.

Spatial directions dictate an even more complicated lore, North, South, East, West and center are the dwelling places of the Hindu pantheon, Wisnu, Brahma, Iswara, Mahadewa and Ciwa, each with their different attributes, setting the order which mankind mil t follow to maintain harmony above and below. The location of each building is thus denoted; kitchen to the south as Brahma is the god of fire, family shrines to the northeast honoring both the holy mountain in the north and Siwa in the east. One must sleep with the head facing the north or east. Each building has a similar orientation and structure, and the layout, construction and proportions of the buildings follow a complex system of architectural rules known as the Asta Kosala Kosali, with a system of measurements based upon the body measurements of the head of the family.

The roof, pillars and foundation are representatives of the head, body and feet. As such the thatched roof of the house is wrapped with colorful strips of cloth, the ider-ider, just as a Balinese man wears a head-cloth or udeng on ceremonial occasions. Even temples have three similar divisions. The upper, northern part of the temple, known as the jeroan houses the most sacred shrines. In the middle section, or jaba tengah are pavilions for the preparation of offerings, a kitchen and storage places. The outer and lowest courtyard is the jaba. Here there is often a pavilion for meetings, cock-fights and general relaxation. Likewise, every village has three temples. The main Pura Desa, dedicated to Brahma the creator, is in the middle of the village, where it was originally erected by the ancestors. To the north is the Pura Puseh, for the worship of God in the manifestation of Wisnu, the preserver of life, and in the south is generally the Pura Dalem, domain of Siwa, who completes the cycle of existence by dissolving all physical things back to nothingness, releasing the spirit to be reborn.

The replication of this divine order in all physical aspects relating to space and orientations leads to one most important thing balance, the ultimate goal of Balinese Hinduism. Harmony and equilibrium of the two omnipresent and opposing forces, good and evil. God is both creator and destroyer. Good and evil are present in all opposing yet indivisible. By preserving this balance the Balinese are able to minimize destruction and disaster, simultaneously promoting peace and health, whilst accepting the inevitability of both. Every belief reflects an understanding and respect of the universe, an order which dominates the entire island.
 
   
A stratified society

Balinese society is traditionally divided into different levels. The nobility of Bali consist of three upper castes. Brahmanas, the teachers and priests, bear the title of Ida Bagus for men and Ida Ayu for women. The Ksatriyas, history's warrior class, are known as Dewa Agung or Cokorda, depending upon their individual family origins. The Wesya, the merchants and financiers of old, possess the name of Gusti. These upper classes evolved during feudal times and can generally trace their ancestry to the rulers and courtiers of the Hindu Majapahit Kingdom, who moved to Bali during Java's Islamic invasion in the fourteenth century.

The majority of Balinese however trace their heritage from the original islanders who lived outside the palaces farmers and working class people known as Jaba or Sudra. Bali has no untouchables, as with the Hindus of India. Common names follow a pattern allowing for four children, the ideal family in Balinese folklore, prior to the days of family planning. Names are allocated according to position in the family. The first child is Wayan, followed by Made, Nyoman and Ketut, or a parallel of Putu, Kadek, Komang, and Ketut, depending on popular practice in the village of origin, and regardless of sex. This is the reason for the large number of Wayans and Mades to be found in Bali, a point of some amusement for visitors to the island.

The divine origin of the upper castes is little disputed, but of minor significance in today's society where opportunities for education are available to all. However, a definite respect of family origins is constantly present in the way in which people relate to each other. The first question upon introduction defines caste and consequently language of address. Intermarriage between castes, once punishable by death, is now widely accepted. This is a patriarchal society. The woman always follows her husband's caste, she receives an honorary title if she marries above her or loses her title if she marries below.

The Hindu religion of Bali, so essential to the Pattern of life, is fondly called "Agama Tirta", or the religion of holy water. Tirta is the element of purification, blessing and godliness in every Balinese ritual and ceremony. Unique in this world, this complex blend of Hinduism, ancestor worship and animism is structured in a series of rites and festivals that mark the stages of life from birth until death.

The Yadnya rituals of Bali's Hindu religion are divisible into five categories. There are Dewa Yadnya ceremonies for the Gods, Pitra Yadnya ceremonies for the ancestors, Rsi Yadnya ceremonies for the saints and founders of the religion that are performed on rare occasions, Manusa Yadnya life cycle ceremonies, and Bhuta Yadnya ceremonies to keep evil spirits at bay.

The source of all is to be found in the supreme creator, known as Sanghyang Widhi, beyond good and evil, life and death. This omnipotent life force is manifested in everything tangible and intangible, and worshipped directly as well as through the many manifestations through which He becomes comprehensible and accessible to mankind. The Holy Trinity, Trisakti, is a representation of this power in its three orientations : Brahma the Creator, Wisnu the Preserver and Siwa the Destroyer. Beneath this supreme trinity is an extensive hierarchy of lesser deities representing every aspect of nature.
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