An Epic Love Story, Retold

73 comments
Asia, Indonesia
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Uluwatu’s Imposing Cliff

The sun starts to slip into the horizon, slowly giving way for night to crawl in. The blue skies turn orange, then red, and purple before darkness takes over. Meanwhile under the velvet sky a grotesque-looking character lights up dried coconut husks, encircling a lone personage clad in white monkey costume. He does not seem deterred and remains sitting cross-legged in what appears to be a meditative state. As the fire grows bigger he stands up and starts kicking the burning husks frantically to all directions.

Hanuman, the warrior monkey, sets himself free from Ravana’s indomitable spell, an enactment of arguably one of the most dramatic chapters in the millennia-old Hindu epic Ramayana.

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Two hours earlier our driver, Bli Komang, drove us to this southermost corner of Bali, away from the lush forests, picturesque rice terraces, and clean rivers at the heart of the island. We passed by barren limestone hills on our way to Uluwatu, sparsely dotted with trees and shrubs. “This land is not fertile,” Bli Komang said. “It cannot grow anything – only hotels.”

Bali’s southend, a bulbous peninsula connected to the mainland by an isthmus, is in fact much drier than any other parts of the island. Yet it is where some of the most luxurious hotels and villas are located, perched on limestone hills with a dramatic view of the Indian Ocean. But they are not the main reason for people to come to Uluwatu; Kecak dance and the sunset are, ensuring a steady stream of tourists on a daily basis.

Contrary to what many people think, Kecak is an invented dance, specifically created as a tourist attraction by a German artist, Walter Spies, who in the early 20th century had already seen the island’s potential in luring art enthusiasts beyond its borders. Incorporating some of Ramayana’s most renowned chapters, Kecak is performed by dancers wearing costumes and cloths richly embellished with distinctively Balinese ornaments and patterns.

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A Young Amorphophallus Plant

Pathway to the Edge of the

Pathway to the Edge of the Cliff

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Uluwatu’s Notorious Monkeys

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A Small Tree Withstanding Harsh Elements

We arrived one hour before the performance started, but there were already a large number of local and foreign tourists flocking to the place. Just a few meters from where we sat a group of curious Indonesian tourists mobbed two unsuspecting blond-haired women for photos. In many parts of Indonesia local people often see white tourists with fascination, which often ends up with gratuitous photo ops and selfies, making any westerners gain a celebrity status overnight. “I’m glad I don’t look like a bule,” James chuckled, referring to the casual term for white people.

On the other hand, I was more anxious about the monkeys, thanks to my previous two visits to Uluwatu when I witnessed the notorious long-tailed macaques in action: stealing visitors’ belongings, from shades to flip flops. But fortunately that day most of them gathered on the far end of the hill, away from the unaware tourists.

Apart from some minor renovation works, Pura Luhur Uluwatu retained the look as how I remembered it from my second visit to the temple in 2011: unassuming and seemingly deserted. However in spite of its modest size it serves as one of Bali’s most important temples, keeping the island and the universe in balance, a fact many non-Balinese don’t realize.

James and I decided to explore the temple’s surrounding while waiting for the ticket booth to open. We walked down the cobbled pathway, fenced from the sheer drop against the tempestuous Indian Ocean with its big, thundering waves. At the end of the pathway a troop of monkeys were lazing down, obviously more interested in grazing than harassing us. On the far left, facing the afternoon sun was a bigger, upgraded Kecak arena, presumably twice or even three times bigger than the old amphitheater. Clearly this part of the island also embraced mass tourism in full swing.

As the sun crawled closer to the horizon, the ticket counter finally opened – a rectangular open table staffed by a few locals. Like Kecak dance itself where male performers encircle a center spot, people moved closer to the counter, surrounding the overwhelmed ticketing personnel like moths attracted to a light bulb. Bli Komang voluntarily joined the crowd to get us two tickets, which ended up with a painful grin on his face as he was pinned by people taller and bigger than him.

We secured our seats on the last row of the half-done amphitheater and watched the audience grew bigger as more people constantly trickled down from the narrow entrance. Half an hour before sunset a Hindu priest in plain white attire entered the main stage, performing rituals in front of a black object which I perceived as the Balinese version of menorah. Moments later the first dancers entered the humans-packed arena, opening a series of acts inspired by one of two most popular Hindu epics, Ramayana.

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The Upgraded Kecak Arena

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A Hindu Priest Performing Rituals

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Old and Young Men Chanting in Unison

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A Chorus of “Cak Cak Cak” Imitating the Monkey Army

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A Moment of Silence

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Blessing from the Priest

Rama was the king of Ayodya (Thai: Ayutthaya), a mythical land where people lived in harmony and prosperity – a utopia believed to be somewhere in the Indian subcontinent, or so I had been repeatedly taught. In real life, the northern Indian city of Ayodhya is believed to be the birthplace of Rama and served as the capital of the 6th century BCE Kosala kingdom. Ravana (Indonesian: Rahwana), on the other hand, was a merciless and greedy king who ruled a land called Lanka (Indonesian: Alengka) just across the sea from where the people of Ayodya lived in peace. An unfortunate twist of events, however, forced Rama to be exiled to the forests of Ayodya. His beautiful wife, Sita (Indonesian: Shinta), and his brother Lakshmana accompanied him during a fourteen-year period of banishment.

One day Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, came to the forest and seduced the two young brothers. Frustrated by her failed attempts she then threatened Sita instead, resulting with Lakshmana cutting off Surpanakha’s nose and ears. When the news reached Ravana, the angered brother was quick to plan a kidnap of Sita to weaken Rama, Ayodya’s rightful king.

On an uneventful day Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were walking inside the forest when Sita suddenly spotted a playful golden deer with bells hanging around its neck. A split second later the whimsical animal disappeared, its brief appearance managed to pique Sita’s curiosity. Rama, out of his love to his wife, chased the deer deep into the woods in hope for catching the four-legged creature to be presented to Sita.

Sita and Lakshmana waited, until an abrupt call who sounded to be Rama himself broke the silence. Worried for his safety, the concerned wife asked Lakshmana to find his brother. But the ever-vigilant prince was cautiously hesitant. There were more in the forest that met the eyes, he believed. Sita was not convinced. Lakshmana relented and unwillingly left his sister-in-law after creating a protective circle to prevent anyone from touching Sita, let alone causing harm to her.

He, too, then disappeared into the dense Ayodyan forests. Alone, Sita patiently waited for Rama and Lakshmana to return. But her loneliness came to an end when an old ascetic appeared out from nowhere and limped heavily as he moved closer towards her. He asked Sita for water for he said he’d been walking a really long distance. She remembered what Lakshmana told her to not leave the circle or bring anyone in for whatever reason, but she couldn’t let the old man fall before her eyes out of exhaustion and thirst. She reached out to the old man, letting one of her hands out of the protective circle. Once he grabbed Sita’s hand the weak and skinny arm all of a sudden turned into a big, brawny one. Ravana transformed into his true appearance and grabbed Sita to immediately return to Lanka with the hapless queen.

Rama was devastated when he found out his wife was abducted by Ravana, but the grieving exiled king was not consumed with sadness and regret, rather he made a rescue plan to save his kidnapped wife. With the help of Hanuman, the mighty monkey warrior, and powerful monkey soldiers the rescue mission came into full force. A land bridge was constructed bit by bit using large boulders to connect the subcontinent mainland to the island of Lanka.

Against all odds, Hanuman and his monkey soldiers eventually reached Lanka, one step closer to freeing Sita from Ravana’s hands. But at one point as he advanced towards Ravana’s palace Hanuman was captured, chained, and held captive in an enclosure guarded by infernal walls. However Rama would have never asked Hanuman for help if the monkey warrior did not possess a formidable power and strong determination. In spite of the indestructible chain, Hanuman broke his tie and breached the seemingly impenetrable fire walls, then went straight to where Sita was kept.

He successfully rescued Sita and brought her back safely to Ayodya.

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Rama and Sita, the Main Characters in Ramayana

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A Playful, But Deceitful, Kijang Kencana (Golden Deer)

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Jatayu Trying to Rescue Sita from Ravana

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Rama, Aggravated by the Abduction of Sita

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Summoning Hanuman for Help

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A Jovial Character Despite the Fanged Grin

The contracted version of Ramayana is what the dancers at Uluwatu perform everyday, with figures like Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Ravana (both in his true face and as an old man), and the golden deer captivating those who are familiar with the epic. The troupe of barechested Kecak dancers themselves, with some faces I didn’t see on my previous visit to Uluwatu, epitomized the monkey soldiers’ tenacity in helping Hanuman to free Sita.

But clearly not everyone was eager to follow each act. On the row right in front of me a group of people were busy taking selfies and photos of the sunset instead, so were some other spectators across the arena – sitting at the highest point of the amphitheater provided me with the best view of the performance, the sunset, and the people, both who were interested in the story and those who had no clue at all why they were there.

Then came the most anticipated act of the afternoon: Hanuman kicked the burned coconut husks away to set him free from Ravana’s circle of fire. The sky’s changing color was a dramatic backdrop to the spellbinding performance.

As soon as the act was over and the skies became darker, a lot of people started to raise from their seats and walked towards the exit, but the performance was not over yet. I wonder what the next dancers had in mind when they saw most of the audience had left when they entered the stage. Was it so hard to wait for a few more minutes? Was it so hard to respect all the performers?

Later Bli Komang confirmed to us that most people were only interested in the sunset, not in the dance itself. They should not have spent the money for the ticket if they were not interested in the show at the first place, so I thought. But in the end the money went to the dancers and provided them with extra income they might desperately need to sustain their lives in this harsh part of the island.

The tourists left Uluwatu only to find themselves stuck in the perennial traffic jam on the main road from Uluwatu to Jimbaran, Kuta, Seminyak and beyond but with a satisfied feeling of having witnessed Uluwatu’s fabled sunset. The dancers, on the other hand, went back to their homes with that extra money and took some rest before starting another day with another afternoon performance to carry on. No one won, no one lost.

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Let There Be Fire

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Hanuman Surrounded by A Ring of Fire

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Sunset at Uluwatu

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

73 thoughts on “An Epic Love Story, Retold”

  1. Hey great story. 🙂 You know Ramayana so well, have you been in India before or read Indian mythology (just curious)?

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    • Thank you, Amrit. Before the rise of Islam and the arrival of the European traders, Indonesia was a largely Hindu nation — and before that Buddhist. We have ancient temples here with intricate reliefs depicting scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana, also traditional puppet shows, paintings, and other artworks inspired by both epics. So I would say most Indonesians are quite familiar with Rama, Sita, Ravana as well as the Pandavas. However there are some differences here and there between the original version and the Indonesian version of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

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      • Thanks for that explanation. Looking forward to read your posts to know your side of the story better.

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  2. Wah, baru tahu kalo arenanya baru di upgrade! Looks bigger now, ya. My fave part is the fire dance by Hanuman. To me, Kecak dance is somehow magical. Love your story, Bama 🙂

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    • Much bigger Deb. Pas ke sana juga kaget liatnya. 🙂 That scene is undoubtedly the climax of the show, but sadly most people think it is the end of the entire performance, not knowing that there are still more to come. Thanks for reading, Debbie!

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  3. Gara says:

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful post, Bama :))

    I remember my old days when my family joined the Kecak dance group in my hometown (I have two hometowns, Bali and Lombok :hehe). They played the dance mostly at hotels in Senggigi area. My father and other men played as the monkey troops, my sister was Kijang Kencana (she played it so well), and my mother joined the choir, reciting the Kakawin of Ramayana, while I, who was a little boy :hehe, helped preparing the costumes and properties backstage (just a little “put it here and put it there”). It was a wonderful experience since we saw both the performance and audiences from backstage :hehe

    Ah, for the dancers, they’re dancing in some trance-like state of mind–that’s why there must be a priest (pemangku) in the show. They sometimes didn’t realize if there were audiences or not–they were just dancing :hehe.

    As for the plot, Ramayana will be eternal, as our religion believes so. I love the part when Hanoman delivered the ring for Sita, combined with the kecak sound, and high-pitched part in the Kakawin, it feels really sad. I remember many people backstage watched that part with teary eyes. But I don’t watch the Kecak again nowadays, so I don’t know whether that part is still played or not.

    Ah, I miss my old days! Except the part when Uluwatu’s monkeys snatched my Udeng. :huhu

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    • Hi Gara. Thanks for reading!

      My mother used to teach Javanese traditional dance, so in that sense we’re quite similar. 🙂 I don’t remember anyone reciting the Kakawin of Ramayana when I was in Uluwatu — it would have been much more beautiful if they did that.

      Dancing in trance is somewhat many traditional dancers across Indonesia share in common. I believe it’s the legacy of the pre-Hindu/Buddhist culture in the archipelago. Sometimes they can be scary, but it’s part of the uniqueness of the dance itself.

      Thanks for sharing your childhood memory, Gara. Children nowadays need to reconnect with their cultures, otherwise sooner or later those centuries-old traditions would eventually fade away.

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  4. Loved reading this! It’s fascinating how cultures are followed, perceived or expressed in different parts of the world. Despite Kacek being a modern art form as you mentioned, I would love to watch a performance some day and marvel at the Balinese representation of episodes from the Ramayana. Oh, and stunning pics!

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    • Thank you, Ami. I myself would love to see how Ramayana is interpreted in India, the place where it all began. You should come to Bali and experience Balinese take on Hinduism — an eclectic fusion of Indian Hinduism, animist traditions, and Indonesian cultures.

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  5. Always love to come to this side of Uluwatu for one reason: magnificent dance with breathtaking sunset!

    Once a macaca tried to grab my udeng (Balinese headband), but he failed. Then he decided to steal my friend’s sunglasses instead :’/

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    • I always become more vigilant when I come to Uluwatu because of its long-tailed macaques. Fortunately they didn’t take anything from me. As for the location itself Uluwatu’s imposing cliff really makes a perfect setting for the dance — they know how to pick the right place to stage such a unique performance.

      Did your friend get the sunglasses back?

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  6. Beautifully written, and your photos are incredible! You captured it all so perfectly, I especially love the shot of the men taking a moment of quiet… gorgeous!

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    • Thank you very much, Jess. Sitting at the very end of the arena provided me with such a great vantage point to capture the dancers’ movements and facial expressions.

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  7. Bama, Shawn and I attended this fire dance in 2011, so your post brought back memories of the naughty monkeys, Uluwatu’s dramatic setting, and this performance. I do wish we’d had your explanation to help guide us through the performance back then. 🙂 Your set of images are wonderful too – I especially like the fifth one – so much energy and color captured there.

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    • That means you went there before the arena was upgraded, didn’t you? I remember how crowded it was when I watched Kecak at this place for the first time in 2010. It’s really sad that the monkeys at Uluwatu are notorious for their habit of stealing visitors’ belongings — monkeys in other islands are less inquisitive. Ha, I wish I were there to explain the acts to you and Shawn. 🙂 My fifth photo is one of those photos captured just at the right moment — I was standing at the edge of the cliff and saw that lonely plant atop a rock, and I knew I had to take a photo.

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  8. Dua kali ke Uluwatu selalu gagal nonton pertunjukan ini, pas nemeni sodara mereka cuma berburu sunset, setelahnya bareng teman, mereka nggak mau nonton karena alasan tiket mahal. Terakhir ke sana harga tiket pertunjukannya berapa, Bama? Next time kudu diniatin nonton ini hehehe

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    • Kalo gak salah sih Rp 100.000,-. Memang lumayan mahal sih, apalagi kalo dibandingin sama pertunjukan tari di Solo. Tapi ya berhubung ini untuk menjaga supaya kebudayaan lokal tetap hidup saya sih gak keberatan. Next time ke Bali coba disempetin ya Halim, meskipun cukup touristy tapi recommended kok.

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  9. Hi Bama,
    Uluwatu, Kecak and Sunset… magical moments.
    Kangen banget kesana lagi. Tetapi bener kata Gara, ketika nonton tarian itu airmata bisa berlinangan 🙂 Mungkin karena ramayana itu sudah merasuk sedari kecil dan aku ga bisa diem kalo denger gamelan bali (mantan bali-dancer) 😀 😀

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    • Hi Riyanti.
      People keep coming to Uluwatu because of those three things, despite its remoteness. Wah ternyata mantan penari Bali ya. Dulu paling suka tarian apa? Kalo mengenai menggugah emosi itu justru terjadi sama saya waktu nonton Legong di Ubud. Saya berkali-kali merinding saking kagumnya, juga terhipnotis sama gamelan Bali yang sangat kaya melodinya.

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      • Paling suka ya Legong, klasik banget sih.. tapi dulu sukanya menarikan tarian laki-laki 😀 Tarunajaya, Margapati, Wiranata dll gagah soalnya hahaha…

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      • Ooo I see. Di Indonesia memang lazim sih perempuan berperan sebagai laki-laki ketika melakukan tarian tradisional. Tapi teman saya pas nonton tarian di Ubud sempat terkecoh karena seorang penaria pria make up nya cukup tebal sampe-sampe teman saya pikir dia perempuan. 🙂 Dia nari Kebyar Trompong kalo gak salah.

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  10. Bama may I ask if the photos were taken with a telephoto lens? Is the “Let There Be Fire’ photo from where you were seated?

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    • I did use a telephoto lens, Sue. It’s not the best one because it doesn’t have the image stabilizer feature. But at least my photos are not that blurry, I guess. 🙂 An yes, all photos of the performance were taken from where I was seated.

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  11. We went there too some years back! We like to see traditional dances performances, thus we went there to see this magical dance. These macaques scared my husband haha, we were told by the tour guide that we had to take off our glasses or else they would snatch them, My husband can’t see clear without glasses, so that moment was pretty annoying for him. Anyway, the dance was great, we liked it a lot! I liked it when I could also hear the sound of the waves at the sea. Sooo sooo memorable! Nice story, Bama!

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    • So sorry to know that your husband had to hide his glasses because of those macaques. I think something has to be done to them so they would gradually become less and less aggressive — I dunno how though. As for the location, it’s really the main reason for people to come to Uluwatu to see the dance, right? Because actually they can also watch Kecak dance elsewhere on the island. Thank you for reading, Lulu.

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  12. I’ve been to similar events where the patrons were more interested in photos and selfies than the actual event. I guess it is a sign of the times.

    Great photos. Balinese dance was one of our highlights of Indonesia.

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    • I guess you’re right. When I was in Ubud watching Legong, three people in front of me left the venue when there were still about two to three acts to be performed. They looked unimpressed.

      Thanks Jeff! Balinese dance costumes are arguable among the most intricate across the archipelago.

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  13. I feel so embarassed. I have been to Bali multiple times but I have never considered to see the kecak dance. Your post motivates me to see the dance event when visiting Bali in the future – Thanks Bama, great writing!

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    • There’s no need to feel embarrassed, Indah. Bali has so many things to offer, and I believe you’ve been to places on the island most tourists are probably not aware of. Two of the most popular Kecak dance performances are staged in Uluwatu and Batubulan, but I think there are other places too where you can watch it. Thank you for reading!

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    • Thank you very much for your kind comment, Lena. New Zealand is a country I’ve been dreaming of visiting.

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  14. A magical series of photos that bring the story alive Bama! I hope to witness this myself someday.

    Just wanted to point out that Ayodhya isn’t a mythical place. It is a town close to Lucknow and was the capital of the Kosala kingdom (into which Rama was born). Rama’s (alleged) birthplace, also the site of the Babri masjid (demolished by fanatic Hindus in 1992), is today a disputed site.

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    • You surely will see it yourself one day, Madhu! 🙂

      Thanks for pointing that out! I had always been taught that Ayodhya was not a real place, some even compared it to the likes of Disney’s magical lands. Have you been there? I have added the info on my post so people won’t get confused. Thanks again! As for the mosque demolition, it’s such a tragedy to lose an invaluable heritage like that. Yet we’re seeing the same pattern being repeated in both northern Iraq and Syria, sadly.

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  15. What an amazing tale, told by both your photography and writing. Another destination I need to see and experience, you have whetted the appetite to see this amazing place for myself. The story of Hanuman, the warrior monkey, is new to me and it is fascinating to see a part of culture & history of this Hindu epic…Ramayana. Beautiful post, you make the Balinese culture something that must be experienced, and I hope to one day soon. Cheers!

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    • Randall, thanks again for your encouraging comment. The story of Ramayana is barely known outside South & Southeast Asia. But once you’re introduced to it, chances are you’ll end up utterly fascinated. 🙂 This is an example why, despite having visited the island for so many times, Bali remains a place I never get bored of returning — its colorful cultural scenes are hard to rival. One advice I would give you on visiting Bali: don’t go during peak season.

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      • That is a great thought and feeling to have ~ having a place so beautiful and always being able to offer something new…to learn, explore and keep things interesting. I very much appreciate your advice on visiting Bali, non-peak season does make the best sense ~ better opportunity to explore the culture. Cheers!

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  16. Loved your post…..its been so long since I’ve visited uluwatu. The last time I visited I remember the monkeys being very badly behaved!! And the theatre complex had not been built…… beautiful images trims Trees

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    • Terima kasih, Trees. Apparently the monkeys have been behaving badly for quite a long time. In my past trips to other islands in Indonesia, every time we saw monkeys our driver/guide/local friend always compared those monkeys with the ones in Uluwatu. I wonder if one day they’ll need to upgrade the theater again to accommodate even greater audience. Anyway, thanks again!

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  17. A beautiful post, Bama. I’m so glad we went to see Kecak at Uluwatu – in hindsight I should have tried to record it on video. The combination of a dramatic cliffside setting, exuberant costumes and the haunting choruses of “cak cak cak” made it sublime. Not to mention the fiery climax! Hanuman was my favourite character for sure. 🙂

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    • James! Makasih banyak. You would have needed four hands to record it on video and take some great shots at the same time. 🙂 I guess by now you have learned more about Ramayana, haven’t you? It’s essential to understanding cultural performances across South & Southeast Asia as many of them were created based on the epic.

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  18. Hi Bama, I’ve read the abridged book of Ramayana years ago and I truly loved it. It was a pleasure re-reading the synopsis of the story in your post. It must have been fascinating to see the story enacted in dance and music. Those colorful costumes were such feasts to the eyes. And oh, Hanuman…he’s so endearing even with fangs:) The locale is very spectacular, I can understand why some audience can be destructed. Lovely photos.

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    • Hi Marisol. Did you read it while you were in India? Because what I understand is the story of Ramayana is not widely known in the Philippines — but I could be wrong. It was a theme park in Jakarta with a Ramayana section which captured my attention as a young kid towards the Hindu epic. Sadly that section was burned down a few years after I went. Hanuman is very famous here — the 1997 Southeast Asian Games and another theme park in Jakarta had the white warrior monkey as their mascot. Thank you, Marisol!

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      • Hi Bama, no I read it here in New York. I was deep into my yoga studies then and one of the teachers encouraged me to read it. True, it’s not known in the Phlippines. That’s sad about the theme park burning down. It could have been educational to non-Hindus. I think Hanuman is popular anywehre there is a huge Hindu population. While I was in India, we saw a lot of giants statues of him everywhere we went. He’s like a rock star!

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      • Ah I see. I remember when I was in Bali I found this yoga-related magazine and one of its contents was on Ramayana.

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  19. What a fantastic post! It’s always interesting to learn about other cultures, especially through personal observation. Also, I love your dedication to travel! My own travel bucket list continues to grow, but I am definitely adding these traditional dances in Bali to my list of things to see. Your images are stunning and really helped bring your experiences to life.

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    • Thank you for your lovely comment! Learning about other cultures is one of the things which drive us to travel, isn’t it? Not only does it bring satisfaction, but also it makes us a richer person. Hopefully you’ll make it to Bali sooner than you think! 🙂

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  20. Girl Gone Expat says:

    I enjoyed reading the story about Rama and Sita with the accompanying photos. Your photos really capture and display this story great! And what an amazing place to have the play, the amphitheater on the cliff is really providing a dramatic backdrop! Very rude of people to leave before the dance was over…

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    • Hi Inger. It’s hard not to be fascinated by the story of Ramayana, and the fact that it was staged at such a dramatic location only added the magic. I agree with you on the rude people — being more considerate would have been much nicer. Thanks for reading and leaving such a lovely comment!

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  21. You’re a great storyteller Bama, your way of mixing facts with your own experience is really spellbinding :). Just out of pure curiosity, which I have a lot of, how long have you been traveling and writing for?
    And, who’s your favorite blogger?

    Thanks for a good read and I can’t wait to see what more you have to offer! 🙂

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    • Angeliqa, thank you so much for your kind words. This kind of comment is one of the reasons why I keep blogging and improving my writing skill, notwithstanding the fact that English is not my mother tongue — so double the effort! 🙂 As for traveling, the first time I really fell in love with it was on my first trip abroad ever back in 2007. I went to five European countries and was completely enchanted at the end of the trip. But it was not until 2010 after a short trip to Singapore when I decided to bring my passion for traveling, photography, and writing into another level: blogging! Some travel bloggers whose work I always look up to are my own best friend, James (notesplusultra.com), and Madhu (theurgetowander.com), an Indian blogger based out in Chennai. They also happen to be some of the earliest bloggers that I followed.

      Thank you again for your comment, Angeliqa. Speaking of what I have to offer, actually at the end of this month I’ll publish something I’ve always wanted to publish. Just wait for it. 😉

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  22. What a wonderfully detailed and visually stunning recount of this magical adventure. Magical because I spent my birthday in Bali last year and spent part of my special day here at the Uluwatu Temple watching the Kecak Fire Dance. Brings back memories – happy memories. Great detailing!!

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    • Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. To know that this post brings back good memories to those who have watched the Kecak Fire Dance in person really warms my heart. The beautiful setting itself truly is a sight to behold.

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  23. What a great story – sorry I read it so late after it was posted. The imagery really resonates with the storytelling – felt like I was actually there. I loved Indonesia when we visited for our honeymoon, and really want to go back – I’ll follow your blog to try to learn some of your great techniques. Check mine out when you have some time and let me know your thoughts – http://www.awanderingmemory.com

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    • No worries, and thanks for reading and following my blog. Apart from Bali, did you also go to other places in Indonesia for your honeymoon?

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      • I just read your post on Komodo — good internet connection has been relatively hard to find lately as I travel in the eastern part of Indonesia. Actually one ranger at the national park told me that there was a time when a local kid was killed by a hungry Komodo dragon. So much for living in the same neighborhood with those prehistoric lizards!

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      • Yes it’s such a dangerous life but they just seem to get on with it… Loved Indonesia especially Komodo was such an amazing experience. Beautiful people with beautiful scenery… Wow your there now I am following you now please let me know how it is

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      • I’m on the island of Ternate, one of the fabled Spice Islands. But it may take a while for me to write about it as I need to absorb so many new things I learned here. One thing for sure: Ternate is amazing!

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