Stairways to the Heavens …

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The Ashram is Heaven all on its own … but today my new friend, Shannon Amos, and I headed out on a trek, a journey to discover some of the beauty in this paradise, Ubud, Bali.

We hired a taxi driver, Dewar, who showed us around taking us to some of the most breathtaking sights in Ubud.  A driver for the whole day $40.  A day to remember, a day to cherish, a day to take in some of the great wonders of Bali.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace  is located in the Tegalalang Village north of Ubud Bali featured by the amazing rice terrace set in the cliff.  Tegalalang Village is located on 600 m above sea level sweltering in hot temperatures.  As you can imagine there are hundreds of stairs to climb both up and down to access each level of this beautiful, must see, terrace.  It is just like you would see in the pictures, a breathtaking sight on first glance, a breath rising up inside myself in awe of this beauty of this natural setting build with the hand of Balinese farmers who cultivate and keep this land immaculate.  There are Balinese people located at various locations throughout the terrace with baskets asking for donations to pass through, although the sign indicated a donation they are very vocal about the amount of the donation if does not meet their standards.  The terrace set up so that passing through these locations more than once is common and the keeper of the gate insists on another payment.  I believe that when a donation is posted, a donation should be accepted.  As we passed through one of the gatekeepers he was insistent on a higher payment, my friend Shannon did not have any “little” money (which is anything under $10,000 -$10 USD), he took her note and made change keeping what he considered the right donation.  We let it go.  As we came back through a second time and were met with his insistence to pay once again, we said no and found an alternative route back to the start, although treacherous, we made our way back.  Dragon flies were abound that day whirling and twirling in and out of sight, sitting to rest on a sprig allowing me to capture the beauty of this tiny creature.

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Next stop, the Temple Gunung Kawi with another hundred thousand steps going down which only means one thing, you gotta climb back up.   Temperatures hot with high humidity, the sweating never seems to stop.  This was a beautifully hand crafted temple with a gorgeous landscape surrounding it complete with a river running through it.

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this tiny beauty greeted us at the gate …

Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple north east of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into some 7-metre-high (23 ft) sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. On the east side there are five temples that are dedicated, according to one theory, to King Udayana, his queen Mahendradatta, and their sons Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. The temples on the west side are dedicated, according to the same theory, to the king’s minor queens or concubines. (wikipedia)

Next stop Tirta Empul Tampak Siring – Bali Holy Water Spring Temple

This was an amazing cultural experience.  Modest dress is most important and respectful when visiting any of the holy sites or temples; a covering of the shoulders and the knees is a sign of respect to the Balinese people.   As you enter the grounds and pay the modest fee to enter you are given a sarong and a sash to wrap around your waist showing respect to the holy space.

Upon entering the holy temple the first thing I notice was the locals, the Hindu people performing their bathing rituals; stepping up to the first shower, taking an offering from the small baskets above (a flower) holding it between their thumbs that are then placed onto their forehead bowing in prayer, releasing the offering to the holly water then taking the water into both hands to splash it over the face and head, finally putting their whole head and face into the flow of the holly water.   Completely immersed in prayer, not seemingly bothered by the paparazzi snapping wildly behind them.  They simply move from one shower to the next to the next completing a special ritual 30 times in all moving from shower to shower continuing the spray of holly water.  It was such an honour to witness such ritual shared so freely.

Finally, the Tegenungan Water Fall – the Tegenungan waterfall lies at Tegenungan Village, approx. 5 kilometers, south east Ubud located at the sacred River of Petanu.  Hiking through the jungle, down another plethora of concrete steps to find this hidden waterfall was a treasure to close this day filled with wonder.

 

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