vrijdag 5 november 2010

Into the mountains of Nusa Penida.

Click for the film under “links’: youtube 2010#16 Into the mountains of Nusa Penida.

And for more information about the island: www.nusapenida.nl

After a good lunch (nasi goreng and soup) opposite of the Pura Penataran Ped we decide to go into the mountains. Or better to say hills, because the highest top reaches 521 meters. Our plan is to visit the temples Pura Puncak Mundi and the Pura Puseh Landesa Batukandik. Our friend Seta gives a explanation of Puncak Mundi. Puncak means hill (`mountain of middle high´ he says literally), mun is the top and di is number one. So Puncak Mundi is the top hill of Nusa Penida.

Going off the coast road we immediately get higher and higher. Left and right the turquoise ocean is visible. The car is shaking on the bumpy road and makes creaking noises. People along the road, specially children are shouting ´hello´ and waving with the hands. It appears very soon that the whole island is celebrating this special day. Motorbikes with people in white and carrying offerings are passing us. Also going to some temple.

The sight of the sea is soon replaced by many jungle green and houses.

Suddenly we are there.

Just as we arrive some Balinese people are leaving the temple. They just finished their praying and offering. When they see how we are dressed their thumbs get high. Inside the inner part of the temple, after having going down some steps, one priest is still praying.

When also he leaves the spot we notice the silence. To be disturbed by monkeys on the backside of the temple where the jungle begins. Some of them are carrying babies.

The temple we classify as a simple one. But very strong. Like the other temples on Nusa Penida the use of limestone. Which gives all these temples on the island their special character.

We stay not very long. When entering the temple compound I saw a sign of another temple. I am wondering if that is far away. ´No, very close,´ says the man with Seta started a conversation.

On the car park more cars are arriving. People go directly from there to this temple which is the Pura Dalem temple. I follow them.

I go alone this time, because for Fifi one time going down and going up the steps is enough for the day.

Because people are praying and offering inside the small temple, I stay outside, I don´t want to interrupt.

And then we are driving in the direction of Batukandik. The territory here becomes even more rough.

When we arrive in the small village Seta has to ask. He stops the car for that reason next to a big open field in the centre. Under a big banyan tree some youngsters hang around. Specially he wants to know where to park the car, he doesn´t know because he never visited the temple. That´s why he takes the opportunity to accompany us.

On the Nusa Penida website I have seen a drawing of W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, who was here in 1937. It is for me the main reason to be here. Because in all our travelling in the course of the years on Bali we have been many times following his footsteps, sometimes with a print of one of his drawings in the hand.

We follow Seta, one kretek loosely in one hand, for whom the temple is completely new. Fifi is protected against the sun by her red/blue umbrella.

Here no other people.

I go instinctively in the direction of the special throne of which Nieuwenkamp made the drawing. He called it the Surya throne.

Indeed the throne is remarkable. In the front a carved flat body (so two dimensional) with both arms holding the empty seat.

On the backside in the same way a flat Garuda, with only one thing three dimensional: the birdhead coming out.

Rows of shrines, one is dedicated to I Mecaling (Ratu Gede). Pagode like towers in blue coloured wood. Also some remarkable statues such as bidadaris (angellike figures) and singhas on the corners of the shrines, from wood and stone, painted in fresh colours.

By all this the whole temple makes a coloured impression. Emphasized by the green of the grass under our feet. Even walking makes no sound.


We stay there for a while breathing in the holy atmosphere. For Fifi this is the highlight of the mountain temples. It is good to finish with this one. So we decide to go `home´.

But first we try to reach the other cliffy coast.

When we arrive in our homestay, we take take a small nap and eat something on the cosy market place before going to the village of Seta, because there is one more thing to do for today: the ceremony in the family temple this evening. Quite a day.

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