A special highlight at our first week volunteering here at Jiwa Damai was an invitation from the staff to attend two temple ceremonies. We left here late afternoon with 2 cars, but in order to attend we had to dress in traditional Balinese clothes. Our guide for the evening and the President of Lagu Damai Foundation, Wira, brought sarongs, udengs (headpiece for men), ribbons and a blouse for us to dress in. Finally, Astri picked some beautiful flowers that we wore behind our ears; now looking a bit more like the locals, we were ready.
After a good hour drive we arrived at the first temple, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, the main sukas and water temple in Bali. Out of our car windows we could see myriads of people with offerings on their way to the temple.
We walked through a stunning carved gate to find ourselves in a big courtyard where a band was playing music. A group of mostly older men performed a warrior dance with symbolic spears.
It appeared we were the only foreigners that were welcomed to the inner- temple, which we can attribute to our Balinese friends.
Once inside we watched as offerings were presented to the Gods. We kept a small box made out of banana leaves containing flowers and incense in front of us.
Sitting on the floor we meditated for brief periods throughout the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony we took some rice out of a silver bowl, put it on our forehead and then ate a bit. Afterwards, we were blessed with sacred water. The sun had already set while leaving the temple and the full moon came up behind Mount Agung; the scenery was just breath-taking.
We set off to the second temple ceremony at the Mother Temple of Besakih. The Besakih Temple is the largest and most important temple in Bali and is at the base of Mount Agung. We had the honor of experiencing a second ceremony there as well before heading back.
We were very tired after the adventure and slept in our car seats the whole way back to Jiwa Damai.