Travel Pics Theme: T for Temples. Don’t monkey with the dancers!

uluwatu-temple-bali-edited

For our final #Temples travelpic, lets head to Pura Luhur Uluwatu, or Uluwatu Temple in Bali.

This is a ‘sea temple’, built on a clifftop, and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bali.

The temple started life sometime in the first millennium CE, but the current structure was expanded in the 11th century.

The name Pura Luhur Uluwatu is significant. Pura means Temple, and Uluwatu is the place-name .. but Luhur means either ‘Imposing and Majestic’, or ‘Noble and Honorable’.

It got the name because a sage is reputed to have gained ‘moksha’, or breaking out of the cycle of birth-rebirth, after designing and building the shrines at the temple.

The other things the temple are famous for are the monkeys that inhabit the temple in their thousands, and the Kecac dancers who perform in a plaza beside the path to the temple (that’s where this pic was taken from.)

Kecac is a Balinese form of chanting or dancing – where men (and it is almost always men) wear checked cloths and chant Kak-Kak-Kak rhythmically while dancing in circles,  to represent the battle described in the Ramayana – between the Demon king Ravana and Lord Rama (who is supported by the monkey-like Vanara people).

 

Kecak dance, Uluwatu temple

But it’s not an ancient dance-form .. in fact, the dancing was developed in the 1930s by a German artist and musician who was living in Bali (although he may have modified a style of dancing that was already being developed by indigenous Balinese).

In any case, the fact that Kecac dancing features the ‘Monkey people’ – and that there are literally thousand of semi-domesticated monkeys at Uluwatu – makes this the natural home of Kecac – and nightly shows entertain tourists with this magnificent backdrop.

 

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