Do you remember the book “Eat, Pray and Love” and the movie of the same name? Can you remember where the main character re-discovers love? Yesssss …. You’re right – Bali, the Island of Love. It’s quite natural to find love namely in that place where the aroma of frangipani is everywhere, beauty, sunshine and quietness surround you and the smile of the Bali people charms you.
The island is a province of Indonesia. It’s situated under the Equator and is always advertised around the world with its scent of flowers, volcanoes, the smiles of the good-hearted locals, the thousands of temples and extraordinary but simple religious beliefs, the notorious Balienese massages and fantastic surfing waves.
Unlike Indonesia which is an Islamic country, Bali is quite different from it maybe because of the spread-out Hinduism there. The religious beliefs are a bit odd but they actually, lay the foundations of the strong connection with nature and especially with the 5 elements – earth, water, air, fire and spirit which accompany human beings from birth and after death. Hinduism is well known for the worship of numerous Gods as well as for the cult of flowers. And Gods in Bali are really great in number – there are Gods of rice, flowers, trees, grass, rain, leaves, etc. and all of them are worshipped in the so-called puras (temples) and shrines which are about 20 000 in number. That’s why that part of Indonesia is often nicknamed as the Island of the Gods or the Island a Thousand of Puras.
Principally, Bali people thank their Gods with daily offerings. They prepare small square palm-leaf baskets (called Canang sari) full of beautifully arranged fragrant and colourful flowers with a coin or a candy, rice or a bamboo between them. There’s a subset of certain elements that must always exist in every Canang sari, namely – leaves of betel, palm nuts and lime. This way they present the colours of the three main Gods: Brahma (red), Vishnu (green) and Shiva or Mahadeva (white). Apart from them locals carry umbul-umbul (a typical ritual Balinese flag) and penjor (an 8-metre bamboo pole in the streets decorated with palm leaves, corn stubs, fruits, flowers, sweets) during ritual ceremonies.
As we see, Bali’s the island of flowers and they play an inevitable role there. Their variety is huge but there are some really widely spread flowers. If the Indonesian national flower is a white and aromatic jasmine, the typical Balinese flower is frangipani. It’s available in every Canang sari as well as women bring it embedded in their hair. Cananga (or ylang-ylang) is known as the perfume tree and is widely used in the world perfume industry due to its gentle and amazing fragrance. Rafflesia is the other flowering plant that adds its fragrance to the air in Bali.
The Indonesian island is a renowned tourist destination attracting millions of people annually. It’s the place for all these who would enjoy a quiet evening sitting in front of a Balinese style bungalow, surrounded by the aroma of frangipani while the night is falling down. And it’s the Mekka of surfers and especially of those coming from Australia. And it’s the paradise for all beach-lovers where they can enjoy the gentle touch of the sun while drinking a cup of Kopi luwak (type of coffee made of the seeds of coffee berries that have already been eaten and defecated by toddy cats). And much more and more …… 🙂