Knowing Bali was a transformative experience. Although the city itself is not the most beautiful in the world, the energy of this region is simply surreal. The people’s connection with the Hinduism, beliefs and other small details of the local culture are passionate and each singularity captivates you.
One of the most special places we visit there is the temple Uluwatu Luhur Temple, one of the most famous in Bali. Even though it is crowded and with many tourists, it is that kind of experience that you need to have, you know?
For those who don’t know, the Uluwatu temple is in Ubud, in the same region as Sacred Monkey Forest. That is, you can do both tours on the same day and have two super different experiences in a short period of time. I promise it’s very worth it ?
I already say that the landscape around the temple is absurdly beautiful. The cliffs and the sea just below the rock formations give a dramatic air to the area, even though it is such a spiritualized space. Unfortunately the temples themselves are closed to tourists. But, the landscape and the energy of the place alone are enough to surprise you.
Before entering the site, it is necessary to pay a fee of about 10 reais per person (IDR 50,000). Once this is done, you will need to place the sarong – a type of petticoat to cover the legs as a sign of respect for the gods.
At the end of the day, very early in the evening, preparations for the Kecak. The ritual, also called Fire Dance, is done in several temples in Bali, all of which are usually full.
Before the dance starts, they light a big fire and all the participants take their places. After that, you live a good 60 minutes having one of the most intense experiences in life.
The most amazing thing about the performance is the fact that it is done without the support of musical instruments, using only the voice and body movements. It is as if the energy of men passes through the body along with the melody of their voices. Crazy, really.
The sounds are produced by a choir with more than 70 men telling the story of Prince Rama and the rescue of his wife, Sita, who had been kidnapped by the demon Rawana. In the midst of this narrative they produce the sound “cak cak” – hence the name kecak (which, incidentally, is pronounced as kechak). The sounds, accompanied by the choreography, immerse you in that culture. It’s surreal.
As far as we know, dance is an adaptation of a Balinese ritual ancient beeem called Sanghyang. The idea of the ritual would be to repel evil spirits and, for this reason, the dancers entered a kind of trance. The kecak, however, is just a version made for us Westerners. The dance as a whole is very intense. So much so, that Paulo and I went three times to assimilate what we were experiencing.
So, did you feel like visiting the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple? Take a look at our vlog over there and take the opportunity to learn even more about the kecak!