I was very fortunate to be able to attend a very rare large purification ceremony, Karya Agung Panca Wali Krama, at the Pura Samuan Tiga temple in Bedulu, near Ubud. This ceremony was last held about 20 years ago and preparations had started more than 6 months ago. Pura Samuan Tiga means literally “Temple of the Meeting of the Three”, most likely referring to the Hindu Trinity. It is Bali’s third most important temple, after the mother temple Pura Besakih and Pura Ulun Danu Batur.
Some of the rituals are even new to the younger Balinese themselves and the full ceremony continued for more than 30 days.
People come from all over the island to pray and offer at this temple.
On this day endless rituals are conducted to cleanse the temple’s sacred paraphernalia, including the Pratima (palanquin), the lion-shaped Barong, believed to guard the community, and the demonic figure of Rangda.
Villages take turns to parade their temple’s sacred paraphernalia for purification rituals.
Nampyog is a kind of dance, in which 60 permas (female devotees) hold hands as they circle around the temple’s middle courtyard in a gently swaying dance walk. The Nampyog is also referred to as the Sutri Dance and is conducted three times and then followed by the Ngober Nyambung. In this procession, a long white shawl is tied around the waists of the permas and then gently held by the next lady in the line.
A rarely seen Ngober Nyambung, a procession of female devotees, or permas, holding each other with long white shawls.
After the Ngober Nyambung procession comes the Ombak-ombakan, where 360 of the parekan (male devotees) hold each other as they circle around the temple’s courtyard, letting out cries as if possessed. This ritual is meant to cleanse the area and prepare for the next ritual, the Siat Sampian.
The next unique traditional ritual is called Siat Sampian, or sampian war, when the male devotees use young coconut leaves and fight a ritual war, as a symbol of Rwa Bhineda, the good and bad side. The winner is symbolised as Dharma (goodness) and the loser is symbolised by Adharma (badness).
A traditional Legong Kupu-Kupu, or Butterfly Legong dance, to entertain guests as well as devotees.
Barong is a lion-like creature and character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guardians in the mythological traditions of Bali. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.
Rangda is the demon queen of the leyaks in Bali, according to traditional Balinese mythology. Terrifying to behold, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches against the leader of the forces of good — Barong.
For my favourite photos of this event check out the gallery: