Gods and Goblins in Bali

Tucked away deep in the Indonesian jungle, Bali boasts one of the earth’s most fascinating cultures. Unique religious views, ancient tradition and ritual, ornate and archaic stone creations and languid rainforest all contribute to the mystique of this exotic

The fire-dance in Bali.
The fire-dance in Bali.

country. Here, you can relax on the beach or successfully satiate  your thirst for high-strung adventure.

“We hardly have a moment to gasp in awe, but I am whisked away to watch the Kecak or a trance-induced fire dance that has its roots in exorcism.

Depicting scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana, the chanting often referred to as Ramayana Monkey Chant gets rather dramatic and ends on a fiery note when the trance ritual begins.As the circle of more than hundred men begin to chant “chak,” swaying their arms and heads about the stage, their chorus moves from a mere murmur to a loud crescendo of voices.

A dancer on a wooden horse  bursts into the stage and gives a power-packed performance and then leaves you gasping and speechless as he jumps into the flames in a state of trance.

I stand there transfixed, as the performers put out the fire and drag the dancer out and the applause echoes down the shore.

I linger around for a while as the performers leave and then walk towards Tanah Lot one last time.

As the waves lash the rocks, it sounds almost like another ritual. I slowly retrace my steps , thinking of the day spent in the company of gods, demons and spirits.”

By Lakshmi Sharath, travel writer for GoNOMAD.com