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Preserving Balinese Cultural Heritage and Hospitality Traditions

13 May 2019

As a part of Alaya Resort Ubud’s commitment to preserving Bali’s rich cultural heritage, it recently hosted a week-long schedule of religious activities that are in line with the island’s Tri Hita Karana concept. The resort has always endeavoured to prioritise the Hindu religion with regular temple visits and conducting relevant ceremonies in accordance to the Balinese calendar. These ongoing efforts have not gone unnoticed and we are proud to have been acknowledged in the prestigious NOW Bali Awards 2019 as a respected company that honours Balinese values.

Alaya Resort Ubud’s ‘Week of Temple Festivities’ in conjunction with its Piodolan (temple anniversary celebration) was conducted from11th to 17thApril 2019. It involved a series of exciting events included a Macapat & Mekidung Competition, Gebogan Competition, Mereresik Competition, Ngias Pelinggih and Tirta Yatra that culminated in the actual Piodalan Ceremony itself. Alaya staff members contributed not only their time but also their artistic talents to this festival with vibrant dance performances such as the Rejang Renteng and Baris Jago.

Mekidung and Macapat Competition

In the lead up to the temple ceremony celebration, Alaya Resort Ubud carried out a ritualistic Balinese activity called Mekidung and Macapat” on Thursday, 11th of April 2019 at the Bale. Mekidung refers to a performance of ancient Javanese songs/chants of worship, which have both traditional and religious significance. Macapat comes from the combination of the words “maca papat papat’. It when a small group of scholars engage in a religious dialogue and share ideas with each other.

Gebogan Competition

Alaya Resort Ubud also held an inter-department Gebogan Competition on Tuesday, 16th April 2019 at its Bale. This cultural activity was conducted to promote team work and enhance solidarity between all staff members. Gebogan is a Balinese offering designed to symbolise the triangular shape of the island’s sacred Mount Agung. It consists of many kinds of fruits, cakes, flowers and other ornaments that are arranged in colourful layers on a carved stand. When a collection of elaborately constructed Gebogan are presented as offerings to God Almighty, they are ‘delivered’ to the temple by a parade of women carrying them on top of their heads. Gebogan also serve as a form of decoration at traditional ceremonies such as weddings and rites of passage celebrations.

Piodalan Ceremony

In the spirit of bringing Balinese culture and people together, Alaya Resort Ubud hosted its Piodalan (temple ceremony) on Wednesday, 17th April 2019 at the Padmasana area. This is a religious ceremony related to the birth of a sacred place/dwelling in accordance to the Balinese calendar. The majority of Balinese Hindus perform such a ceremony each year to show that they are grateful for all that has been bestowed upon them, whilst seeking future blessings as well.

The Piodalan Ceremony at Alaya Resort Ubud was opened with a Rejang Renteng Dance performed by all the married women on staff. This is a variation of the Rejang Dance – the sacred dance performed as a prelude to all kinds of religious rituals. Unlike other Balinese dances, the performers are simplistically attired in a white long sleeves kebaya (ladies top), with a yellow sarong and sash tied around the waist. These specific colours represent God: white represents the God Iswara who protects the east, while yellow represents Mahadeva, the protector of the west. The philosophy focuses on striving for a balanced life by embracing both the sunrise and sunset, as well as day and night. Finally, a group of male staff members performed the Baris Jago Dance as a closing act for the ceremony.

Dharma Wacana

Another essential component during this week of activities was Dharma Wacana, a religious sermon for all Hindu staff members at Alaya Resort Ubud.  This was delivered by Bapak Ida Rsi Acharya Waisnawa Agni Budha Wisesanatha, a former GM at Santika Hotels and owner of Zeti Management. Dharma Wacana serves to illuminate and inspire followers through Hindu teachings about spirituality. These talks are intended to help people fulfil their religious and community obligations in order to lead a more harmonious life.

Tirta Yatra

As the week of temple festivities drew to a close, Alaya Resort Ubud’s management and staff members participated in a Tirta Yatra religious activity on 23rd & 24th April 2019 at Nusa Penida. Derived from the ancient Sanskrit language, the term tirta yatra literally means “sacred holy water pilgrimage”; a journey (normally of a substantial distance) to seek and or collect holy water. These days in Bali, the original meaning is somewhat lost and tirta yatra means simply a spiritual pilgrimage.

Tirta yatra, unlike the spiritual journeys by holy men of a bygone era, can be carried out by anyone of any caste and socio-economic status. Balinese believe that titra yatra brings one closer to God, as well as fellow pilgrims. It is considered an important part of the Tri Hita Karana philosophy, which is the balance between humans, god and nature.

During this religious outing, the Alaya team visited a number of temples at Nusa Penida; Pura Dalem Ped, Pura Puncak Mundi, Pura Goa Giri Putri, Pura Dalem Bungkut. All participants prayed together and then took part in a ritual cleansing ceremony called melukat to purify the body, mind and soul with holy water. Then everyone in attendance gathered to clean up the temple area. A significant donation was also given to help maintain the site and its facilities (toilets, parking etc). Given the ever-increasing popularity of spiritual tourism and the large number of pilgrims now choosing to pray at Nusa Penida, this donation was gratefully received by the temple’s resident priest. Lastly, the Alaya team finished off with “Mekidung” (singing in Balinese), Dancing and Dharma Tula.

During this week of religious activities, Alaya Resort Ubud invited all in-house guests as well as media partners to experience this unique temple festival. They were given the opportunity to dress in traditional sarongs and pray alongside staff members to express gratitude for all of the blessings bestowed by God Almighty. The ceremony reinforced the resort’s commitment to Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese Hindu lifestyle philosophy that is all about maintaining a harmonious balance between mankind (Pawongan), the environment (Palemahan) and God Almighty (Parahyangan).


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