Bali is an island province in the archipelago of Indonesia. The province of Bali consists of the main island, together with a few smaller islands that are close by. The population of the island is a little over four million and the majority of these practices the Hindu religion. Bali is, in fact, home to the majority of Indonesia’s Hindu devotees.
Religious and Cultural Influences
Bali has been subject to a number of religious cultural influences over the centuries and it is believed that some influences of Hinduism reached the archipelago of Indonesia as early as the first century. The strongest influence was brought to the island by Indian traders between the 9th and 16th centuries. Whilst not much is definitely known about this period, there are several theories about the ways in which the religion arrived on the islands. It is thought that the Indian traders developed relationships with local women and married them, thus converting their Balinese partners to the Hindu religion. However, defeated Indian soldiers, seeking refuge on the island, may also have had some influence over the religious practices there. It is also possible that Balinese people who travelled to India may have brought the culture back to the island with them and that their families then accepted the religion for themselves.
It is certain that by the 14th century, both Hinduism and Buddhism were widely practised in the archipelago, before being largely displaced by Islam. Buddhism had replaced Hinduism as the main religion of Sumatra and Java and certain elements of the Buddhist faith began to have an influence over Balinese culture. However, with the advance of Islam, only Bali retained Hinduism as its main religion, due to perceived cultural barriers to the acceptance of Islam.
With some Buddhist elements still prevalent in Balinese religious culture, the development of a unique sect of Hinduism began to appear and this is the historic basis for the modern Balinese Hinduism that we see today.
The Order of the Universe
Balinese Hinduism, known as Agama Hindu Dharma, is based upon the fundamental principles of Hinduism. The belief is that the Universe is subject to order, or dharma, together with a disordering force, or adharma. Hindus believe that the key to life, death and eternal peace is to strike a balance and to create harmony between these two forces. Balinese Hinduism splits the Universe into three layers. Heaven, or suarga, is the abode of the gods and the highest level, buwah, or the world of man, is the middle level. Hell, or bhur, is the home of the demons and the place where people’s spirits go to be punished for their wrongdoings on Earth. These layers are duplicated in the human body, with the head, body and feet and are also represented in the shrines outside homes and buildings.
Daily Offerings to the Gods
In addition to the traditional Hindu gods, Wisnu and Brahma, Balinese Hinduism celebrates a number of deities, although the supreme god is Saang Hyang Widhi Wasa. Balinese Hinduism worships gods and goddesses of rice, mountains, lakes and the sea, amongst other elements. It is a key belief of the religion that the gods, together with the forces of order and disorder, must be appeased with offerings. In this way, Balinese Hindus believe that harmony can be achieved and they can be freed from the cycle of reincarnation, thus achieving release, or moksa and eternal peace. These offerings, made daily by devotees, can be seen at shrines and other places across the island.
This article was contributed by Lloyd, a freelance travel writer, on behalf of Cheapflights Australia.
Famous for its stunning climate and breath-taking blue flag beaches, holidays to Turkey are the best for beach lovers. Searching online for holiday deals will ensure you get the best price on your family summer escape.
The main family friendly holiday resorts in Turkey can be found to the west of the country, on the coast of Aegean Sea. This location gives the destination its typically Mediterranean climate, however the Asian influence cannot be forgotten.
In addition to the usual summer sun and cooler winters, Turkey’s Eurasian location means that highs during the summer can reach up to 35 degrees C.
If you are visiting during the school summer holidays, be sure to pack plenty of sun protection including lotions, hats and clothing. The sun is strong and although the sea temperatures of 24 degrees C are cooling, it cannot protect delicate skin.
Staying in Turkey on an all inclusive basis can be highly beneficial when travelling with children. Although conditions vary for each accommodation, you can generally expect all inclusive local food and drinks for a minimum of 12 hours per day.
Do your research and opt for a complex which is on the beach and has a selection of swimming pools and watersports nearby. Many tour operators offer hotel run Kids Clubs while hotels may provide their own entertainment for children including activities, parks and discos.
Depending on which area of Turkey you choose to spend your getaway, make the most of the opportunity to explore nearby islands.
From Marmaris families can enjoy a day trip on the seas to various ports in Rhodes. Slightly further north, in Bodrum you will be able to visit the popular Greek island of Kos via boat.
The best 2012 holiday deals are available online, book now to secure your ideal choice from the array of holidays to Turkey available.
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