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Bali – The Seen and Unseen

When Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Nobel Laureate, arrived on the island of Bali he said, ‘I see India all around me but I don’t recognise it.’ There is much truth in this. Balinese vibrant ethos is a unique blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Animism. The island offers a banquet of enchanting aromas, colours, rituals and mesmerising ceremonies. Its fervent spirit constantly celebrates the traditional in the face of growing modernity. Asta Kosala Kosali, the ancient Balinese architectural code of construction still exists amidst the mushrooming of malls and burgeoning tourism. And it is this spirit that nurtures and sustains the famous Balinese hospitality. The smile. The sarong. The floral tributes and the rhythms of nature mirrored in the Gamelan.

From colourful crowded tourist beaches, neon lit nightlife, mountains, lakes, volcanoes, lush rice fields to the effervescent wildlife of the West Bali National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat) teeming with birds, deer, wild boar, cats, reptiles, butterflies and more. It is home to the near extinct Bali Starling and the famous crocodile tree (panggal buaya). The surface of the tree has spikes that resemble the back of a crocodile. It is used by master craftsmen to create the world famous Balinese wood carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed the wood has a magical feel to it.

NusaBay Menjangan’s private Kotal Beach

 

The banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) is found all over the isle. It is considered sacred for it represents the cycle of birth, life and death. It gives life, sustains life and protects the spirits in the afterlife. Visitors to Bali will notice that these trees have a black and white chequered cloth tied around the trunk and offerings placed at the foot of the trees. The black and white represents the two worlds of the seen and unseen, the sekala and niskala.  In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna uses the banyan tree as a representation to describe the true meaning of life to Arjuna. It is depicted on the national coat of arms of Indonesia. It is a symbol of the unity and power of Indonesia.

With this rich heritage of taste, sight, sound and soul comes the attendant luxuries of fine hospitality that soothes the senses — The natural environs of NusaBay bungalows built with natural materials merging with the lush forest of the Bali National Park on one side and opening out to a five kilometre beachfront crowned with an emerald coral reef inhabited by exotic tropical fish, a snorkeler’s paradise. The sanctity of nature is respected here, so you won’t see or hear anything other than the denizens of the wild – butterflies, black faced monkeys, deer, the symphony of birds at dawn and dusk. Of course, the usual perks of embracing this wildlife are deluxe facilities that include air conditioned bungalows with ensuite bathrooms, gear for snorkelling and kayaking, a large swimming pool, Indonesian cuisine and more.

Beachfront Villa at NusaBay Menjangan by WHM

And to think that Bali is just one island of nearly 17,000 in Indonesia, one of the most bio diverse countries on the planet that speaks in many tongues, over 300 languages, the main alpha lingua being Bahasa Indonesia.