© Courtesy of Instagram account: @aryaadii02
Bamboo is associated with Lord Krishna and his bansuri (flute made with bamboo). In Bali this versatile grass (it is an evergreen grass, not a tree) is endemic and is used in the construction of dwellings, religious symbols like Penjors, in agriculture and eaten as a delicacy (young bamboo shoots).
There is a sensual beauty about this grass that grows to gigantic proportions, hence confused with a tree. Bali has about 19 species of bamboo.
Every year before Galungan* exquisitely decorated Penjors are made and installed at the entrance of temples and homes. Fruits, vegetables, various cereals, rice cake decorations are hung from it. A shrine, sanggah penyor, is woven from yellow coconut leaves and attached to it at eye-level. Chinese coins are added as thanks giving. A Sampian is hung from the top of the Penjor. It symbolizes the cosmic wheel.
Some believe that the Penjor is related to the Anantaboga, the world serpent, its head being the shrine and its tail the extremity of the bamboo.
The use of a bamboo in the construction of a Penjor is based on the belief that it represents Brahma ─ because it is empty inside and yet has the strength and durability to withstand the natural elements ─ the emptiness being nothing and yet, everything.
The Penjor is also used in large religious ceremonies at temples and for decorative purposes.
The numerous interpretations of the use of bamboo in the making of the Penjor and the significance of the Penjor itself add a mystical sense of wonderment. For a first timer on the isle an encounter with beautifully decorated Penjors, heads bowed, and swaying in the breeze leaves an indelible impression on the subconscious and gently nudges the divine within.
Walking in a grove is an experience with the wind whistling through the bamboo, the creaking timbres and rustling of leaves. It is like a symphony, a symphony that calms the senses.
In the ambience of giant bamboo trees one can relax in luxury and partake of a sumptuous meal at the Bamboo Forest Restaurant by WHM, situated 900 meters above sea level on the slopes of the sacred Mount Batukaru.
WakaLandCruise will get you to this bamboo paradise in comfort!
*According to the Purana Bali Dwipa Galungan has been celebrated since 882 CE. Of course, there are other references that can be found in the historical archives.