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Among Gods and Demons

Bali, in Indonésia, was a semi-independent society of buddhists and hindus until the fourteenth century, time when it was settled by Majapahits hindus from Java. These took with them their religion, rituals, art, literature, music and culture. Although there were already strong religious beliefs and an active cultural life, this new influence simply superimposed on the existing practices, which made the balinese interpretation of hinduism so peculiar. Since then, Bali has enchanted the world!

When we land on this island, known as Island of Gods, we enter directly into a world of ancient traditions, patent in colourful ceremonies, dramatic dances and wonderful temples. Gods, demons and spirits are part of a whole spiritual that makes part of the balinese daily life, that absorb us.

Daily rituals are practiced by balinese people in order to maintain harmony between good and evil. For them, even the good as the bad spirits, need the same attention, care and affection. Canang sari is one of the daily offerings made by balinese hindus to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, the Supreme God. The word canang is composed by two syllables of the Kawi language (ancient javanese): can, means beautiful and nang, purpose. At the same time, sari means essence. Thus, Canang sari is the essence of the mind, the pure purpose as a symbol of fidelity and respect for the Gods.

Palm leaves, food, colourful flowers, incense and tobacco usually constitute Canang sari. This one is finished by putting up an amount of money, kepeng, hence doing the essence, sari, of the offering.

While preparing this offering, balinese hindus invest their time and effort doing a self sacrifice, fulfilling the perspective and philosophy of balinese life, Tri Hita Karana. Tri means three, Hita prosperity and Karana causes, being, therefore, an universal concept which is based on three causes for prosperity, attracting harmonious and balanced relationships. Ties the relation of man with God, Parahyangan, with the surrounding environment, Palemahan, and with the humanity, Pawongan.

While walking through Bali, we come across these offerings in temples, streets, beaches, shops, familiar shrines and even on the sidewalks. Step up in one is seen as a great offense, so be careful and watch your feet!


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Swimming with giant turtles and whale sharks in Philippines, having magic encounters with orangutans in Borneo’s rainforests, hanging out with villagers in remote mountains in Indonesia, being absorbed by colours, smells and people in India, sharing smiles in Vietnam…My name is Miriam and I’m the CEO and, at the same time, Tour Leader on the travel agency The Wanderlust. I started travelling at the age of 8 and nowadays I spend my time between Portugal and the world, backpacking and wandering through countries with a culture and civilization completely different from mine.You may find me losing myself between streets and alleys, smells, sounds and tastes. Enjoying the silence of the mountains, the majesty of temples and the vastness of the forests. Observing animals in their natural habitats and the daily lives of the people who cross my path. Feeling the differences that make us unique and, at the same time, equals! For sure you will find me delighting in a beautiful beach, riding some good waves and exploring the wonderful underwater world.As a traveller, what really moves me is the chance of collecting moments, memories, experiences, friendships but, above all, the opportunity of leaving something good behind, knowing that in some way I changed someone’s life, even if it is just for a few seconds…with a smile.



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