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Backlash Online As Tourist Disrespects Culture At Sacred Bali Ritual

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One of the most spiritually enriching experiences tourists can take part in in Bali is a melukat ceremony.

The traditional water blessing ritual performed by Balinese Hindus is an element of the culture Balinese people have been prepared to share with outsiders, and it must be respected.


Man takes part in Melukat ceremony at Tirta Empul Temple in Bali.jpg

Footage of a male tourist attempting to perform the melukat ceremony without wearing a sarong has been shared online.

In Balinese culture, it is essential to wear a sarong and sash when entering a temple. The call for all people to wear a sarong at a temple, regardless of their faith, is not simply a dress code.

Worshippers and visitors must wear a sarong as an expression of respect for Balinese culture and humility in a sacred space. 

Tourists taking part in the water purification ceremonies at Tirta Empul Temple in Gianyar, the most famous water purification temple in Bali, are welcome to take part in the deeply spiritual ritual, but in order to do so, a few simple but hugely significant rules must be followed.

A ritual is only a ritual if all elements are adhered to in the specified way in the specified order. The tourist in question has not only hugely disrespected the temple and carried out a sacrilegious act but also has not even conducted the ceremony properly; there are no blessings for him. 

Both men and women must wear a sarong and sash. Men may wear the sarong around the waist and do not need to cover their top half if they don’t want to. Women tie the sarong around the neck and mid-back with the sash around the waist. 

In the now-viral video, the man can already be seen in the spring pool at Tirta Empul Temple. He is tapped on the shoulder by a fellow worshipper.

The audio is difficult to decipher, but the disrespectful tourist’s reaction is clearly aggressive. The pair is then approached by one of the temple staff. The man without the sarong becomes increasingly agitated lashing out at the worshipper and temple staff.

The video has been reposted across several citizen journalism sites, and the scene has caused real offense to Balinese Hindus across the island. 

One commenter wrote, “Omg, deport these people for disrespecting the Religion and Culture of Bali. This is a special place for spiritual cleansing. We pray here together as a family.” 

Visitors who have no respect for the people of Bali and their Religion and Culture should be deported. Disrespect is not acceptable in any country.”

Another netizen made the point that “It is like ‘man refuses to wear pants in Catholic Church.’ How can people be so ignorant and non-respectful about places that they are visiting.”

There are increasing calls online for the man in question to be tracked down and deported. This is exactly the kind of culturally disrespectful behavior that the authorities and the Tourism Task Force are on a mission to stamp out. 

Tirta Empul Temple Bali.jpg

In 2023, the Governor of Bali at the time, Wayan Koster, issued a series of dos and don’ts that tourists must adhere to while visiting the island.

These rules were put in place to encourage tourists to make the most of their time on the island but also to prevent incidences such as the situation at Tirta Empul Temple earlier this week from happening again. 

Worshippers-at-Tirta-Empul-Temple-in-Bali

Over the last 12 months, there have been dozens of cases of tourists disrespecting sacred sites, knowingly and unknowingly.

Community leaders and the authorities have been quick to track down individuals who have broken the law and disrespected local culture. Punishments have included fines, restorative justice agreements, and even deportations.

Couple-Walk-Down-Campuhan-Ridge-Towards-Temple-in-Bali

Since many of these cases have gone viral, the public humiliation of being caught out has also been notable. 

Indonesia has a zero-tolerance stance on public nudity and disrespectful acts towards religious, spiritual, or culturally significant and historical landmarks. 

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Mac

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Temple in Bali, made to make money and create jobs for poor educated local people!

Arthur

Saturday 20th of January 2024

too busy counting the cash....

J West

Sunday 21st of January 2024

@Arthur, the fake spiritualist mantra…..’ Om Bintang Bintang Bintang’

Mick

Saturday 20th of January 2024

Maybe the god of "riding on the footpath against traffic, with 5 kids and no helmets" will come to get this misbehaving walking ATM.

jack

Saturday 20th of January 2024

If its so sacred it shouldnt be a tourist destination full stop.

Firechef

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

@jack, True, but why not fornicate your religion for the sake of money. Happened in every religion since the beginning.

J West

Saturday 20th of January 2024

Among Eurotrash and sundry other vacuous twatpackers , an early morning spiritual cleansing in cool water is known as a hangover cure and a great way to clean one’s anus of toilet paper dingleballs. What these hard drinking ,drugged addled disco clowns and Gen Xers are saying to Bali is “ Dude, you took our money, now STFU…..Bro.

Firechef

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

@J West, Talking about trash...where are You from? You talk like American Trailer Trash!