Bali is preparing for the auspicious Galungan and Kuningan festivals which will take place from 2nd August until 12th August.
The festivals are of huge cultural and spiritual significance to Balinese Hindus. During the next couple of weeks, tourists must be aware that there will be some changes to some tourist activities in order to prioritize worship and family time.
Galungan is the Balinese festival that celebrates the triumph of dharma over adharma, good over evil. The festival begins on the Wednesday of ‘Dungguan’, which is the eleventh week of the 210-day traditional Balinese pawukon calendar.
This means that Galungan and Kuningan happen two times a year.
It is a really special time to be in Bali. Spirits are high, and the whole island can feel more connected and more spiritually aligned than usual.
The first day of Galungan marks the day when ancestral spirits of the deceased visit the earthly plain.
The final day of the festival, Kuningan, is when the spirits return to their other-worldly realms.
Galungan’s most famous feature is the hanging of the penjor, adorned bamboo poles, along all the streets.
It is a happy time to be in Bali, a time that communities prioritize family time and worship even more than usual.
In order to ensure that local people are able to conduct their ceremonies in full and without disturbance, some of the island’s most famous, culturally significant, and popular temples will be closed to visitors.
From the 2nd to the 6th of August, the Sad Kahyangan Lempuyang Temple, also known in English as the Gateway to Heaven Temple, will be closed to tourists.
The closure has been announced by the Head of the Purwayu Traditional Village, I Nyoman Jati.
In a circular letter, he wrote, “This kind of closure is routine every Pujawali or during Ida Bhatara’s pilgrimage to Sad Kahyangan Lempuyang Temple. During this closure, tourists should not come to the Heaven’s Gate Tourism Object.”
The temple hit the headlines this week after a video went viral of a couple kissing moments after getting engaged between the famous temple gates.
While many people saw the moment as sweet, the moment triggered a backlash online since intimate relations of any kind within a Balinese Hindu temple are considered deeply disrespectful, even sacrilegious.
Officials from the temple have confirmed that they are investigating the matter.
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The Galungan and Kuningan festivals are a wonderful opportunity for tourists to really observe and immerse in Balinese culture.
Many communities do invite tourists to observe or even be a part of festivals, but tourists must be sure to dress and behave in an appropriate way in temples and in community ceremonies.
With ten days of festivities ahead, tourists must know that some tourism businesses, restaurants, cafes, shops, and attractions may be closed or have different opening times between 2nd August and 12th August.
Most attractions and tourist facilities stay open during Galungan and Kuningan, unlike Nyepi, when everything on the island closes down for 24 hours, but normal services may be disrupted.
For example, Denpasar Immigration Office and Ngurah Rai Immigration Office will be closed from the 1st to the 3rd of August.
Immigration has announced, “We would like to inform all immigration applicants that our office on Tuesday-Thursday 1st to 3rd August 2023 is closed.”
They add, “Foreigners whose stay permits are valid until 1st to 3rd August 2023 are required to apply [for their] stay permit extension to the immigration office on working days not later than 31st July 2023 at 12.00 noon.”
The statement concludes, “We will be open normally on Friday 4th August 2023. For further information, please contact via WhatsApp Chat on this number +6285967223300 (Residency Permit), +6281339548284 (RI Passport), or +6281236956667.”
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