|One of the rooms at our hotel, the Tjampuhan. The restaurant is at left. A gorgeous setting.|
|The view from our balcony|
|Nature is the template for the design of Tjampuhan|
|One of the spring-fed swimming pools|
Despite the economic drawbacks of being a tourist, Bali is a charming place. The jungle is always nearby, rushing streams run through the middle of Ubud at the base of cliffs with lush vegetation clinging to the rocks; brilliant butterflies, swooping swallows and bats flit through the garden-like village.
|A hotel worker ceremoniously places incense, holy water and flowers on a shrine.|
|Every day a fresh offering is placed on a special box beside each door of the hotel rooms. |
This was ours.
|Placing offerings on a shrine at a shop in town.|
|This woman spent an hour placing flowers and incense around one of Ubud's temples.|
|Baskets are found everywhere, hundreds on the sidewalks of Ubud.|
|It is common to see people taking huge baskets of fruit to the temples at all hours.|
|Offerings at a shrine in Ubud|
|15th century cave temple, Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).|
|Entrance to Goa Gajah|
|Many Eastern religions include worship of Lingam (male ) and Yoni (female) genitalia. Here in Goa Gajah are lingams which still today receive alms. It's refreshing to see a society that is not ashamed of sexuality; indeed, they openly worship it.|
|The meditation room of the royal family from the Majahapit Empire.|
Outside of town, villages, with temples at their centers, remain the cultural fiber of Bali. Each Balinese village has three temples, one for each of the main Hindu gods: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). To see Balinese life, one must venture beyond the tourist centers. We spent a full day touring the countryside, visiting ancient temples, dining at the base of an active volcano, and observing everyday life of villagers and farmers.
|Entrance to a village temple.|
|Holy springs at temple in Sebatu Village.|
|Everyone must wear a sarong at temples. There are always sarongs to borrow as you enter.|
|Part of Bali's vast irrigation system.|
|Bali's famous rice paddy terraces|
|Roadside fruit stand|
|Winnowing rice at harvest time|
|Mt Batur. The damage from the 1963 eruption can still be seen on its slopes and in the tongue of the lava flow in middle of the photo.|
|A selection of Balinese coffees. The white cup in the middle contains luwak coffee, the beans of which have traveled through the digestive tract of a civet cat.|
Returning to Ubud, we took time to stroll the streets, take in some cultural events, and relax in the beauty of the lush surroundings.
|An artist captures the beauty and grace of the Balinese|
|There's that phallic obsession again. This time, it is a wooden call bell on our balcony. |
Each room has one.
|Balinese women carry a variety of things on their heads. |
Men never do: they use their shoulders to bear the weight.
|Some of the loads are quite imposing.|
|Recess time at a local school|
|Even the macaques at Monkey Forest let it all hang out!|
|A gamalan band performs at the palace in Ubud.|
|Traditional Balinese dancers.|
|From a version of the Ramayana legend, performed at the palace.|
|Palace wall carvings|
|Traditional Balinese figures|
|Lush sanctuaries are tucked away inside courtyards.|
|Mythical demon carvings beautifully rendered on a cow skull|