Tracking to The Ancient Mountain Temple – Part 1
This is the experience, which even I can’t believe I made it.
When planning the trip to Bali, tracking to the ancient temple high in the mountains was not in my mind. So, how it begins. We stayed in Sideman for a few days. I observed the mountain with the ancient temple while swimming in the pool. And the temple called me to visit it. After five days, I made a decision tracking to the temple barefoot and bring some offerings there to pray. For Balinese walking barefoot is something usual, but very strange for the foreign. We are not used walk barefoot anymore. When I told my friend about my intention, she said six hours walking tour barefoot is crazy. Crazy or not, we have to do things which have deep meaning for us or make us happy.
My first task was to find a guide, who would take me to the mountain temple. Priestess Ati prepared me the offerings, the basket with colorful flowers for the prayer, incense sticks and the traditional clothes for the entry into the temple.
The tracking started right directly from my place of staying at 6 am. There was no transport to the base of the mountain. Of course, that didn’t stop me. With the guide, called Danny, we walked an hour and a half just to get to the other side of the village. We reached the river with temporary broken bridge. A truck drove over and because it was too heavy, the bridge collapsed into the water. It was an adventure to cross it over. We saw a couple, riding the motor overloaded with the bags. Suddenly they lost one bag, which falls into the river. Locals jumped into the river and help them to catch it.
The road took us trough the amazing rice fields. It was the time of harvesting. Bundles of rice were lying on the fields, which were all hand-cut and waiting to get shelled and dried.
The road began to climb steeply through the forest. It was hot. Mosquitoes start to biting me. I stop thinking about and rather trying to focus on a steady rhythm of my walk.
Danny and I were alone on the road because the ancient temple doesn’t have a lot of visitors. There are not a lot of tourists who would walk like this, especially with no transport to the temple. And this really suited me. In silence, we were getting more and more up to the slope.
I don’t know when Danny started telling me his life story. Talking about it was not easy for him. There was still much pain and anger presence in him because he couldn’t realize his dreams. The family sold a huge part of the real estate, to pay his education training so he could work on a cruise ship. This is a common for many Balinese. But he had a serious car accident, just a day before he started to work on the cruiser. His plan has failed. Now his dreams are to open a restaurant one day.
Listening to Danny’s life story, somehow I think, destiny chose something else for him. He wouldn’t guided me and other people to the ancient temple if he would be on a cruiser. He trusted me so touchable personal life story and some other stories about Balinese, investments, work opportunities, gambling, … I got a broader picture about the Balinese life, priorities and three principles of life: creation (Vishnu), preservation (Brahma) and destruction (Shiva).
While listening, I completely forgot about the walking. We reached many steep stairs, which lead to the entrance of the amazing ancient temple.
The moss has covered the stairs like green carpet and touch with it was so pleasant, also the walk. We were early, the doors to the temple were still closed. We sat down and watched the nature and the view of the valley from the top. There was an old local man sitting in the bush and cleaning a jungle around the stairs.
To be continued…Part 2