Photo Journal: Bali – The Colors & Rituals Of Dance

As one of the 17,000 islands here in Indonesia, Bali is smothered in rolling, emerald green rice fields and palm trees. A tropical island whose massive cliffs are endlessly pounded by loud and powerful waves. A little nook on the globe that oozes with natural beauty. But, above all, Bali is a place overflowing with culture, ritual and tradition. The early morning’s fragrant and aromatic smoke from incense constantly filling the air. The nearest temple’s call to prayer vibrating over loud, muffled speakers at sunrise. The men and women wrapped up in their colorful and intricately designed sarongs, balancing big burlap sacks of rice on their heads. The delicately woven palm tree leaves filled with fresh flowers and snacks that are offered daily to the Gods. You need not look very far to see or feel just how deeply intertwined the Balinese are to the roots of their culture and tradition. 

Unlike the vast majority of Indonesia that is Muslim, 94% of Bali adheres to Balinese Hinduism,  which is a combination of existing local beliefs and those of traditional Hindu influences from SE Asia and India. Within these beliefs lies an artistic and dramatic series of ceremonial dances. I won’t bore you with the unpronounceable names or their meaning, if you are genuinely that interested, a quick search on Wikipedia will do the trick. However, we will share a slice of our extremely entertaining experience with the ancient and ritualistic traditional dance, the Kecak (pronounced Ka-chack).

On the climb up to the temple, where the ceremony takes place, the grounds are crawling with monkeys.
Cheeky, aggressive monkeys.


YouTube Preview ImageBefore entering the Temple, feels like one of the edges of earth.


Atop the peninsula at Uluwatu temple.
Minus Balinese Hinduism holidays, this traditional
ceremony and dance take place at sunset every evening of the year.


Preparing themselves for Balinese Broadway. Between 70-80 men simultaneously chant while the women dance and contort their body frames into very disciplined positions and poses.


The spiritual guru, also the accepter of all sacrifices, prepares the fire.


He’s completely locked in and focused on his duties and responsibilities for the offerings of fire and holy water.


The chanting by the men was spectacular, I could not get the sounds & harmonies out of my head for days.


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Music to my ears.


The dual of the dancing beauties ensues.


Safely guarded by her protectors.


The costumes, the colors. The fire from behind actually looks as if it’s coming from his mouth.


So much within the rituals of this dancing is predicated
on strict hand and hip movements.


A pause for prayer and respect to the fire.


The determination in those eyes.


The grand finale. At this point, the energy in the air could’ve been cut with a butter knife. Quite the experience.



Adrian was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from the University of North Texas in 1999 he spent that summer backpacking throughout Western Europe. The exposure to new customs, cultures and languages opened up a whole new world and appreciation for all things foreign. Since that time he's traveled 5 of the 7 continents and had his passport stamped in over 50 countries.
  1. valeri Reply
    The vivid color in your pictures, the look of the beautiful costumes, the seriousness in the actors movements and eyes and the words that you chose give a beautiful description of all that I am missing!The crashing of the waves, the sweet face of the undoubtly mischeiveous monkey show how many things have not yet been tampered with by human hands. Keep up the great work!
    • Adrian Reply
      That's great, Val. I'm glad that it comes across for you in such a way. As much as you've traveled, have you been around these parts?
  2. mama Reply
    Absolutely gorgeous!!!! Very interesting culture, just fascinating. Longing for more.
    • Adrian Reply
      Thanks, Mama. The culture and scenery here are indeed fascinating!
  3. Paul Reply
    Sounds like you're surfin or should I say 'carvin up' that cosmic wave! Well written mate! Hopefully see you in about 6 weeks!
    • Adrian Reply
      Thanks, Paulie. Let me know a few weeks ahead of time, there's a chance we'll be back in Thailand around then. I'll definitely make some adjustments if need be. Travel slow, my friend.
  4. Joe Reply
    WOW! What an awesome experience. Thankyou and Ashlie for sharing them with me.
    • Adrian Reply
      You bet, Mr. Schiel. Happy to have you follow along. Maybe we'll see you on that African safari one day in the future.
  5. Barbara Parlett Reply
    Absolutely beautiful!!!

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