I read a book on the history mythology regarding Galungan and Kuningan ceremony/ritual to commemorate the death of Ratu Ugrasena around the year 888 Saka. An epic story of dharma against adharma ( good vs evil ) that gave birth to several sites or names all over Bali. The Saka year was the old Javanese calendar system…very different from the Gregorian calendar.
Let me try to tell this lore in the simplest way I can…
Behold two mighty kingdoms that ruled the island of Bali :
Singhadwala kingdom also known as Kahuripan was based in Besakih. Raja Sri Kesari Warmadewa once ruled this kingdom and replaced by Raja Chandrabhaya Singha Warmadewa who eventually build the famous Tirta Empul at Tampak Siring.
Singhamandala kingdom or Balingkang was based in Batur. There lived a Ratu or Devaraja that practices human sacrifices and thus ate humans, this turn the once noble person to a Raksasa or giant. Sri Ratu Ugrasena also known as Ki Mayadenawa from Wangsa Sanjaya of Java .
A war that lead to a chase in and out of forest and mountains that involves a lot of magick wars and shape shifting came to an end when Ki Mayadenawa was finally killed in a village now called Yeh Pulu by Raja Chandrabhaya also known to be the manifestation of Dewa Wisnu.
Apparently Ki Mayadenawa was a manifestation of Dewi Durga and will only die if Raja Chandrabhaya promise to commemorate this day with a ceremony . If this ceremony does not happen then the spirit of Ki Mayadenawa will come back to haunt and create chaos to mankind.
So this is the lore behind Galungan and later Kuningan in Bali =)
I spent few hours in the morning walking around the village to capture these beautiful ceremonial ornament called Penjor. Some are very basic but follows the original guideline like the one in front of Kadek’s family house ( below ) and others are creatively decorated to look beautiful.
The village streets looked beautiful and every house seem to turn on Balinese Gamelan music adding a certain charismatic spirit in the air, the smell of sweet incense filled the open space from every offering tables under the penjor … I had an amazing walk that morning =)
Back at home with Kadek’s family … my Balinese family =)