Honoring the gods in Bali

The deep spirituality of the Balinese never cease to amaze me. Amidst the changes that brought by massive tourism and modernization in their lives, the taksu (that which is unseen) remains largely untouched. It is here where the real Balu and Balinese are manifested.

Throne of the Sun

Every house,  structure, rice field, village has them. These small structures are symbolic of the triptych cosmic world of the Hindu Balinese. The empty chair represents suriya, the sun god in the highest level,  swah with the humans in bhuwah, underneath, and demons at the bottom buhr.


At intersections, where it is believed spirits dwell, they function both as religious markers and traffic aids.

More obvious are the daily colorful offerings canang . These beautiful works of art are made from woven palm leaves made into a small tray with a mat of banana leaf at the bottom. It is then filled with flowers, leaves, and sometimes a small biscuit are to please the gods. Small mats made from banana leaves are laden with rice to appease the more malevolent ones.

They are most ubiquitous laid out on the street


temple walls

shop counter tops


and just about anywhere including pn vehicle dashboards and machinery.

It is the task of women to make this. However, one can always buy ready-made canang at the market.

You can usually see someone making an offering at all times of the day, most often in the morning. The ritual is very solemn. It involves lighting an incense so that the “essence” of the offering may reach the gods. Following a series of gentle hand gesticulations, some water is sprinkled.

The most magnificent of all are the towering offerings women place on their heads to be offered at temple cerecmonies.


On a previous trip to Bali, I once saw a whole chicken attached to a towering offering that was no less than a foot high!

After all these goodies are offered to the gods, these may then be partaken by the mortals.

If Bali is truly the Island of the Gods, then Brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa must be highly pleased.

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