Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts.
Balinese cuisine is also distinctive. Balinese percussion orchestra music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese performing arts often portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence.
Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak (the monkey dance). Bali boasts one of the most diverse and innovative performing arts cultures in the world, with paid performances at thousands of temple festivals, private ceremonies, or public shows.
Balinese Hinduism has roots in Indian Hinduism and Buddhism, that arrived through Java. Hindu influences reached the Indonesian Archipelago as early as the first century. Historical evidence is unclear about the diffusion process of cultural and spiritual ideas from India.
Java legends refer to Saka-era, traced to 78 AD. Stories from the Mahabharata Epic have been traced in Indonesian islands to the 1st century; however, the versions mirror those found in southeast Indian peninsular region (now Tamil Nadu and southern Karnataka Andhra Pradesh).
The Bali tradition adopted the pre-existing animistic traditions of the indigenous people. This influence strengthened the belief that the gods and goddesses are present in all things. Every element of nature, therefore, possesses its own power, which reflects the power of the gods. A rock, tree, dagger, or woven cloth is a potential home for spirits whose energy can be directed for good or evil.
Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual. Ritualising states of self-control are a notable feature of religious expression among the people, who for this reason have become famous for their graceful and decorous behaviour.
We Cannot talk about Bali without talk about the mesmerizing statue that the island has. Bali is filled with statues, some are giant (more than 50 ft high) and some are small and placed at inconspicuous places. Bali consisting of a majority Hindu population naturally has statues of Hindu gods or mythological characters from Mahabharata and Ramayana. Bali’s Hinduism is a world away from that we find in India.
I found the practice of Hindu religion as less dogmatic and more tolerant. In Bali, statues of Gods are placed at public places like roads and on the top of commercial establishments too, which we never see in India. Even the form of their Gods and Goddesses are different. In this post I have tried to identify some of the statues from my limited knowledge of our culture, please do correct if you think any of them are wrongly classified.
One of them is The Great Statue of Titi Banda. Gaze upon the grandiose 15 m (49 ft) Titi Banda Statue and his monkey troops. This monument tells the story of Rama and his band of monkeys who built the Titi Banda Bridge across to present-day Sri Lanka. Notice how the chief monkeys are larger than the others–two of them stand on either side of Rama. The commanding monkey is largest. It is well known all over the world that Bali is a paradise for various types of fine arts in Indonesia.
One of which is sculpture. If you visit Bali, you can see almost in every corner of the location, the statues of gods and goddesses standing majestically as if ready to welcome you. There is one statue that has become a new icon for the island of Bali: the Statue of Titi Banda. This statue was built not only to enhance the appearance of the city, but there’s also an implicit meaning behind it.
When crossing the T-Junction on Jln. Ida Bagus Mantra Bypass towards Jln. Ngurah Rai Bypass, which is the route from Denpasar to Gianyar, your view will definitely be directed to a large statue with a height of about 10 meters right in the middle of the T-Junction. That is the new icon of Denpasar City, the Statue of Titi Banda. This location was deliberately chosen by the government because it was considered a strategic area. Moreover, the Denpasar-Gianyar route is the path most traveled by tourists.
The idea of making the Titi Banda Statue was taken from one of the scenes in a famous epic movie from India: Ramayana. The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic which follows Prince Rama’s quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana with the help of an army of monkeys.
It is traditionally attributed to the authorship of the sage Valmiki and dated to around 500 BCE to 100 BCE. Rama, prince of Ayodhya, won the hand of the beautiful princess Sita (seen here), but was exiled with her and his brother Laksmana for 14 years through the plotting of his stepmother.
In the forest Sita was abducted by Ravana, and Rama gathered an army of monkeys and bears to search for her. The allies attacked Lanka, killed Ravana, and rescued Sita. In order to prove her chastity, Sita entered fire, but was vindicated by the gods and restored to her husband. After the couple’s triumphant return to Ayodhya, Rama’s righteous rule (Ram-raj) inaugurated a golden age for all mankind.
The statue standing tall in the middle with the hand holding the bow is Rama. He is the main character in the Ramayana story. This statue depicts Rama building the Titi Banda Bridge with troops of monkeys, to pick up Shinta, Rama’s wife who is a captive of Rahwana from the Alengka Kingdom.
From a distance, the Rama was standing on the waves leading the monkey troops. There are about 18 monkey troops with 5 of them are the commander of the monkeys. Rama’s figure was striking in the middle, surrounded by five commanders who were larger than the statues of other warriors.
The meaning that can be obtained from the story of Rama in the Statue of Titi Benda is also deep. Through the depiction of this statue, you can learn about the value of mutual cooperation and the loyalty shown by the warriors to Rama. Although the number of troops was limited and had to defeat various obstacles, the troops still helped Rama to meet Shinta. If implemented in the lives of Balinese people, this explains how the community servants work hand in hand to realize Bali’s development with a wise leader who is able to direct and protect his people well.
The strategic location of the Titi Banda Statue makes this statue quickly popular. Beautifully designed so that this statue looks magnificent. Since the size is so big and tall, this statue is best enjoyed from a distance. You can see this statue more closely, but it’s not easy. You have to cross the road and need to be careful because the traffic in this bypass area is always crowded. Its beauty is more attractive at night, decorated by colorful lights, which make this Titi Banda Statue look more spectacular.
The Titi Banda statue is a monumental work. As a tourist destination, of course, the grandeur and beauty of this statue can complement the appeal of Bali in general. It can complete the list of tourist attractions that are worth visiting. Although it’s only able to be enjoyed from a distance, Bali, particularly Denpasar, becomes more beautiful in the eyes of tourists.