Big Odalan, Little Odalan

My husband and I went on a wonderful trip to Bali and Java a few years back and I'd like to share a little of it with you. We had the very great fortune and honor to be invited to a small Odalan at the temple complex of our hotel, Taman Harum, as well as to a very massive Odalan at Pura Batur with a beautiful family from the village of Mas.

An Odalan is the birthday or anniversary of a temple's consecration which occurs every 210 days. Little Odalans for home and local temples can last 1 to 3 days, whereas big Odalans for regional temples can go on for weeks. What we experienced at the people-packed mountain temple of Pura Batur was a blessing ceremony, where the churning crowd prayed together with incense and small offerings of fruit and other foodstuff, followed by blessings of holy water and rice pressed to the third eye and heart chakra. Our hosts kindly dressed us up in traditional dress, but it obviously didn't hide the fact that we were very foreign and completely out of place. Regardless of this, the people made us feel welcome. Yes there were curious stares, giggles behind cupped hands, a few untrusting scowls, but no one seemed to mind as I snapped a few candid pics (with permission from our hosts, of course!).

Waiting to enter inner courtyard of temple. Recipe for a stampede? Intimidating, to say the least.

My now ex-husband (gussied up) with our host, Wayan, and daughter, Dinda, in background.

Wayan's sister-in-law, balancing basket of sacred offerings. I almost offered to take over, then thought better of it.