High Priest Cremation Ceremony, Gianyar Indonesia

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Asia » Indonesia
March 11th 2008
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -8.54779, 115.326

The pictures really tell the story of the ceremony, so take the slideshow tour.
I've narrated in the photo descriptions =)

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 22


Traveling down the street to the cemetery.Traveling down the street to the cemetery.
Traveling down the street to the cemetery.

A few select family members road the hearse/tower as it weaved down the street to the cemetery.
Indonesian Hearse/TowerIndonesian Hearse/Tower
Indonesian Hearse/Tower

This is back of the tower that was used to carry the casket into the cemetery.
Carefully descing the scaffolding...Carefully descing the scaffolding...
Carefully descing the scaffolding...

Some of the older priests needed a little help climbing down. It was so steep!
Turning into the cemeteryTurning into the cemetery
Turning into the cemetery

At the end of the street, the tower turned into the cemetery, and all of us followed. All the family members held onto long white scarves that hung from the casket.
Taking the casket from the towerTaking the casket from the tower
Taking the casket from the tower

Once inside the cemetery, the bamboo scaffolding was brought back in place, and the casket was brought down to the ground, then and over to a big statue of a bull (on the right).
Loading the casket into the hearse-towerLoading the casket into the hearse-tower
Loading the casket into the hearse-tower

These men used the bamboo scaffolding to carry the casket a few stories up into the very top of the tower, then slide it carefully inside. Balinese Hindus believe in reincarnation, and the cremation has very specific rituals that need to be followed in order to ensure a prosperous return. Being that this was a high-priest, it was an even bigger deal that everything be just right.
So much effort in the detailsSo much effort in the details
So much effort in the details

This ceremony was elaborate, and took two months to prepare after the priests death. There was no expense or effort spared. It all looked like so much work! The tower & bull must have taken a hundred people to make!
Into the bullInto the bull
Into the bull

The casket was carried up another steep bamboo scaffold, and placed inside the body of this wooden bull.
Paying last respectsPaying last respects
Paying last respects

For nearly an hour family and friends ascended to the bull and paid their last respects. There were vendors around to take care of all of us in the searing heat, I had a fudgecicle under my umbrella =)
More offerings....More offerings....
More offerings....

Some offerings were brought in on the tower and then painstakingly transferred to the bull, while still others were carried in on foot and then carried up to the tower. It was all a spectacle of effort for this man.
Men carrying the bulls backMen carrying the bulls back
Men carrying the bulls back

Once the mourners were done, the back of the bull statue was put into place above the casket inside.

12th March 2008

WOW! What an amazing experience, Suz!
16th March 2008

Hi Suz! I just got a few minutes to take a peek and I see you have been busy! I loooooove the slideshows with the captions...thank you for taking us with you on the trip!! I really felt like I was there. The girls are wishing you were
here, and want me to tell you hi ('tell her I said hi' 'tell her I said hi first' 'NOOOOOO, I said it FIRST and your hi will be AFTER MINE' 'no, she is MINE cousin and now I NO YIKE YOU!'). Is it quiet there???? :)
28th March 2008

Re: Hi Suz! LOL! Sounds just as fantasic where you are! I can't wait to come home and deal out some hugs to my favorite little cousins! Please tell them that I say a really super-duper big HI to BOTH of them! And hugs and kisses too!
I got them both some little handcarvedwooden toys while I was in Ubud. They are those little monkeys that you can hang together to make a string of monkeys. But I think the ones we had as kids were plastic. =) I sent them in a care package with a bunch of other souvineers to my Mom. It'll be a few more weeks until the box arrives in the states, but I'm sure we'll hear from my Mom when it does.
31st March 2008

Oh my, my, my..... What an incredible experience! And, THANK YOU for sharing it with us. Love, Mom

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