Beaches surrounding the Island of Bali retain endless mysteries to reveal. All the year round they draw visitors to pamper themselves. They offer more than just exotic black and white sand under shady palm trees and more than cobalt blue ocean views or a nice sea breeze. Those beaches become the resource of live lihood, tranquility and spiritual purity for the locals.
By and large, the beaches of Bali are functioned as an area to support the people’s daily bread and butter as at other region across the archipelago. Some people take the treasures of fish, while others take advantage the spread of its black sand for salt farming. Familiar fishermen bases located within easy reach from Denpasar are Serangan, Sanur and Kedonganan. Meanwhile, the most renowned traditional salt farming is located at Kusamba, close to the Goa Lawah Temple, some 57 km east of Denpasar. Local farmers carry out this job as long as the sun shines well when it passes over the equator. Otherwise, they take their regular job like rice field farming or gardening.
In keeping with the development of tourism, the locals are glad to share the beach with visitors. Famous beaches favored by visitors for their playground are Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua Beach. Today, beyond these beaches, visitors keep on exploring other exotic beaches until the remotest locations in the west and east Bali. At the same time, this ‘grace’ also makes local fishermen have side job namely offering sailing or fishing service. By their jukung outrigger, they take visitors to experience the allure of the beach from different side and feel the uniqueness to ride theirs.
Every day thousands of people visit those beaches just to unwind or laze. In the meantime, almost on particular days like full moon and black moon, the Hindus come to beach to organize aspiritual procession or exorcism. Sometimes local yoga students also often decide on the beach to practice their lesson. The most crowded times happen on Banyu Pinaruh (an exorcism rite after Sarasvati day and the next falls on 2 August 2009) and some days before Nyepi or Day of Silence. Right on 26 March 2009 the Hindus celebrate the Day of Silence. Such 24-hour contemplation day is thoroughly sanctified. It becomes the most silent day within the year. Related to this festivity, all Hindu devotees in Bali and outside execute melasti procession. It aims at purifying all ritual paraphernalia at temples and the self from spiritual impurity.
If you happen to be in Bali around seven days and upwards before the Nyepi festivity, you will see many beaches turn into white human ‘ocean’. Devotees flock to solemnly participate in the procession. Though many visitors are sunbathing, devotees can tolerate by taking a place away from them. On the contrary, when encountering a procession is under progress, visitors will only see it from a distance or wait for patiently until it ends. This harmonious ambience has occurred for teens of years in keeping with the development of tourism on the island. No parties feel disturbed.
A beach is a public place. When it becomes a destination for all, everyone should have a mutual understanding on different interests of each party. The locals harness the beaches for their bread and butter and ritual procession, while visitors use it to find out tranquility and peace, to release mind’s burden after bustling works. No one may ever claim it as a private area and it has turned to be a rendezvous of people from all over the world. Thought the speak different languages and originate in different cultural backgrounds they have one in common, looking for peace as universal value. One key to get peace is coming to a peacefull place, thinking about peace and never breaking the existence peace.
Encountering friendly and wholehearted smile meaning more than words may help strengthen the peace on the beach of Bali and then bring it home to be shared with others.