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Cleansing Ritual in Gianyar

Photographer: Made Nagi


For the Balinese Hindus religion is incorporated in all elements of life and while religious rituals fill up their every day lives to maintain balance between the good and evil, gods and demons, it is the cleansing ritual that followers believe purifies the universe and human soul.


Balinese Hinduism is a combination of three major aspects; Animism (a set of beliefs based on that there is no separation between the spiritual world and physical world and souls or spirits exist, traditional Hinduism – the most predominant religion in the Indian subcontinent - and Buddhism. It lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation but is instead concerned with a myriad of hyangs, the local and ancestral spirits.


For the religion’s followers every disaster is believed to be an expression of imbalance and universal disorder and in order to keep everything in harmony the Balinese Hindu requires a spiritual cleansing or purification ritual.


In this ritual holy water is assumed to be the conductor for spiritual energy that can purify the universe and human soul from invisible spiritual impurities and imbalance. In addition followers do the ritual to drive away all bad spirit from the soul to become ‘a wiser and sincere person’.


The ceremonial equipment is brought to the sea or holy water springs that are believed to be a place of purity.