We followed the procession all the way down to the Dalem Puri Temple, where we witnessed parts of the ceremony that I somehow wished were private. I felt like we were imposing in a way, but I knew that the local community was honored to pay its final respects to Anak Agung Niang Rai, who was a very important figure in Bali.
Some members of the Royal Family were carried down from the ceremonial tower in a dramatic fashion.
We had somehow scored a great spot at the edge of the platform, and bodyguards emerged around us. There was a hush. Then, more royalty.
Mike & I looked at each other. Standing right next to the King of Ubud. I lowered myself as best as I could, and nodded my head when his eyes met mine. He waved at the crowd and smiled.
Later on in the ceremony, I dared myself to ask him if he was in need of a beverage. He politely declined.
The bull was finally brought into the main courtyard, to cheers from the crowd. Now the task was to get the bull all the way up to the tower. We thought they should bring in a bulldozer but the men in Bali got muscles like Goliath. Not really, but they do have a method.
Using what looked like sheets bound to make ropes, & logs they placed in strategic places, they heaved the bull up. The guards forced everyone back off the platform, and Mike told me we’d probably be injured if the bull managed to topple over, which it seemed like it was going to do every time they got it moving.
Men with broken, twisted limbs had been carried off on stretchers at least 3 times throughout the procession to the Temple. These men had a dangerous job. But they were passionate about it. They crowd roared it’s approval as the bull got closer.
We had been following the ceremony since 10am & it was now almost 5pm. We had plans to catch a Balinese show that night and as much as we wanted to stick around and watch the actual cremation after dark, we had to go.
Which was alright with me- we had been a witness to the most incredible ceremony we’d ever seen. If only for a while, it was better than not having seen it at all.
If you missed part 1, read the beginning of the story HERE.