15 Rules You Need to Know before Entering a Temple in Bali
When you are coming to Bali which is known for its natural and traditional temples, having the knowledge of rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali is crucial.
Although Bali is known as one of the world’s most popular tourists destinations, the locals are highly spiritual – and they hold onto their belief quite firmly and strictly. For them, their religious and spiritual belief is a crucial element in their life.
That’s why it is important that you know the rules so you can respect the regulations as well as avoiding making mistakes. After all, you don’t want to be considered being disrespectful, do you?
It’s true that there are some general rules before entering a temple, but don’t think of them as being complicated. The rules are pretty simple and basic, really, and it’s not difficult to obey them.
Make sure that you know some of those rules – doing your own research as well as asking from the locals would be helpful.
Bali may be known as the island with many beaches.
. However, just because you can wear the bikinis freely, it doesn’t mean that you can do the same when entering a temple. For Balinese people, temples are sacred grounds. The temples are the sacred and holy.
These temples are the worship places. It’s only logical if the visitors are expected to dress properly to pay their respect.
Everyone (women and men) are expected to cover their shoulders and legs – it’s one of the rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali.
So, if you are wearing sleeveless clothes, you need to wear an outerwear (jacket, cardigan, etc) or a big scarf to cover the shoulders. Short sleeved shirt is still okay. You can also wear a sarong to cover your legs.
Sure, you may want to dress comfortably because of the hot temperature in Bali, so you wear a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt. But if you want to visit a temple, you need to bring a sarong and an outerwear.
Some temples may provide a service where you can rent the sarong, but not all of them do. It’s better to prepare, after all.
Specific Rules for Women
For women travelers, there are several specific rules
that you need to follow if you want to have a safe trip. For a starter, women on periods (menstruating) and women who have just given birth may not allowed to enter the temple.
In some cases, they are still allowed to enter the premise, but they aren’t allowed within the main temple or the main area. Depending on the temple, you may still be allowed to enter the premise or not at all. It’s better to ask your guide, if you are traveling with one.
Balinese people still believe the ancient custom about women being impure while on periods. The idea of them and unsanctified blood within the sacred grounds is strictly prohibited.
So, women who are more than 7 months pregnant, women on periods, and women who have just delivered a baby in 6 weeks, are advised not to enter the temple.
What if you keep it a secret and pretend that you aren’t (on periods)? Be my guests, but some people claimed that they have experienced mysterious and mystical events (usually unpleasant and even scary ones) after they violate the prohibition.
If you decide to do it, the risk is yours!
Tickets and Donations
Some temples charge an entrance fee, while some don’t
it means that you can enter for free. Find the ticket booths if you are coming to a temple.
If you can’t find one, it would be helpful if you can provide some donations. For instance, you may have to pay for IDR 2,000 for accessing the changing rooms or the toilets. Leaving donations at some already provided spots will be appreciated.
Not only it shows a good gesture on your part, it’s a good karma too. After all, if you can afford going to Bali, it won’t hurt your wallet to donate some money.
The rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali may not be written, but it is well understood.
Stay Away from Certain Areas
A temple may be opened for public and tourists,
but some of the parts may be prohibited for visitors. These parts may only be allowed for the priests or the religious official.
When you see the warning and closed off sign, obey it. Don’t break in. Again, be respectful. After all, some local beliefs say that you may experience unfortunate events if you violate the warning.
Whether you believe it or not, you don’t want your rest of the trip to be ‘cursed’, do you?
Disrespectful Poses? Big No-No
There have been cases where tourists are getting into trouble
for doing inappropriate and disrespectful poses. The general cases involving them doing rude (hand) gestures, doing partial nudity, or doing handstands.
Okay, you want to create unique and memorable photos, but you can still make great pictures by doing normal poses. Don’t overdo things, please!
Taking Pictures Wisely
In most temples, you are still allowed to take pictures
whether using your phone or a digital camera. But you need to be respectful when taking pictures. First of all, don’t use the flash to take pictures.
Use natural lights only. What if you are inside a temple and it’s dark? Never use the flash, no matter what. Using the flash is considered an inappropriate act of conduct – and you will be considered rude and disrespectful.
Second, never take pictures of praying people or group from the front, even when they are sitting down or closing their eyes off.
You are free to observe, but don’t be too intrusive and aggressive by taking the pictures from the front side. Don’t be too close to them either – you may invade their personal space.
This is one rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali.
Don’t Obstruct or Disturb Ritual Procession
It is possible that you may encounter a ritual processing
while being on a temple. Feel free to observe, but keep your distance. Be an observer – simply observe from afar.
Getting in the way? Be ready to be scolded by people – and even ‘kicked out’ from the temple.
If you want to avoid such a thing from happening, never get in the way. Don’t disturb the procession. Ever.
Respect the Sites
It includes respecting the praying pilgrims.
Not everyone would be happy with their pictures being taken.
In the event that you see the praying pilgrims, ask the guide or ask around if it is okay to take pictures.
And never use the flash! Don’t ever forget this.
Limit Your Cell Phone Use
Unless you want to take pictures with your phone,
make sure to limit your cell phone use. Remember, you are on a trip and you should enjoy whatever happening around you.
If you explore a temple, make sure to soak in the structural beauty or the marvelous sculpted decorations.
If you only come to a temple but missing the moment because you are too busy with your cell phone, then you should never have a trip from the beginning.
Climbing Isn’t Allowed
You need to remember that temple structures are a part of the overall construction,
which means that they are holy and sacred. That’s why you must not sit or climb up on the statues or structures or walls.
Not only it is disrespectful, but you can also cause possible damage to the sites. Remember, these sites are from ancient times.
If you want to enjoy them, you need to take part in the preservation efforts.
Don’t Use Your Feet for Pointing
You also need to remember that pointing with your feet is disrespectful in Bali.
Never point to an altar with your feet. As one of the rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali,
you should know that using your feet can be considered rude. After all, you still have both of your hands, don’t you?
Don’t Walk Over the Offering
You will see a lot of offering while on the temple.
Balinese people always have a certain kind of offering on a daily basis. It’s a gesture for their respect and honor for the gods.
For the temples, you may see more offerings. Don’t walk over them. If you can stay away from them, that’s good. But if you can’t avoid being close to them, don’t walk over them.
Walk sideways or such thing alike, and be sure to tread carefully.
Avoid Shampoo or Soap
In some temples with bathing rivers or springs,
you may be allowed to wash yourself (face, hands, and feet) in the area.
But if you do it, don’t use shampoo or soap. Remember, it is the holy ground, and the water is considered holy and pure enough to cleanse you.
Simply use the water and just enjoy the freshness.
Buddhist and Hinduism are mainly about positive energy.
If you visit the temple, it’s better to stay positive. Don’t be sulky. If you happen to be in a bad mood, you’d better stay at the hotel or simply visit other places of interest.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t be in a good mood when visiting temples – it’s just that such a place has its own ‘vibe’.
If you stay positive, good things may come your way – whether you believe it or not. Moreover, positivity can open your eyes and bring you a new mindset of a different setting.
Positivity also helps to maintain your manner and attitude. When you are positive, your language and body gestures will remain positive. It’s a good karma, after all!
Respect Worship Area
Balinese temples are beautiful with unique architecture,
but you mustn’t forget that they are places of prayers. You are welcomed to look around and explore, but don’t block the way. Temples are usually quiet, so make sure to keep your voices down.
In my experience, I talked to my kids in whispering sound and I explained to them why we had to whisper. They amazingly understand that talking should be restricted. They remained silent and quiet.
If you are lucky, you may be invited to the worship area by the priest. He may ask you to pray together and give you a blessing.
This happened to me and the kids. Maybe because we behaved, the monk invited us to pray together and then bless us. We were even given a bracelet as a token of protection and blessing. We were completely blessed!
In the end, knowing the rules can help you stay on the right path and avoid feud.
The knowledge of rules you need to know before entering a temple in Bali can help you to stay out of trouble.