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Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel
Jl. Kartika Plaza Tuban Bali 80362
  • Spiritual Protection Secured By Priests In Bali's Star-Rated Hotels Sep 9, 2003
  • Spiritual Protection Secured By Priests In Bali's Star-Rated Hotels

    Spiritualism permeates every single corner of the island of the gods, even when it comes to seeking special protection. The constant spiritual battle to balance good and evil extends even into the grounds of international five-star hotels, where spiritual guardians work quietly to insure harmony, balance and protection from evil.

    The statuary, sacred offering places and temple buildings scattered around hotel areas are not just part of the architectural decoration. They are actually apart of the daily spiritual routine to appease the gods in the visible world and the spirits of the invisible underworld.

    To maintain these facilities and conduct daily rights, a resident lay priest or pemangku is appointed by the surrounding village to serve at each and every hotel on the island. A native of Banjar Buni neighborhood in Kuta, 55-year-old Pemangku Dolin was appointed to serve Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel & Villas in 2000.

    The priesthood is not always a personal calling. One may be selected by the village or be officially appointed by the village's Hindu high priest or pedanda. A pemangku is then sanctioned by the Department of Religion.

    Pemangku Dolin's duties charge him with daily rituals at the hotel's temple and preparing daily ceremonial services in designated places within the hotel, placing offerings and making prayers. He maintains the spiritual harmony and peace of the hotel environment and acts as the spiritual advisor to the hotel's Hindu employees.

    Beginning at 9 am Pemangku Dolin prepares daily offerings. Coconut leaves are woven into a flat basket, upon which colorful flowers and leaves are arranged. Added to this canang offering are rice grains, segehan rice balls and sweets. These offerings are placed around the hotel in areas considered holy. A stick of incense is added. The words of prayer rise on the smoke from this incense to reach the gods in their mountain heavens. The offering is completed with a sprinkling of holy water. Some offerings are made in "unholy" places, to appease the spirits of the underworld, to prevent them from conducting evil mischief.

    On the full moon each month, special offerings and prayers are conducted in the hotel's main temple to neutralize evil spirits. Then, smaller offerings are made widely around the hotel. Special offerings called pekeling may include whole coconuts, duck eggs, rice cakes and other food. They usually precede any important activity within the hotel to ensure smooth exececution. Prayasita offerings include fruit, yellow coconut juice and sesajen- offering with rice grains, sandalwood powder and a handful of carved young coconut leaves tied with white thread and Chinese coins. Prayascita dispels demonic forces which reside in buildings.

    Twice monthly, on Kajeng Kliwon day of the Balinese calendar, additional sesajen and segehan are placed in the temple and sprinkled with holy water to ward off any lingering evil spirits.

    Once in the 210-day Balinese calendar year, the temple's anniversary is marked with a celebration. This may include a festive rite performed by the high priest, assisted by Pemangku Dolin. The holy water for this ceremony is gathered from the four compass points-north, south, east and west. A mask dance (Topeng Sidakarya) and shadow puppet (Wayang Lemah) performance are part of the odalan ritual.

    To consecrate a new site, a melaspas ceremony must be conducted. Such a ritual symbolically purifies a new place, chasing out the evil spirits in preparation for operation or occupation. A melaspas recently was conducted for the new Discovery Beachfront Villas. For the ceremony, the pemangku burries a brick, wrapped in white cloth inscribed with spiritual texts. This symbolizes a spiritual base to support the building. Prayasita and banten caru or blood sacrifice of a small animal (chicken, duck or pig) are commonly offered for melaspas.

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