Nusa Penida the Island of the Holy People

45 images Created 18 Sep 2016

Nusa Penida, revered by the Balinese as an island of powerful spirits and gods, has a rich history of spirituality, magic, and the balance of dark and light. Tradition, ritual and religion infuse almost every aspect of life on this island. Nusa Penida has a rich history in Balinese legend. Once Nusa Penida was inhabited by dark spirits, demons, gods and one of the most feared characters in local mythology - I Gede Macaling, the spirit responsible for spreading sickness and disease. Pandita (Hindu high preists) sent by neighbouring kingdoms landed in Nusa Penida at Crystal Bay (called Penida in local language) cleansed the island of its evil spirits and most importantly, I Gede Macaling. This struggle between good and evil gave the island its name - Nusa Penida (roughly translated as Island of the Holy People). It makes sense then, that the Klungkung kingdom in Bali chose Nusa Penida to become a penal colony for its criminal outcasts, until transmigration opened up and the island was fully settled. Perhaps it is this history that has protected Nusa Penida from the onslaught of mass tourism indeed, Nusa Penida has been often described as the Bali of fifty years ago. Balinese tradition and culture have found a stronghold on the little island of Nusa Penida. The island's main source of income is derived from agriculture with seaweed farming making up the majority of the income. The temples and spiritual areas of Nusa Penida are revered by residents of Penida and Hindus from Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia as well. Once a year, Indonesian Hindus will make a series of pilgrimages to Nusa Penida to pray and make offerings to the strong spirits that are still thought to reside on the island. This visit is thought to give the negative balance to the positive side of divinity - the balance between light and dark that is so pervasive in Balinese Hinduism.
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