Mount Agung – Active Volcano, Holy Pilgrimage to Besakih Temple

As seen in Ubud Life, No.39 June – August 2019 Page 57 “Our Visit to the Holy Mountain” by Sharon Karyasa

If you’re the outspoken member of the Community you’re likely to get into trouble.

I have never been one to remain quiet.

I spent a significant amount of time in 2017 blogging about Mount Agung our active volcano whom I affectionately named The Big Fella.

I was accused of fearmongering, which I find amusing.

I became friends with a reader who decided to come for a vacation to Bali, after reading one of my creative blogs about our unpredictable mountain.

I made a point of letting my readers know that I am terrible at science, and quite frankly the technical compositions that make up our Big Fella sound like gibberish to me.

I have since learned that Mount Agung is a strato-volcano also known as a composite volcano, it didn’t surprise me at all to discover Mount Agung is amongst the powerful of all volcanoes.

The eruptions from these types of volcanos may be a pyroclastic flow, rather than a flow of lava.

A pyroclastic flow is a superheated mixture of hot steam, ash, rock and dust.

A pyroclastic flow can travel down the sides of a volcano at very high speeds, with temperatures over 400 degrees Celsius.

Composite volcanoes can rise over 8000 feet.

Our Holy Mountain woke up on December 30, 2018 and again on January 10, 2019 after being asleep during the entire five months when a series of earthquakes hit Lombok, which began in July 2018.

Devy K Syahbana, the PVMBG’s head of Eastern Region Volcano Mitigation Subdivision said in January 2019 that Mount Agung had returned to its eruption phase before the Lombok earthquake.

He further added a satellite report by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin explaining that Bali’s Mount Agung eruption spewed volcanic ash reaching more than 2,000 meters from its summit, or about 5,400 meters above sea level.

In a press release on March 17, 2019 The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation of the Geological Agency, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Recourses, said that after 54 years the holy Mount Agung had began his eruption on November 2017 and that activities are still happening.

Yes they are.

A few weeks back I made a holy pilgrimage to Pura Besakih Temple with my husband and niece. Although I was aware of the possibility of an eruption at any time, I was not aware of the masses of Balinese who where also making this holy pilgrimage.

Besakih Temple sits 1,000 metres high on the southwestern slope of our Big Fella.

The Basakih compound is made up of over 86 temples. On the day we made our pilgrimage it seemed as though the entire Pasek clan from the Island of Bali had also decided to venture out.

This year a very special ceremony was taking place, known as Panca Wali Krama, a complicated ceremony to give gratitude to the Gods, which only occurs once every ten years.

Panca Wali Krama is the second largest ritual that happens at Pura Besakih after Eka Dasa Rudra, which is held once every 100 years.

It was during the Eka Dasa Rudra celebration in 1963 that the mighty Mount Agung erupted.  Miraculously the temple survived the devastating eruption at that time.

The thought did cross my mind about the possibility of an eruption as we waited in a human traffic jam for three hours to reach our ancestral temple. Then I remembered my faith and felt honoured to be part of such an auspicious spiritual journey.

Human traffic jam at Besakih

Holy Pilgrimage Panca Wali Krama at Besakih Temple Bali

Mount Agung has erupted several times since our pilgrimage.

21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm.  Sutopo Purwo Nugroho from BNPB tweeted.

A column of thick gray volcanic ash, leaning towards the West threw eruption material reaching 2,500 – 3,000 metres from the peak in all directions.

Mount Agung Eruption 21 April 2019.jpg

Photograph Mount Agung eruption 21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm photograph Sutopo Purwo Nugroho @twitter

Life goes on as normal here in Bali, the most recent eruption happened while I was sweating it out in an aerobics class with women in my village. We were oblivious of any showcasing from The Big Fella.

One thing I know for sure is that there has never been a more exciting time to visit Bali.

You never know what will transpire in any one day.

Aerobics in Bali

Aerobics with Ibu Ibu in a Balinese Village

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

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Racist confrontation at the historic Big Building in Chapel Street, Prahran

Melbourne was voted the most liveable City in the world seven times, however recently Vienna has pipped our lady to the post.

The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.

Melbourne’s cultural diversity attracts millions of overseas and domestic travellers annually. Visitors converge on our garden state to indulge in shopping, theatre productions and architectural sightseeing just to name a few.

Historical early twentieth century buildings such as the magnificent Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahan.jpg

Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahran is known for its stylish bars, Southeast Asian eateries and late-night clubs.

Greville Street is a synonymous Melbournian haunt with its hip cafes, specialty boutiques and groovy Greville Records.

People watching is a fun pastime as you sip your long black coffee gazing out of the window of your favourite café, a tram meanders past on a perfect day in urban paradise. The eclectic mix of residents makes for an interesting vibe.

Luxury cars driven by executive’s pull onto the curb in a hurry, well dressed business people dash to that important meeting.

Locals from the social housing in high rise towers wander purposefully. Prahan is inclusive and a true representation of multicultural Melbourne.

There is always one person though, one citizen that throws the balance into disarray, that citizen who is pissed, stoned or both.

One perfect day in Melbourne a middle aged white drunk man staggered into that historical Big Store in Chapel Street, Prahran which is now occupied by Coles Supermarket.

The express check out was in process, shoppers quickly grabbing a few supplies before heading home on a that perfect Melbourne day.

The production line stopped abruptly.

The middle aged drunk man became abusive.

The inebriated man started yelling at the taller man of colour. I couldn’t believe my ears as he swore and told him to go home. Screaming at the top of his lungs saying that he didn’t belong in Melbourne.

The middle aged man was standing so close to the taller man I was afraid he would throw a punch, he continued to shout profanities.

The taller man did not react, he patiently listened to the offensive bigot as he told him to go back to where he came from and that he didn’t belong in his Country.

I was searching for the security, I was mesmerised by the crowd who stood motionless as they witnessed the abusive confrontation. The thought crossed by mind to intervene, to do so though may have resulted in a being punched.

I asked one of the staff to urgently call for security, I was fearful that the drunk man would throw a punch at the taller man.

The swearing intensified, the crowd stood frozen.

Eventually the Manager of the store arrived, more insults were shouted at the taller man before he was ushered onto Chapel Street.

The offender stumbled onto the pavement as he mumbled profanities about the tall man being a black prick and to fuck off back to his own Country.

The cue at the express check out started to move again, the incident was over, however I felt obliged to express my regret.

It was only when I apologised to the tall man that I discovered he was the security guard at Coles.

The security guard told me that the drunk man had been forbidden to enter Coles, as he had a history of being abusive.

This tragic display of hatred and racism was exposed in public at the historical Big Store, both residents and tourists witnessed a violent display of xenophobia on a perfect day in Melbourne.

I walked away feeling nostalgic, remorse and sadness.

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

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