Updated: Jan 19, 2020
Among the 18307 islands in Indonesia, Bali is one of the most sought after destination where people from all over the world love visiting year after year. Guess what!! Indonesia has 169 countries exempted from visa processing. That's amazing, isn't it?
During my visit to Bali, I noticed a wonderful sense of connection between me & the people I met. Was it because we shared a common language? Well, not literally but figuratively yes. We shared a common bond over the love of Bollywood music, the Hindu religion, and the delicately built temples all over Bali.
Some random Hindi songs were being played on the radio in Teja's cab. Teja was my assigned driver cum assistance for taking me out to different parts in Bali.
I asked him excitedly, "Teja, you love Bollywood music?"
He replied smiling, "Yes, I do. In fact, we all love listening to Hindi songs."
"Do you understand Hindi?"
"Very little. But it doesn't matter."
I was in awe to see a geographically distant country like India have had an influence in Bali's culture to this extent. Being the third Muslim dominant country, Bali has a deeply rooted Hindu culture which was frankly a revelation for me.
“ The vivid memory which I always cherish more is the breakfast that I enjoyed sitting in my hotel room balcony hearing the birds chirping, the sun rising up, the locals going about their business, the smell of charcoal & the lush green paddy fields. ”
My 4-day trip was mostly spent in either visiting the temples, local markets, street food, the giant waterfalls, or witnessing the Kecak fire dance. I was taken by surprise when I noticed that the Kecak dance draws out the story of Ramayana - very popular mythology in India. As the act unraveled one evening, I was awestruck with the beautiful way they depicted the Ramayana scenes. It was an unforgettable experience.
The bonding just not ends there. Everywhere in Bali, you will find statues of Lord Rama, Hanuman, and Lord Ganesha. People practicing 'canang sari' - one of the colorful daily offerings by the Balinese Hindus, and gathering at the local temples for mass prayer in traditional attire are something which is not uncommon for us in India.
I never actually felt that I left India. I just felt like entering into a different state within India.