Tuesday, 16 March 2010

'Nyepi' in Bali

My itinerary for Tuesday just said "Own arrangements". I discovered this should have read "You will be under house arrest in your hotel and keep quiet". Let me explain.

Hindu Bali celebrates the Icaka New Year 'Nyepi' or Day of Silence. When I arrived on the 13th, I saw the 'Melasti' celebrations prior to the New Year when effigies from the temples are carried to the beach for a Purification Ceremony welcoming the New Year. On the 15th March, there is a sacrificial ceremony at noon - 'Tawur Agung Kesanga' - made to the underworld spirits. Later there is the procession of 'Ogoh-Ogoh', the large dolls symbolising evil spirits, which are burnt afterwards.

Tuesday 16th March was 'Nyepi' which is a day of absolute silence for Hindu followers. No activity, amusement or travel is allowed and fires may not be lit. It should be a day of 'contemplation and self-reflection within the family compound'. In each village, 'pecalang' (guards) make sure nobody leaves except in case of emergency. There should be no lights during Nyepi but certain facilities, like hospitals, are exempt. Hotels are expected to keep the number of lights used down and make sure guests remain within their grounds. At the Bali Pavilions, food was being offered but only until 6.30 p.m. It's a good job I had such agreeable surroundings to be confined to!

The State Electricity Company PLN has three generating plants in Bali:-
- Pesanggaran (15 machines totalling 182 MW)
- Pemaron (2 machines totalling 80 MW)
- Gilimanuk (1 machine of 130 MW)

In addition, 200 MW can be supplied via a connector from Java, giving a 592 MW capacity. A normal load is around 515 MW but during Nyepi, this falls to 100 MW!