Russian tourist breaks big Bali rule at Pura Agung Besakih temple

A traveller in Bali was refused entry into a sacred site after breaking a simple rule.

Bali is a popular holiday spot for many, but there are still some tourists who remain oblivious to the “non-negotiable” traditions and customs in Balinese culture.

The island’s officials are urging travellers to remember some of the basic rules they need to adhere to when visiting sacred sites and temples after one family shirked the guidelines and was disrespectful to locals.

While different temples have different sets of rules to follow, as well as guidelines that are introduced at certain times during the year, tourists are expected to respect Balinese Hindu temples and the etiquette required to step foot in them, regardless of their faith.

Some of the rules when visiting these religious sites include wearing a sarong, a modest shirt, and a sash around the waist. However, one Russian family refused to honour this custom while visiting Pura Agung Besakih, a temple found at the bottom of Mount Agun volcano in East Bali.

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In a video clip, which has now gone viral online, security officers escorted the dad out of the temple, while he pushed a baby stroller. His kids can be seen following behind him in the video.

The clip was posted on ‘Info Amlapura Official – Bali’, which revealed that the family were not wearing appropriate clothing to enter the temple. According to reports, the father “gestured rudely” and did not respect the requests that were made of him while visiting the religious site.

Pura Agung Besakih, also commonly referred to as the Mother Temple, dates back to 1007AD and is the most spiritually significant temple on the island for Balinese Hindus.

Seeing as though the temples in Bali are active places of worship, tourists are expected to cover up and are not allowed to show bare legs.

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I Gusti Lanang Muliarta, Head of the Pura Agung Besakih Sacred Area Management Agency, revealed that the visitors were intercepted two times by officials when they tried to enter the Mother Temple area through the east route, “but the officers lost the argument because the foreigners were a little arrogant”.

The Russians were also asked to purchase entry tickets to the temple, a requirement for all non-worshipping guests, and the family refused to adhere to the rules again, according to The Bali Sun.

“After arguing for a long time, the foreigner finally wanted to calm down and not come back,” Muliarta, shared.

Hot spot: Mount Agung towers above the temple Pura Besakih. Photo / 123RF
Hot spot: Mount Agung towers above the temple Pura Besakih. Photo / 123RF

He went on to reveal that the incident had prompted more security to be assigned around all entrances to the temple, which is the biggest and holiest complex on the island with 86 temples.

Udayana University’s professor of tourism science, I Gede Pitana, pleaded with all visitors to respect local customs and traditions, urging every tourist visiting the temple to wear a ‘senteng’ or sash tied around their waist.

He added: “Because the senteng or scarf has meaning, when we go to the temple, we have to tie up all negative things”.

He went on to remind tourists with long hair to tie it back neatly when visiting the complex and urged visitors not to wear shorts or bikinis.

Bali officials are cracking down on foreigners’ behaviour on the island and a campaign was launched to install informative billboards in areas where customs are shirked the most – such as the more popular tourist hotspots of Legian, Canggu, Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu.

“The point is that tourists respect Balinese cultural customs by dressing well and neatly, following in an orderly manner, carrying out traffic activities and not doing things that are outside the provisions,” Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, Bali Tourism board chairman, said last year.

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