Friday, April 9, 2010
Sacred Monkey Forests
Perhaps my favorite thing that we have done in Bali is go to the Monkey Forest in Ubud. WOW! There were monkeys everywhere. We bought bananas and fed the monkeys as we walked along. The monkeys knew that we had food so they would follow us! It was such a hot day too so the monkeys were having a great time playing and splashing around the fountains. The moneksy are long-tailed macaques. These monkeys only live in forested areas so it is important that too many trees are not cut down here. In the sacred Monkey Forest, monkeys are protected (and well fed) so they are fine. In other forests in Bali, the monkey is becoming endangered because so many trees are cut down to make tourist souvenirs. While we were in the Monkey Forest, we got to look at a few temples too. Most people in Bali are Hindu. Each village has 3 temples to worship 3 different Hindu gods. Because of their Hindu beliefs, the Balinese people both love and dislike the monkeys. The monkeys are considered to be both good and evil. An example of an evil monkey spirit would be when they raid the rice fields. A good monkey spirit takes on the form of Barong...the Hindu holy spirit that drives away evil forces. Typically the monkeys in the sacred sites are thought to be good spirits and they guard the temples.