In Bali, there is a belief that gods and goddesses exist in the elements of nature, so for Balinese, the spirit world and the human world are constantly interacting. More than 90% of the population practices Balinese Hinduism (the rest of Indonesia is Muslim) and everywhere you look, women are making offerings of rice and brightly coloured flowers, blessing the things they interact with.
The spiritual energy in Bali in general is very powerful and intense – but in a very balanced and positive way. Primarily the spiritual energy in Bali flows from the active volcano in the region Mount Agung which the locals refer to as a place of power for the great overarching “oneness god” that encompasses all beings. What Hindu’s refer to as “brahman”. Ubud itself feeds from this energy and is another place of spiritual power on the island. The town itself has become a meca for spiritual and emotional healing spurred on greatly by the recent book success of “Eat pray love” which brings many expats and tourists to the area.
The people of Ubud are incredibly open, and foreigners are welcomed into the local religious world. If you have the opportunity to participate in some of the spiritual rituals, such as the elaborate cremations and traditional purification ceremonies, you absolutely should.
Ubud nowadays is still home to a number of temples, sacred places, and holy springs. Tirta Empul is one of the most prominent sacred spots to receive purifying water, while Gunung Kawi temple is adored for its ornate shrines and stone-carved statues.
This spiritual scene now has a more contemporary touch. Meditation caves seem like a relic, compared to the stylishly built yoga shalas and luxurious wellness centers that visitors book appointments at each day. Ancient ashrams are now visited as cultural attractions.
Today, people and establishments have found modern ways to celebrate Ubud’s spirituality. Fresh retreats, establishments, and programs are being developed that maintain the essence of Ubud’s spiritual history. For example, the Bali Spirit Festival brings together yoga, meditation, healing, and music to promote wellness in Ubud for people across the globe.