Friday, July 31, 2015



MUKERIAN (Punjab) 1952
(Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India)

The partition of the country deprived the resident of the state from a direct Railway link with the country as Sialkot fell to Pakistan . This being so , the Jammu Railway station across Tawi Bridge ( Near present Day kala Kendra and previously J&K SRTC transport Yard ) turned useless. The remains of the station could be seen at least in early seventies of the last century . The old Jammu -Sialkot railway track , passing through MIran sahib and R S Pura towns , could be seen for many years till 1970.  Even upto 1988,  some portion of this track could  be seen  near  Miran sahib  or R S Pura . After 1947, the nearest Train Link for the residents of the state was  from Mukerian  in Punjab .

It was only in 1952 ( 07-04-1952 ) that a Railway link was extended upto Pathankote . This 27 Mile Railway link was formally inaugurated by Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, the then Minister for Railways and Transport, Government of India. This shortest railway line brought Kashmir valley nearer to India and Pathankote became the busiest Railway station due to Passengers from J&K state .Buses from Srinagar would ply directly upto Pathankote  and carry and drop them near the railway station.This station lost  its importance once the track was extended upto Jammu and another station was set up nearby known presently as Chakki Bank . Almost all  Delhi Bound trains starting from Jammu , currently  pass through Chakki Bank station bypassing the old Pathankote Railway station.

In this photograph , we can see Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar formally declaring the railway line open by switching on an electrical device which operated the ‘line-clear’ signal for the special train (seen in the background). Seated to the Ministers’ right is Shri F.C. Bhadwar, Chairman of the Railway Board. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then Prime Minister of J&K state is at extreme left.
( Autar Mota )

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                                                        ( Our Hotel in Ubud, Bali Indonesia  )


After a quick Breakfast inside the Restaurant of our Hotel , we come to the reception counter and wait for Noora’s ( Ngurah ) Taksi ( Taxi ) to arrive . I talk to the Girl at the reception ..

“ No Indian item for the breakfast ? We have been having Black Tea , Toasts , Jam , Butter and Fruits only all these days.We need some solid food that stays longer inside the stomach to give a feel that we have eaten something . “
My wife smiles at this comment from my side . The girl at the counter is unable to understand what I say .

“ Not Good Breakfast ! That you saying sir ?” She replies..

“ No. I say something different . We Indian .We need something like Tea with Milk , Parantha , Vegetable, Curd , Eggs and Roti for Breakfast . You give American and Chinese stuff only.”

“ Parantha ! I not get . We give guest egg breakfast . You Tomorrow Egg sir. Roti we give all day you American Breakfast . How you liking Madam Breakfast ? “

Give Milk with Tea . We do not drink black tea . And some Chapaati or Parantha or Purrie . You don’t cook Channa or Mix vegetable . No Curd . He likes Curd every day . We pay extra if you give us all this . “ Adds my wife .

“ Paranthaa ! What go Paranthaa you say Madam? Chapaati ? Curd ? Poorrie ? Channaa? I not know . I give what I Menu . I go Sorry .”

Noora has arrived . We wrap up our conversation and move towards the Taksi ( Taxi ) .
“ Good Morning sir . I was listening to the conversation . Roti is a Balinese word also The brown Bread Toast is known as Roti in My country i. Chapaati I understand . Not many know what Chapaati means . No Gundhum ( Balinese word for Wheat ) grow in Bali . Balinsese grow two rice crops minimum. So Rice items for the Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner and in between. “ Noora is clear and specific in his English . He is a college dropout .

“ Fine . We need to look for the curd or Yogurt on the way ? Do remember . “

“ Yogurt ! Say like that . Nobody knows Curd here .” Noora corrects me .

We stop at a retail provision outlet “ALFA STORE “ and rush back to the Taxi after listening “ SORRY “ from the sales girl. We enter two or three stores thereafter but draw a blank. Finally we are shown small Tetra packs of ( about 100 grams Grams in weight ) sweet Yogurt with Mint , Strawberry and other flavours. I buy one for 10000 Indonesian Rupaiah ( About Rs50 ), Tear it open and taste it.I am dejected . We move to PURA GOA GAJAH .


This place is near UBUD not far away from our place of stay. It is about 27 kms from DENPASAR .We come down about 200 steps from the main Road to reach the Elephant Cave Temple complex . We are told to Wash our faces and hands in the sacred spring outside the cave that has some coloured fish . The water Pond is enclosed by Carved stone structure. Water gushes out from standing human figures carved on stones .You need to enter in a SARONG or waist cloth and pay entry fee . A huge demonic Figure has been carved upon the rock at the entrance to the cave . It is almost dark inside . I see Indentures inside the cave implying that Buddhist or Shaivite sages would have been sitting for meditation inside the cave .I feel a little choking due to Incense smoke and humidity inside the cave . Still We decide to proceed and move to the right corner of the cave to see a medium sized SHIVA LINGAS ( Three in Number ) . These lingas are also surrounded by smaller Lingas . I also see an Image of Ganesha inside the cave .

                                                    ( At the Entrance to Pura Goa Gajah )

                                            ( The sacred water  pond at  Pura Goa Gajah )

The ceiling inside the cave has turned black by smoke created due to burning of incense sticks on continuous basis .This is a ninth century UNESCO listed World heritage Monument . There are some more structures and enclosures outside the Cave suggesting that the place was also a seat of learning . The Images appearing on the stone carvings are of Hindu and Buddhist origin. I find tourists from Japan , Europe and other south East Asian countries inside the complex. The Temple structure has been built near the confluence two streams and accordingly the place was considered sacred and ideal for meditation.

As we move out and return the SARONGs, Noora rushes to help us .

“ How you like it ? “

“ Good “

“ Previously there were seven human figures representing seven fountains or Septa Tirta ( SAPTA TEERTHA ) in the sacred water pond meant for bathing by Pilgrims “

“ How do you know it ? “

“Our ancestors tell sir . Noora Tourist Guide also . Believe me what I say . “

“Noora , SAPTA TEERTHA is a symbolic representation of sapta Nadi concept.”

“What is that sir ? I want to know for my future tourist guide work .”

“ SAPTA NADI or Seven sacred rivers of India . If you ever visit India , Go to Prayaga or SANGAM in ALLAHABAD where GANGA , YAMUNA and Mythical SARSAWATI rivers meet , the Brahmana priests over there shall explain you the importance of SAPTA NADI , which according to them , means seven rivers namely Ganga , yamuna , sindhu, sarayu, Godawari, Narmada and Sarsawati .”

“ So Many thanks sir .” And we drive towards KINTAMANI VOLCANO. We have hardly moved 10 kms through green and airy forests when Noora is stopped by Police . Noora opens the dashboard of the TAKSI ( Taxi ) and pulls out some currency notes . The taxi comes to halt.,

“ What happened ? Are your Taxi papers lawfully complete and in order ?” I ask .

“ Yes sir . Wait . Just five minutes .”
I come out of the Taxi . Two police men move towards me and ask me to sit inside .Noora hands over some currency notes to one police man in uniform  . They shake hands and smile .

“ Corrupt! Thieves ! “ Utters Noora as he enters the Taksi ( Taxi ) and presses the ignition switch to start the vehicle .

I am reminded of many similar scenes in India and more particularly on highways in our state . If not Universal, it is the PAN ASIA face of corruption . Nothing amuses me to continue further conversation on the subject. We drive through orchards full of oranges . Oranges on trees and being packed for supply to Jakarta market . My wife asks Noora to stop as she wants to buy some orchard fresh oranges .

“ Madam wait . We buy from some good people . Cheap and fresh “

“ Fine . Stop at some convenient place . Any restaurant nearby ?“

“ Wait sir . Just after 20 minutes we shall be in Kintamani . Very Good restaurants . You get some Indian food also . Buffet system Rupaiah 1,25,000= ( Indian Rs625= ) per person . Eat as much you can. Then Tea , Kopi ( Coffee ), sweet Pudding , fruit . Very good restaurant in my country . Madam and you eat for 2,50,000 Rupaiah .”

“Fine “

We stop near an orchard . From his body language , I understand that Noora is familiar with people from this orchard. My wife picks up 24 oranges and I ask for the money . Noora says 50000 Rupaiah ( Indian Rs250=) .Looks reasonable . I find the oranges not so sweet and not sour either . No match for our A grade Nagpur variety . We carry the load and pass on four Oranges to Noora who is driving fast . Suddenly he declares that we are at Kintamani. He takes us straight to KINTAMANI RESTAURANT though There are more restaurants in the areathat appear crowded with tourist . I pull out a 50000 Rupaiah currency note to pay NOORA for his Lunch .
“ No need sir . If you take Lunch at this place , I get free meal. “

We eat steamed rice , Mix Vegetable (Potato , Broccoli and capsicum etc .), Tofu , crisp spinach Pakora , Finger chips , Fruit salad, chicken Satte ( roasted ) and finally Kopi ( Coffee ). I taste the sweet pudding . It gives me a faint smoke stink. My wife tells me that the pudding is no match to our Suji Halwa , Gajar Halwa , Gulab Jamun , Jalebi or Russ Malai . For sure it is not.

My wife has not touched chicken piece that I had put in her plate . As she goes to take some more fruit salad , she reads a notice on one of the Buffet dish display tables “ Sea Food , Beef and Pork Preparations “ . She seeks my clarification on the subject. I tell her that it is all segregated and kept separate and it is mostly for the Tourists from Europe and America .Not meant for Indians at least, i assure her again  . She is not satisfied with this reply.

“ But they must be cooking in the same kitchen ? “

“ No . Rest assured “

“Why did Noora  bring us to a wrong place ? “

“ Forget and Relax “
As I settle our  bill, She asks the waiter ..

“ Don't You cook Palak Paneer or Daal fry etc. ? “

He does not understand what is being asked from him .He looks at me for more clarification . I smile and help him to come out of this dilemma . He moves to the next Guest .


Kintamani is a hill and name of a village as well in Bangli Regency . It is about 50 kms from Desapar . Kintamani top is about 1400 metres above sea level. It is a cool place with greenery and fresh air . On the hill opposite to Kintamani lies the Volcano of Mount Batur . And below Kintamani , lies the famous lake batur .Sitting on view point of some restaurant in this village , one can have a commanding view of MOUNT  BATUR . This mountain peak is about 1717 metres high from the sea level and remains one of Indonesia’s active Volcanoes. This dry Black mountain has a Caldera formed by some ancient eruption . Since 1804, it has erupted about 26 times .The last major eruption was in 1926 when entire Batur village below the mountain was swept away and buried under the LAVA. Another eruption in 2000 had no impact as people had already moved away from the volcano site . A new batur village has been built on the south of the VOLCANO after 1926 eruption.You can see lake Batur and the crater also from Kintamani village . The best view of the lake , Mount Batur and the caldera can be had from Penelokan village near Kintamani . A hot spring known as TOYA BUNGKAH is also near by .
                                                              ( Hotels at Kintamani )
                                       ( A view of Mount Batur Volcano  from Kintamani )
                                               ( A view of lake Batur from Kintamani )
After 3 PM during daytime , the area can be under thick fog and become cooler . The fog may be there for the whole night . So enchanting and beautiful experience . Most of the restaurants in Kintamani have porticos wherefrom you can enjoy commanding view of the Volcano and the lake while you enjoy your Lunch. I felt as if I was in Gulmarg.

Noora tells us

“ Sir , The hot water to this spring comes directly from that far off Volcano . People go to that Volcano sit in trucks . They bring that balck sand and sell it in Towns . That lake batur below is biggest lake in bali . All irrigation depends on this lake sir .When we return we see rice fields . All water comes from this lake . Best water sir rich in fertile minerals of the Volcano. Look there below near the lake . you see those green patches . These are fields full of vegetables and green chillies . So much of cabbage grown here . so many fish in the lake . Many people engaged in catching the fish and selling to Hotels in Bali . so many ducks and swans there in the lake sir .“

I look below at the vast expanse and breathtaking view of lake Betur and the black barren Volcanic Mount Batur nearby. Hawkers keep disturbing us .

“Sir Bali T shirt . Sir Bali souvenir . Madam this Bali Purse . Madam Perfume . Sir this for you Goggle . Pay Indian rupee . pay dollar . Pay Rupaiah .”

I smile and say a firm NO. They keep coming again and again. As we drive down the hill , I ask Noora where to go now .

“Sir next tour to TEGALLALANG  . World famous beautiful rice terraces . Rice growing done under age old “SUBUK “ system in Bali .All issues of irrigation settled mutually in villages under SUBUK system. Due to most favourable climate and abundance of irrigation facilities from rivers lakes ponds streams springs , Balinese are known all over the world as exceptional rice producers . Our rice goddess known as “Bhatari Sri “. Sir All rice Farming people in Bali from sudra caste .Excellent farming and canal system they build in Bali that helps us to have minimum two crops.
                                                      ( A Rice field near  Tegllalang ) )
Brahmana , ksetriya and wesiya form the TRIWANGSA or the three upper caste people of BALI . Sometimes Triwangsa may also go for rice farming and Sudra may be a shopkeeper , teacher or Artist . No problem in that . No person untouchable here in my country . All visit Temple fairs . All go to Brahamana priest  for Rituals . You see 90% people in Bali from Sudra caste. Sudra backbone of our life in Bali . “

“ Fine . Stop near some Money changer’s shop . I need to convert about 100 US dollors to Indonesian Rupaiah. And then I need to talk to the teacher that I told you . we need to meet him as well . This caste system appears   good  to integrate  Balinese society . I need  more details and clarifications.”

“ Okay sir. Sir I suggest you try your ATM card here in Bali .Why we go shop after shop for better rate? “

“That is a good idea . “

I have my VISA credit card , a RuPay Debit Card and MasterCard Debit Card . We stop near an ATM and I swipe my RuPay card. It is thrown back by the machine. I realize that this card is only meant for withdrawing Indian Rupees in India. No online Transaction or shopping . I insert Mastercard Debit card . The machine accepts it . I Need to withdraw Indonesian Rupaiah . I write 500000 Rupaiah . The machine throws out five 100000 Rupaiah notes converting them to Indian rupees at prevailing rates with a load of nominal charges .My account is debited with Indian Ruppes 2644=. I am more than happy .

As we drive down to Ubud , we pass through village Tegallalang We are near the loveliest Terraced Rice Fields. A fantastic spectacle of green Rice fields across mountains slopes . At foot of these mountains , you find rice fields under tall coconut Trees and amazingly cascading in terraces . Rice fields Well laid with a grand network of Water canals . We see Farmers with Cambodian type conical straw hats on their heads moving in the fields. You do not notice Tractors or other modern agriculture implements . Bullocks plough these terraced rice fields . I find many Europeans staying with families of Farmers .

“ They write Books and eat Balinese Food . It also works cheaper for them . They come close to real Balinese life .” Adds Noora .

We pull out some dry fruits that we carried from Mumbai. We pass on a handful to Noora ( Full Name.. I Gusti Ngurah Artawan ). He is amused to see the walnut Kernel and seeks information about it. He does not know what walnut is and has neither seen it .

To be continued …….

( Autar Mota )

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015



YEAR 1958
 (Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India)

A dinner hosted for Dr Ho Chi Minh President Democratic Republic of Vietnam attended by Indira ji , Dr karan singh and Maharani Yasho Rajya Lakshmi and Shri M C Chagla eminent Jurist and the then chief Justice of Bombay High court.

About this meeting Dr Karan singh said ,

“Here I was face to face , sitting on the dining table and listening to some wonderful thoughts from a fatherly figure known world over as Ho Chi Minh . He was a statesman , a great leader , a communist who created the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945. A man who believed in unification, integration and order. His faith and religion remained humanity. A widely travelled man , a leader who lived in France , UK , USA , CHINA , USSR and many countries  . He was the  visionary leader who fought for the removal of French colonial rule from Vietnam . A revolutionary in his ideas but I found him a saint at Heart . So Impressive in thought , mannerism and style .who could remain untouched by his simplicity and sincerity of purpose ?“

It is said that  even as a President of Vietnam ,he lived a simple life.He slept on a cot  . In his room, visitors could see nothing beyond a box of personal clothes ,a radio set ,a table ,a chair  an ordinary rug to sit and a water container for drinking water .These were his personal belongings or  his property as head of the state. He ate simple food and wore simplest possible clothes.

( Autar Mota )

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On 26th January 1954, Entire cabinet headed by Bakshi Ghulam Mohd was in New Delhi as Guests of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Pandit Ji had invited them for the grand Republic Day Function. on 28th January 1954, this team was also invited for a Lunch by Dr Rajendra Prasad president of India. 

Justice Shahmiri ,  G L Dogra , Bakshi Ghulam Mohd , Dr RajendraPrasad , G M Sadiq , Syed Mir Qasim and D P Dhar can be seen in this picture .

 It may be pertinent to mention that Justice Shahmiri, LD Suri and Wazir Janki Nath went to England in 1929 to complete Bar at Law and  the mentor of Girdhari Lal Dogra was the veteran Congress leader and Nationalist from Amritsar known as Barrister Saif Ud Din Kitchloo .Dogra Ji had a very close association with Saif Ud Din Kitchloo, who incidentally happened to be of kashmiri origin and son of a prominent Pashmina shawl and saffron trader of Punjab..

In Amritsar, a chowk and a colony known as Kitchloo Nagar is named after this great Nationalist. His role in India 's freedom struggle and Jalianwala Bagh tragedy is exemplary ,patriotic,secular and on an equal footing with Dr Satya Pal , his friend and his Nationalist companion from Amritsar. He died in 1963 at  New Delhi.

( Autar Mota )

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29 January 1958 New Delhi ..

The J&K State tableau for 26th january 1958, created by Mohan Raina   ( Standing  with specs and a tie behind Pandit  Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru  ) , a well known Artist of the state , won  first Prize as the best Tableau displayed by any State Government  that year  .  This photograph shows Mohan Raina  and his father Shiv Raina also an Artist and Resident of Badyaar Bala srinagar Kashmir with Indira Ji And Pandit Ji. The artists were invited for a Lunch by Pandit ji on 29th january 1958.The child  in the photograph uploaded above  is Sudesh Raina son of Mohan Raina.  When i met  the family of the late artist in Jammu in July 2015 , Smt.Mohini Raina wife of the late Artist recognized  her son and the cardigan she  knitted for the event .She also added that child Sudesh was made to sit on the tableau with a Pheran and a kangri. The tableau was titled Winter in Kashmir
Not many amongst us know that the Emblem of the state was also designed by Late Mohan Raina in 1952.The emblem story has not only been conveyed to me by the family of the artist but by Shri Mohan Krishen Tikoo  ( Resident of Mohinder  Nagar jammu and closely related to me )  close friend of  Late Mohan Raina .  As per Shri  Tikoo, The need for an emblem  was felt in 1952 and the emblem committee assigned the  work to Department of Information headed by  Shri J N Zutshi. Shri Zutshi selected his departmental employee Mohan Raina . As per  Shri Tikoo sb,the emblem prepared by Mohan Raina was approved by Sheikh Mohd Abdullah the then prime Minister of J&K State .

 Dr Shashi Shekhar  Toshkhani  noted scholar and friend of the late artist informs ,

“ I knew Mohan Raina very well. Was very close to him and his family. Besides the J&K state emblem, he also designed the emblems of the Cultural Academy and Kashmir University, which were later changed.”

During my  visit to the family of the late Artist I was informed that in the turmoil that began in 1990 in Kashmir and that led to their exile, about 200 master paintings done by artist were lost. These were in a cupboard in their ancestral house at Badyaar Bala in kashmir when they had to leave valley suddenly to save their lives. This great loss included about 15 photographs of the artist with Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru, Dr Radha krishnan,Dr Rajendera Prasad ,Sheikh Mohd Abdullah and some more National leaders .I also came to know that some friends of the artist had taken a good number of his paintings for some proposed exhibition but refused to return the same after his sudden death.

   (" Adam And Eve Expelled from Paradise.".A painting by Mohan Raina. Source Soham Raina grandson of the late Artist)

Mohan Raina died unsung and is unknown to the younger generation. Most of his master piece paintings are with his friends . The family hardly owns any painting .Even this photograph has been procured by me from some other source .

He retired as Exhibition officer from Information Department of J&K State and died from  a  sudden and massive heart attack in 1983.  He had many promises to keep and    friends  waiting in the Morning  for an Exhibition that was planned and modalities for which were to be decided.

( Autar Mota  )

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Saturday, July 18, 2015




Batuan is a village about 30 minutes drive from UBUD. It is located on main DENSAPAR- UBUD Road . This village is a hub of Traditional Balinese Art . So many families of Painters and Artists engaged in painting and sculpting work. Galleries selling Batuan style paintings and so many shops selling intricately chiseled stone sculptures . Buddha in various poses , Fat Buddha , Ganesha, Rama Sita , Lakshmi , Arjuna on chariot with Sri Kres’na ( Krishana ),Demons carved on stones , Dragons , Elephants , Birds and Wild animals and everything that you would like to see or buy.

                                                                 ( Batuan Village  )

There are three distinct Traditional schools of Balinese Paintings known as UBUD school , SANUR School and the famous BATUAN school. Batuan paintings are known world over .Apart from presenting Religious ethos of Balinese people , these paintings also depict ordinary life scenes with comic touches . Batuan painters were pioneers of Miniature art in Bali with too much emphasis on details . 
For centuries , these painters and craftsmen worked  directly  Temple Priests and Rulers. This engagement   provided them with little space or room for  personal expression through what they created. This art experienced a dramatic turn with the arrival of Europeans sometime around 1900 AD. Many artists from west stayed and studied Balinese Art and were influenced by it. They also passed on western styles and forms to the local Artists . Though some local artists from UBUD and SANUR schools absorbed the western influences and expressed it in their work but  By and large,  Batuan artists  remained focused on their Traditional forms .I was informed by a Museum official  that prominent Artists of Batuan school like Ida Bagus Made ( 1915-1999 ), Dewa Nyoman Mura (1877-1950) and Dewa Putu Kebes (1874-1962) were Brahmans though a good number on Non Brahmans also joined this tradition .

There are 7 main Art Museums in Bali known as Agung Rai Museum of Art , Museum Sidik jari, Blanco Renaissance Museum, Museum Rudana , Museum le Mayeur , Setia Darma house of Puppets and Masks and Neka art Musuems .
 I was impressed by the collections at MUSEUM PURI LUKISAN whereat you find a variety of the rich Heritage of  Modern and Traditional Balinese Art.The Museum was officially inaugurated in 1956 . Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati ( The King of Ubud ) ,  Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati ( Brother of the king of Ubud ) , Walter spies  and  Rudolf Bonnet ( First Curator) have contributed immensely in creation of this Grand Museum.This Museum houses Wood sculptures and  paintings done in Batuan , Sanur and Ubud styles . You can see work of Ida bagus Nyana ( 1912-1985 ) . I Gusti Nyoman Lempud ( 1862-1978 ) Anak Agung Gde Sobrat ( 1919-1992 ), Ida Bagus Made ( 1915-1999 ), I Gusti Made Deblog ( 1910-1968 ) and so many other prominent painters and wood sculptors .

Western Artists have contributed immensely in exposing and Innovating Balinese Art. I am informed that Contribution of Walter Spies , Theo Meier , Le Mayeur , Rudolf Bonnet and Don Antonio Blanco is unforgettable and enormous . In fact Antonio Blanco , who landed at Bali in 1952 ( fell in love with Ni Rondji , the great Balinese Dancer whom he married and who remained his life long companion ) was a Hollywood actor and a painter who lived in Bali after his marriage. Rondji was his Model  and wife . His work is preserved in Blanco Renaissance Museum that he set up in UBUD. His Son Mario Blanco is also a talented artist .

Le Mayeur  arrived in Bali in 1932 and decided to settle in this island . He also fell in love with a Legong dancer Ni Nyoman Pollok whom he finally married in 1935. His work is preserved in Le Mayeur Museum .

I found the Batuan paintings done mostly in Black and white colors .These paintings continue to decorate various Art Museums in Central UBUD. At a personal level, I was highly impressed by the work of Great master “ Ida Bagus Made “ from Batuan school .His admirers included President Sukarno and some well known  world leaders . 
  (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali  ) 
   (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali ) 

  (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali  )

                                          ( A wood sculpture inside Museum Puri Lukisan )

                          ( A sculpture inside Museum Puri Lukisan )
“ Sir BATUAN and UBUD have become the soul of Balinese culture and Art now. You must come to BATUAN on a full moon day . That is an auspicious day when GAMBUAH dance is held .” 

so said our Driver Noora (  I Gusti Ngurah ) as we Move toward Batuan Temple.


The Batuan temple or PURA DESA BATUAN is a fine piece of Balinese architecture .The temple is believed to be about 1000 years old .You need to enter only in SARONG ( waist cloth or Dhoti ) that is provided free by the Temple management ..Donation is optional and there is no Entrance fee / ticket .The temple has a stylized open gate that is demonstrative of Balinese PURA ( Temple ) Architecture . It is a grand complex that has the usual outer area , Middle area and the main Temple area which is known as Nista Mandala , Madhya mandala and Utama Mandala respectively.. The stone carvings are intricate and done with artistic precision..I am informed that after every six months (on a full moon day ), a public fair is held a this Temple . The Temple is dedicated to Trisakti that is Brahma Wisnu ( Vishnu ) and Mahesa( Shiva ) . The entrance has the Guardian statues that look like demons . This is typical of every Balinese PURA or temple. The symbolic three storey Meru ( Meru Mountain ) and a place for worshiping SANG HYANG WIDHI (Balinese God ) is also provided inside the Temple complex. As usual , you find a place for Musicians or Gamelan ensemble.

                             ( The demonic figure or the protector outside the Temple Gate )
                ( Outside main Gate of the Temple )
                                  ( Inside the Temple )
                                                     ( Notice Board at the Temple )
                                        ( Inside the Temple )
                                               ( The place for  Devotional Music players  Inside the temple )
                                                                 ( stone carvings inside the temple )
                             ( SARON ...The Musical instrument  with Metal plates struck by a hammer )                                                     


“ Balinese music is very old and I should say as old as the human settlement on this Island . GAMELAN orchestra is associated with JAVA AND BALI civilization. Gamelan is a combination of Some percussion instruments and is usually played in entire Indonesia . In Bali , Gamelan music is played in courts , Temples , During Marriages functions , as an accompanying music of traditional Dances , During performance of plays based on Ramayana and Mahabharata , during Puppet shows , Religious ceremonies and various public functions . This music ensemble does not follow set notations as in western classical music . Gamelan players do not follow any conductor . These trained musicians keep listening to each other to remain together during the performance . They maintain the tempo and melody during a performance . The Drum player has a key role in ensuring that the musicians stay together .The instruments used are Metal Gongs , Metalphones , Chimes , Drums , Bamboo flutes , SARON ( Instruments with Metal Bars struck by small Wooden hammer ) with or without accompanying vocalists .We have a Raaga system KUSUMA is a Raaga that is generally asked to be played by connoisseurs from Europe and USA.I can say that the soul of the Gamelan has a definite touch of Indian Classical Music. Our KENDHANG or DRUM that is so vital in registering the BEAT is simply Indian DOLAK of Northern India or MRIDANGA of Southern India . It is actually a combination of three words GAH ,MEH and LAHN and pronounced as GAMELAN. Gamelan also means to hammer in Indonesian language, It has now traveled to Philippines , Thailand , Malaysia and other south east Asian countries . Some groups in west also play Gamelan music now.” 

So said A. Sidharatha , a musician  inside the Batuan Temple complex.

While Thanking Noora , our driver for introducing the knowledgeable musician to us ,I put a direct question to him.

“ Noora, Have you ever heard any Indian Musician?. “

“No Sir . But I can remember two names . Robi Sankara and Zeikir Hussain . Some years back I was engaged by a  Film company as their Driver . They were shooting live Ramayana performance and also went for shooting to ULAWUTU Complex . They had Two CDs of Indian Music By Robi Sankara ( Ravi Shankar ) Seitaar ( Sitar ) and Zeikir Hussain ( Zakir Hussain ) Drum ( Tabla ) Music. They played this at Uluwatu before a Gamelan ensemble and made them to perform something like the CD music . Very Good Music . I liked that . That is only I know about Indian Music.”

We are still inside the Batuan Temple complex. A group of Tourists from Japan are keenly listening about the Gamelan music that a guide is explaining . We also join to listen. The Guide then picks up the small wooden Hammer and asks a SARON Player ( who was inside the Temlpe ) to strike the Bronze plates in succession . Lo and Behold ! It creates sounds like Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni . Unable to resist myself I seek permission from the group leader to make some addition to what the Guide had already said . And the Japanese are more than happy to know that I am from India. 

“ Do you know about a place called Kashmir in India ?” I ask .

“ We visit Taj Mahal , Udaipur , Kerala and Mumbai in 2007. Very good Ayurveda treatment and Spa in Kerala . Genuine and reasonable  rates with trained people .The beautiful palaces of Udaipur and the lakes in desert . The houseboats of kerala . So lovely. We like all. “

“ Thanks . So should I start ? “

“. Sure !  Please “ was the common response .

“ What this gentleman played on SARON sounds like seven basic notes of Indian classical Music . We call it seven basic SWARA of the scale in Sanskrit. We believe that these sounds have come to us from animal kingdom. We also believe that the Human body is made of seven CHAKRAS . and accordingly each SWARA is linked to one chakra of our body. These notes are also known as SARGAM . And SARGAM is what you call SOLFEGE in western classical music .These Sa, Re Ga, Ma Pa Da and Ni represent symbolic and short names of Shadaj ,Rishab,Gandhara , Madhyama, Panchama , Dhaivata and Nishada respectively .This is the base of Indian Classical Music .” I add .
“ O ! That is so good . “

“Thank you “

The Group leader smiles at this addition from our side . So is the local guide happy. They shake hands with us and keep saying ” Thank you . Thank you very much “. The Group leader takes our snaps and says 

“Bye Bye “ . 

Waving our raised hands , we also demonstrate happiness and thankfulness and move ahead …..

( Autar Mota )


Some words from Bahasa Bali (Balinese language) that I picked up during my recent tour of Bali many Sanskrit words with words from Bahasa Indonesia .Bahasa Bali belongs to Malayo Austronesian language family of South East Asia.
Husband.....Suami ( swami of Sanskrit)
Father...... Bapa
Priest or Pandit.,.....Pedanda
Son. ........Putra
Daughter......oka Istri
Grand child.......Putoo
Sea ...........Segara (Sanskrit saagara)
Mountain... Giri
House of Brahmana....Greya(Graha Sanskrit)
Yes sure.......Patut
Wednesday... Wrespati
One ,two,three......siki,dua,telu
Boiled Rice....Nasi
Donation..... Dana. Punia
Roadside Coffee/Cold
Drink/Snacks shop.........Warrung
Salamat Pagi........Good Morning.
Snake skin fruit........Salak
Pine apple.......Nanas
You are
Welcome...... Sama sama
Mutton Tikka or
Skewed meat pieces........Saa'te
Yellow Rice
With spices........Nasi Bira (Kashmiri Tahar)
Beautiful...... Ayu.

All Photographs clicked by Autar Mota ....July 2015

(Autar Mota )

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