This small temple in the heart of Ubud, surrounded by streets, restaurants and noise is a small oasis of silence. The Pura Taman Saraswati is also called the Water Palace, the complex belonged to the King of Ubud until 1940. During the day you can visit the palace and its ponds covered with lotus flowers, which give the place a very special beauty. However, we had other plans, because we wanted to marvel at the traditional dances that are performed here in the evening.
So on our way back from Monkey Forest we bought tickets for the dance performance in the evening. Basically, different dances are performed in the temples in Ubud, such as the Legong Dance or Kecak Fire & Trance Dance. However, we were recommended the Barong dance in the water temple.
Around 7 p.m. the admission began, since we were there relatively early, we were able to get very good seats and let the scenery work on us. The temple with its ponds was picturesquely illuminated, which gave the scenery a magical atmosphere. At about 8 p.m. the big dance performance began, which was divided into several acts.
In general, the Barong dance always represents the struggle of good against evil and is said to drive away evil demons. A barong is a lion-like figure in Balinese mythology and the king of good spirits. In the dances, the barong is accordingly the symbol of good and is played by two dancers wearing a mask resembling a lion. He fights against evil and the queen Rangda, whereby the fight always ends in a draw, because both sides belong inseparably together. In total, the whole play is divided into seven acts, with a small break at the halfway point. The whole play was accompanied by traditional music. We had the most fun watching the musicians, because their exuberant enthusiasm in playing the instruments sometimes made them laugh themselves.
On the whole, the play lasted about two hours, but became a bit lengthy towards the end. But still, we would recommend it to any tourist, if only to dive a little deeper into the foreign culture. It was also a crowning conclusion to our stay in Ubud, because the next morning we had to break down our tents and travel on. The sea with its waves could wait no longer for us and so the roads led us to Padang Padang Beach!