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Galungan and Kuningan penjor | by kamesvara
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Galungan and Kuningan penjor

A penjor is basically a long tapered bamboo pole that is stood vertically in the ground, often on the roadside, and decorated in coconut leaves. Due to their length of sometimes more than ten metres, they droop charmingly over the pavement like an ancient street lamp.


At Galungan time, Balinese Hindus erect a penjor in front of their houses to symbolise the dominance of good (dharma) over evil (adharma), as well as offering thanks to God for the fruits of the Earth. About halfway down the pole they attach a small cage in the shape of a triangle and made from bamboo, called sanggah cucuk. Offerings are placed in this and it is considered to be a temporary “throne” for the Gods when they come down to Earth for Galungan. If you take a close look at a Galungan penjor, you’ll notice that it’s also ornamented with coconut leaves called sampian and also long strips of white and yellow material to symbolise that it is a holy offering. The Sri Jaya Kasunu manuscript states that the penjor symbolizes the mountain and the mountain itself is the symbol of the universe. Therefore, for the Balinese the penjor is synonymous with Mount Agung, the highest and holiest mountain in Bali.


The aim of erecting penjors at Galungan is to show devotion to God in His manifestation as Hyang Giri Pati (the God of the mountain). Mountains with deep forests hold a lot of water, which flows into rivers. This then fulfils water needs for irrigation and drinking water.

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Taken on February 11, 2005