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Perang Jempana (The Battle of Deities) Part 3 - Out Of Control (Processed by the Deity) | by Mio Cade
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Perang Jempana (The Battle of Deities) Part 3 - Out Of Control (Processed by the Deity)

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Perang Jempana (battle of deities’ effigies) Ritual is held at the Pura Panti Timbrah in Paksebali village, near Klungkung, Bali every 210 days precisely on Kuningan Holyday. This temple is a clan temple of Pasek Bendesa which its origin can be traced back to Timbrah village in Karangasem, its congregation about 80 head of family (about 380 people).


The preparation for Perang Jempana is already start in the morning, the members of the clan gather together in the temple and prepare the offering for Perang Jempana ritual. At 5:30 PM, the sound of Kul-Kul (Balinese traditional alarm made of hollowed wood) urges all the clan members to gather in the temple. The male members of the clan are bare-chested and the female members use their best cloths.


Before the deities’ effigies are prepared for Perang Jempana, they are placed in a special place in the temple, given special offering by the Pemangku (temple priest). After the deities effigies are installed in the Jempana (the palanquins attached to bamboo stretchers in which the deities’ effigies are carried), they are paraded to the Pura Taman (a temple near Unda River in which the Pemangku (temple priest) asks for holy water). The Jempana (palanquins) are placed inside the temple given a set of offering and the pemangku (temple priest) asks for holy water, while the members of the clan take a bath in the river, in order to purify themselves before attending the sacred Perang Jempana ritual.


After the holy water is obtained the deities’ effigies in Jempana (palanquins) are taken back to the temple. Arriving in the temple the deities’ effigies in Jempana (palanquins) are welcomed with Rejang dance by the young female members of the clan. The male members of the clan welcomed the deities’ effigies in Jempana (palanquins) by performing a kind of Baris dance in which the dancers holding a Kris in their right hand and waving the Kris in half trance condition. After the welcoming dance is over the deities’ effigies in Jempana (palanquins) are given a set of offering. This offering is used for placating the deities and asking their permission for holding a Perang Jempana and asking their willingness to take a part in this ritual. After this placating ceremony is over, the Perang Jempana is ready to start.


The Perang Jempana is held in the late afternoon and involves dozens of young men carrying the deities’ effigies on jempana (palanquins). The Jempana (palanquins) are beautifully decorated with yellow and gold color cloths, flower and leaves. A dozen of young men carry each Jempana (palanquins), the bearers are going into trance, running around the temple ground, chasing and crashing each other Jempana (palanquins). This activity is accompanied by the high spirited Gamelan orchestra makes this Perang Jempana goes more and more frenzy. Sometimes a certain people from a huge crowd of onlookers which gather on the temple ground fall into a collective trance, adds a new color to this amazing ceremony. After several hours of fighting the Perang Jempana is stopped by sprinkling holy water to the entranced bearers and the deities’ effigies are taken out from the Jempana (palanquins) and once again installed on their special place in the temple complex.


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Taken on December 18, 2010