The Jakarta Post
Thousands of Hindus gathered at Ngobaran Beach in Saptosari district, Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, on Sunday.
Hailing from across the regency and surrounding cities, such as Magelang, Sragen, Bantul, Kulon Progo and Surakarta, the Hindu adherents flocked to the seashore to participate in melasti, a Hindu ritual held to cleanse the soul and nature.
The purification ritual was performed ahead of Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence, a national holiday that falls on March 28 this year.
The melasti ceremony was held in a customary Hindu-Javanese manner combined with Balinese traditions, accompanied by gamelan, the sound of bells and mantras. Fifteen temples around Gunungkidul presented offerings in the form gunungan (cone-shaped floats) comprising agricultural products as a symbol of gratitude for nature's blessings.
The cleansing ritual started at Segara Wukir Temple, where ceremonial tools, statues and altars were purified. The ceremony continued with the tirta amrita procession that took place at South Beach as a symbol of life.
Some participants could be seen accompanying pemangku (Hindu leaders) who performed prayers on the seashore prior to the larungan ceremony. The offerings that had been purified were then released into the sea, symbolizing soul purification.
The ceremony ended with a prayer and the gunungan being shared among the participants. (kes)