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Jakarta Post

Ubud hosts royal cremation today

  • Nur Aminah

    The Jakarta Post

Gianyar   /   Tue, May 14, 2013   /  10:40 am

Ubud, the town dubbed the island'€™s cultural mecca, will host a pelebon (royal cremation) on Tuesday as the Ubud royal family bids farewell to one of its prominent members, Tjokorda Ngurah Wim Sukawati, who served as the Indonesian Ambassador to Switzerland from 1975 to 1979.

Tjokorda Ngurah Wim Sukawati passed away at the age of 90 on Feb. 24, 2013, in a hospital in Jakarta due to illnesses associated with old age. He was the son of the late king of Ubud, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati and Gusti Agung Niang Putu.

His remains arrived in Bali late February and have been rested at the Puri Agung Ubud royal palace, 25 kilometers from Denpasar.

It has been a tradition of the Puri Agung Ubud royal family that when a family member dies, a grand traditional Balinese cremation ritual is performed. The ritual will use a nine-tiered, 22-meter-tall bade (cremation tower), a five-meter-long naga banda (dragon) and a five-meter-tall lembu (black bull)

The paraphernalia for the ritual has been constructed under the guidance of the deceased'€™s cousin, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati, fondly called Cok De, who is the younger brother of Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, the former regent of Gianyar from 2008-2013.

'€œIt took 30 days to construct the bade, naga banda and lembu,'€ Cok De said on Monday, adding that as many as 60 men from 14 banjar (hamlets) in Ubud customary village had been involved in the construction.

The naga banda and bade weigh up to 5 tons, while the lembu is around 1 ton. Around 250 people from Banjar Ubud Kaja, Ubud Kelod, Ubud Sambahan and Bentuyung Sakti will be tasked to take turns in carrying the bade and naga banda during the street procession. Meanwhile the lembu will be transported by some 100 villagers of Banjar Kutuh Kaja, Kutuh Kelod, Kutuh Tengah and Ubud Tengah.

The ritual will start at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, when a melaspas (consecration) ceremony for the naga banda, bade and lembu will be performed at the intersection in front of Puri Agung Ubud Royal Palace. Afterwards, the remains of the deceased will be rested atop the bade.

Music played by various gamelan ensembles will accompany the naga banda, bade and lembu is a procession to the east, heading to the Dalem Puri Royal Cemetery in Peliatan village at around 12 noon. The cemetery is about 1.2 kilometers from the palace.

Considering the height of the ritual equipment, which reaches up to 22 meters, state-owned electricity company PT PLN in Gianyar will turn off the electricity in the neighborhood, to avoid short circuits.

From 7 a.m., some parts of the roads heading to the cremation location will be closed to vehicles

Thousands of visitors are expected to witness the ritual.

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