Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
I Made Madra, one of the 24 members of AYANA's Hindu Committee, led a ceremony at AYANA on 10, 11 and 12 October, to mark the resort temple’s anniversary. All Balinese-Hindu staff took part in this sacred 3-day ceremony, which included a parade, dancing and competition for the best gebogan (offering) which was won by Dava restaurant (AYANA's fine-dining venue).
What was the reason for the temple ceremony?
Every Hindu temple has a yearly ceremony, you can compare it to the birthday of a person. Ever since the temple was built in 1996, this ceremony has taken place every year, so you can say that this was the temple's 15th birthday. The ceremony's function is to bless the hotel and the people who work and stay at AYANA.
What exactly happens during the ceremony?
The ceremony takes three days in total. The first day is a preparation day also called "nanceb", when all the decorations and offerings are created and everything is set-up. The second day is the day the big ceremony takes place also known as "odalan", when all Hindu-employees wear their traditional Hindu attire and bring their families. The third day is the clean-up which is called "ngelukar". Most of us try to attend all three days, but you can probably imagine that it is very hard for AYANA's 763 Hindu employees to all be there every day. It is not compulsory to join the ceremony but basically every Hindu makes the time as it’s a very important day.
Is there a head of the temple? A priest?
Yes the AYANA temple has a female priest. The Mangku (priest) was chosen by the owner of AYANA, Rudy Suliawan, back in 1996. She was a friend of Pak Rudy before AYANA was built and helped him to choose a good piece of land to build the resort on. After the resort was opened, Pak Rudy decided to make her the Mangku of the temple. The Mangku is also the one that receives the honor to name the temple, and she named it Giri Wangi (Giri means mountain and Wangi means smile in Balinese).
Is it possible for Hindus to be members of more than one temple?
Yes it is possible to belong to more than one temple, almost every Hindu also has a family temple and a smaller temple or shrine at home (pelinggih). In the end we all honor the same god, it doe not matter in which temple we do that. We only have one god however our god makes his appearance as many different spirits: Vishnu, Siwa, Brahma and more. In total there are 33 spirits in the Balinese Hindu religion.
Edward and Rachel Scheibler were the first couple to ever marry at this resort back in 1996 (when it was The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa). They recently returned with their two sons to show them the place where their lifelong commitment was made. In this blog post, they share some of their memories and wedding photos from both the original ceremony and their latest visit with us – a beautiful reminder of the legacy of Bali’s eternally romantic spirit!
I guess our wedding made history. We were the first ever couple to get married at AYANA when we eloped in December 1996, soon after the hotel opened. It’s been almost 15 years and we’re still going strong! This is our first trip back to Bali since. We now have two children: William, 11, and George, 9. We have told the kids so many times how special Bali is to us and how special the hotel is, and how much we’ve anticipated coming back here. We really wanted to show them the place where we got married, and we ended up having an informal ceremony to relive the moment, this time with our children in attendance. The pier was decorated in similar style to our original ceremony, with white flowers, a Balinese ringgit musician, Balinese traditional decorations, and glasses of champagne for our toast. It was magical!
Our original Balinese wedding wasn’t really planned; we were supposed to get married in New York with all of our family and friends but it was turning into a circus! We were travelling around Tokyo, Koh Samui and Bangkok, and when we came to Bali, the resort was so beautiful and relaxed, we just said, ‘This is the perfect place, let’s get married here’. We chose to get married on the jetty, surrounded by the ocean and dramatic cliff scenery.
We were meant to check out on Christmas Eve, but extended another three days. The resort handled all of the wedding arrangements at very short notice. Rachel is Catholic and I am Prodestant, but we had an Episcopalian minister and a Balinese civil servant who administered the civil ceremony. The staff from the hotel were our substitute family, so coming back here this time, we really feel like we came home to family. We have met staff who were here at that time and are still working for the hotel.
We were staying in a normal room but the hotel upgraded us to a villa for the wedding night. After the ceremony on the jetty, we had a traditional Balinese wedding dinner on our bale beside the villa pool, under the stars. We still remember that meal so fondly, the food was delicious and it was a very memorable experience. Back in New York, our families were very happy for us and we had a big party.
We have had a fantastic time coming back and the boys have both said they want to get married here when their time comes. They are thinking maybe on the waterslides. Who knows, stranger things could happen!