Tumpuk Landep - Taman

The next day we spent around Ubud, and playing on the gamelan that had just arrived from the neighboring village of Taman. We were borrowing the instruments for the time we were in Bali, and our friend Nyoman Sedana came up from Denpasar to start teaching us. More on that later.

The day after that was the festival day of Tumpuk Landep. This is one of the six big festival days of the Balinese calendar which honor various aspects of their lives - plants, animals, etc. Tumpuk Landep is the day to honor "sharp instruments" - historically knives, farm implements like ploughs, but more generally, metallic objects, including gamelan instruments.

Linda had planned an outing for us all later that day, so in the morning we wandered into Ubud and found ourselves in Taman, where our instruments had come from, and which is really more like a district of Ubud. In the banjar hall we found preparations being made for a big feast.

Food was being prepared in large quantities, and the place was decked out with decorations - umbrellas, flags, and banners. We got talking to some of the people there, breaking the ice with our mini photo album that we had brought with us, showing our life back home, our families, house, and of course, our gamelan. This was always a good way to get conversation going, and we used it everywhere we went.

The gamelan instruments of the main Taman gamelan had been brought to the banjar hall to receive their blessings. We loved the painted figure on the inside of this gong, and when we got back to the States, Astrid painted our own gong with the same pattern.

The whole gamelan was here - look at these beautiful gongs!

These are the long reyong and trompong instruments, protected by mats of woven palm leaves.

The ubiquitous bamboo penjors with their wispy palm leaf decorations, outside the banjar hall at Taman.

More decorations and tables for offerings.

At the back of the banjar hall, almost hidden behind piles of offerings, we found her... Rangda, the queen of witches...

The yellow cloth on her head strengthens her powers. Rangda is a complex character - dark and powerful, she is given offerings to placate her and keep her from turning her powers against you. The dark side is not necessarily bad, in the sense that a dark emotion like anger can be turned to a positive use. Nevertheless, she gives me the creeps.

We were happy to find the balancing Barong - a full Barong figure with complete body - parked in his 'garage', and almost completely hidden behind offerings. We couldn't even get close.

Tumpuk Landep was clearly a big festival day in Bali, and the forces of the dark side and the light side were being given their offerings. We headed back towards Ubud, thinking that if the outing with Linda didn't materialize, we could come back here later. As it turned out, we had quite an afternoon in store for us.

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Photos: Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall
All content copyright (c) 2002, Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall