Bali Crackdown on Disrespectful Tourist

By Esme Vos (Flickr: Pura Kehen temple complex in Bali) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

New rules for visiting temples have been put into place.

The Deputy Governor of Bali, Oka Artha Sukawati, popularly known by the short name of Cok Ace, is spearheading the effort to stop the slide in the quality of visitors flying into the historically important and beautiful tropical island. Bali authorities have pledged to stop scantily clothed westerners without any cultural sense to make poses incompatible with the island's ethos in front of the many sacred Hindu temples which dot the area. The government is not happy with the disrespectful attitude exhibited by many visitors who throng Bali.

The Indonesian island of Bali has gained a massive popularity as an international destination over the last few years. This Hindu-dominated province in Indonesia attracted about five million visitors over the 12 months of 2017. Visitors with a keen sense of history love the place for its many Hindu temples.

Cok Ace is determined to pursue this matter is not to be doubted with. He expressed what he thinks must be done at a meeting of regional council matters during the third week of September. He pointed out that the temples must be preserved as they are the actual spirits of the many customs and the myriad of cultures which together make up the beautiful kaleidoscope of Bali. He said the coming weeks will see the editing of the varied protocols which govern the behavior of tourists allowed to visit temples on their own. It was observed that tourists who enter temple complexes without guides are prone to make gaffes or disrespect the local culture.

The Bali Government was spurred into action by the actions of a lone Danish tourist who sat on the throne of the Linggih Padmasana shrine of Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple. The shrine occupies a special position among the local Hindus, its throne reserved for the supreme God. Sitting on the throne is sacrilege. The photo, which went viral, offended many Hindus and then it reached the eyes and the ears of the local administration. The local government swung into investigation mode and ordered the police to locate the tourist responsible for the desecration. Indonesia has rigid blasphemy laws.

The Danish tourist was not alone. A number of tourists have been rapped by the local administration for climbing the sacred structures in order to take selfies among other pictures. Another popular offense was a woman posing in a bikini while doing a yoga pose.

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