Kumbakarna Laga Sculpture from Kebun Raya Eka Karya or Bedugul Botanical Garden
Coming from a sculpture background, I have a soft spot for the highly skilled work of the Balinese sculptors. There are numerous massive-scale sculptures throughout Bali. Many are impressive from an engineering and artistic point of view but none perhaps as much as the finely crafted Kumbakarna Laga Sculpture from the Bedugul Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Eka Karya).
Bali Art ~ Botanical Gardens ~ Traditional Healers ~ Medicinal Plants
The gardens offer wide patches of grass that are perfect for a picnic and a yoga class. After the yoga session we walk the park and marvel as I do at this epic three-story work of art. It depicts a celebrated tale from the Indian epic, Ramayana.
Ramayana ~ The Great Hindu Epic
Kumbhakarna is a noteworthy character in Ramayana standards as he is multifaceted. Most characters symbolize either vice or virtue, few stray from this delineation. Kumbhakarna was said to be intelligent, pious, brave, and loyal. Sure he ate a few humans on occasion and killed some Hindu monks, but he was a virtuous warrior and remained highly regarded despite being the primary protector of the demon king Ravana.
The monument depicts a pivotal portion of the great Hindu epic. The Ramayana’s protagonist is of course, Rama. His beloved wife has been kidnapped by Ravana. Rama and his monkey army retaliate, but the thousands of simians are no match for the ferocious Kumbhakarna. The carnage continues until Rama himself, employing his most mighty powers, is able to bring down the colossal beast.
Kebun Raya Eka Karya or Bedugul Botanical Garden
This sculpture is just one of many in the 157 hectares of the Eka Karya Botanical Garden. Kumbhakarna shares the beautiful grounds with more than 2000 species of plants and trees. Some of the most awe-inspiring include over 320 orchid varietals from Bali, Java, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Borneo and Irian Jaya.
Jamu and Usada ~ traditional Balinese medicinal herbs
My favorite area however is the medicinal plant section. Balinese traditional medicinal healing is known as Jamu or Usada. There are nearly 500 plant species used in Jamu and are used to treat various ailments from digestive issues to cancer. Our Yoga and Wellness Retreat groups commonly enjoy a Jamu or Usada workshop lead by a traditional healer or Balian. The effects can be profound and many past students have contacted me years later to say the Jamu treatments they learned have turned their health around. Contact us today for more on our Yoga Retreats and Jamu Workshops.
All photography © Michael Doliveck
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