Bali is not only known for its scenic surfing scene, delicious food, and vibrant party scene for Australian travellers but also has gained acclaim as a top choice for health-focused getaways.
A sacred cleansing ritual, known as “Melukat“, widely shared on social media with videos showcasing participants screaming and crying, has witnessed a significant uptick in Australian involvement. Influencers and travel bloggers have contributed to this trend by promoting the so-called “traditional Balinese purification ritual” as a must-try experience on the island.
“Melukat” is a Hindu religious ritual performed to purify the mind, body, and spirit through bathing in holy water.
A quick search on TikTok and Instagram reveals numerous videos of individuals emotionally engaged in the ritual, wearing traditional sarongs and surrounded by water and flowers. Despite its popularity among travellers seeking inner peace, local authorities argue that such rituals are sacred practices exclusive to Hindu adherents.
While some appreciate the trend, I Ketut Pasek Swastika, the deputy of the Bali chapter of the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), expresses concern about non-Hindu tourists partaking in what he considers a sacred practice.
Swastika said that non-Hindus are permitted to engage in the ritual, but it should be referred to as bathing rather than “Melukat.” It can be carried out in various water bodies such as ponds, rivers, or lakes, with the condition that the term “Melukat” is avoided due to its sacred significance.