Since I stay with Balinese friends in Bedulu (=Bedahulu village), the Pura Samuan Tiga is more or less "THE TEMPLE" where the family goes for celebrations. This year was a big 12 days celebration from April 17th to 29th with all kind of activities. People from many communities around the Ubud area bring their holy temple symbols (the Rangda costumes and masques, the Barong, the temple shrines and others) to the temple to be blessed. They bring incredibly huge offerings (towers of fruits, rice cakes and decorated with ornaments made from young palm leaves and flowers) which get blessed with holy water by the Hindu priests. The intent sticks and some money on top are for the temple, the beauty of the colors and smells are for the gods, the edible parts are take home again for the family. There are Gamelan orchestras playing, people moving and singing and priests reading from the holy scriptures. Our friend took us for two evenings to the temple (dressed in the usual temple dress: Sarong, Blouse and Selendang for the ladies, Sarong, Shirt, Selendang and Headdress for the males and sandals or flip-flops on the bare feet). On the first afternoon we saw the processions of the different Banjars (communities) arrive with their temple things and circle three times the area of Samuan Tiga. Then there was the run of the ladies (long black skirts, white blouse, red selendang) and men (all in white) around the temple. They hold hands and run in waves symbolizing the waves of the sea. After three rounds the men take from the heaps of discarded decoration and put the dry palm leaves like hats on their heads. After one more round they sit in front of the priests to get blessed and then hit each other with the dry palm leaves. This symbolically drives out all bad thoughts. Now the temple and the people are cleansed and ready for the arrival of the goods. (Physically - in our eyes - the temple is more dirty than ever, rubbish laying around everywhere.) In the evening the school children and some ladies show special dances in beautiful costumes accompanied by Gamelan music. Again, the beauty of the dancers, the dances and the music is mainly for the gods, not necessarily for the onlookers, who talk, eat, come and go and let their children play. It is definitely not a show in our sense. Everybody who wants to look stands or sits crosslegged somewhere on the floor.
If there is no ceremony, the temple is just a big area of stairs, temple shrines, and the huge holy banyan trees. Certainly worth seeing as well, but nothing in comparison to celebration times and preferably guided by somebody who knows about the meanings, like for example our friend, guide and driver I Nyoman Darna from Bedulu.