Balekambang Beach – The Hindu Cleansing Ritual (Jalani Dhipuja)
If you think that the fabled island of Bali is the only place to witness the captivating age-old Hindu ritual traditions, you may want to turn your attention to a secluded beach on the south coast of Malang in the province of East Java, called the Balekambang Beach.
Every year, three days before Nyepi, – the Hindu Balinese New Year, Hindus from around the Malang region (Malang city, Malang Regency, and Batu city) as well as beyond, will gather here to perform the Jalani Dhipuja ritual as part of the series of ceremonies to ring in the Saka or Hindu New Year.
In Bali better nown as Melasti , the Jalani Dhipuja is one of the most essential religious rituals for Hindus in the Malang region. The ceremony is intended as a means to purify what is known as the small universe (jagad alit) and the large universe (jagad gede). By ‘ small universe’ is meant each individual human being, who is a small manifestation of the universe, while by ‘the large universe’ is meant the entire universe and everything included in it.
Congregations fill the shore of Balekambang Beach since the night before to prepare all the necessary requirements for the ceremony. Among the most important of which are the Jolen – the offerings of fruits or other produce- that will later be cast off into the sea as symbol of the people’s gratitude to the Almighty God and Hyang Baruna, the god of the ocean. The offerings are also meant to seek protection and repel dangers and misfortunes in times to come. The Jolen consists of five elements known as palem, patrem, puspem , toyem, and dupem (fruits, leaves, flowers, water, and incense). Each of the elements is believed to be an essence of human existence.
The Jalani Dhipuja ritual begins early morning with the procession of Toyo Anyar or holy water which has been previously blessed at the picturesque temple on the rock, the Pura Amerta Jati. The holy water will then be handed to the priests known as Panaya Nirmala and Putra Nirmala. The two priests will then bless all the Jolen or offerings before these are all cast to the sea.
The sacred ritual will come to a close with mass prayers of Tri Sandya and Kramaning Sembah at the Pura Amerta Jati.
Just like their fellow Hindus in Bali, Hindus in Malang will also perform the Tawur Agung or Ogoh-ogoh procession on the following day on the eve of Nyepi. The Tawur Agung procession usually centers at the Gajahyana Stadium in the Malang city.