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February 11, 2014

Bali

A few months ago, I was in Bali, an exotic island in Indonesia. It is a place steeped in history and mystery.

First a little history and geography. The Indonesian archipelago lies on the Sunda Shelf in South East Asia. The biggest land masses in this region are Java, Sumatra and Borneo. The island of Bali is shaped like a little fish, lying in the ocean next to Java. More than a thousand years ago, Indians sailed across to settle in the numerous islands in the archipelago. There were kingdoms with names like Kalingga and Srivijaya. Several centuries later, the spread of Islam pervaded the archipelago. Later the Portuguese and Dutch colonisers appeared, as did the British in India.

The Dutch had annexed Bali in the 19th century. Independence came in 1950 after long and bitter strife.



Today Bali  is part of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country. However, Bali alone retains a strong imprint of ancient Hindu and Buddhist influences. How and why - that is a mystery!

Three Apsaras in Bali

Above all, Bali is beautiful. It is a popular tourist destination. These pretty girls were with me last year in Bali, where I too went as a tourist.

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