Hundreds of people gathered in the streets of Blahbatuh yesterday to watch the funeral procession of I Gusti Ngurah Djelantik XXIV, a royal descendant who was honored with a 24-meter-high bade (funeral tower).
Djelantik passed away last month at the age of 74, having suffered from ill health for some time, according to a report in Bali Express. Family members residing at Puri Ageng Djelantik Blahbatuh (Blahbatuh Palace) have since been busy preparing for his funeral, a suitably flamboyant affair which was carried out yesterday afternoon in accordance with the ancient Balinese calendar.
The exceptionally high bade is a royal family tradition, and a loving tribute to a highly respected community figure. Three thousand Blahbatuh residents, from 13 different banjar (neighborhoods), carried the 15-ton bade containing Djelantik’s body through the town’s main thoroughfares, together with the customary gilded bull sculpture, itself measuring several meters high.
In keeping with Balinese culture, Djelantik’s coffin was transferred into the bull for the ritualistic burning of the body, a purifying and liberating act that sets the soul of the deceased free to live again inside another, most likely a relative.
The Balinese attitude towards death and their belief in reincarnation is reflected in the island’s funerals, which are vibrant, lively affairs. And Djelantik’s royal send-off certainly seemed to serve as a visually appealing and poignant eulogy for a man of such high stature.