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There's a Kind of Hush

Bali Hotels Told to Not Go Overboard in Promoting 'Nyepi' Packages.

(2/21/2011) It has become something a tradition among Balinese hotels to promote special Nyepi Packages to help address occupancy downturns during the Bali-Hindi day of absolute silence. Many local residents have found taking refuge in a luxury hotel where all facilities remain in operation a ready solution to staying in the private residences where local community police (pacalang) ensure no lights are illuminated, no sounds are emerging residences and no one dare venture forth during the 24 hours period. Through a tacit understanding between the local Hindu community and hoteliers, hotels are exempted from strict enforcement of the rules providing guests understand they are not to leave the hotel's premises for any reason.

The chairman of the Hindu High Counsel of Bali (PHDI-Bali), IGN Sudiana is urging hoteliers in Bali to undertake a low-key approach to promoting their "Nyepi Packages" and avoid offering special entertainments and activities during the day of silence.

Speaking to the Bali Post, Sudiana remarked how Bali hotels are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they market their "Nyepi Packages" with many expanding the package to three-days, including ogoh-ogoh traditional parade experiences on the night before Nyepi, and organizing special entertainment and games on the hotel grounds during the 24 hours of silence. These promotions are proving effective in luring visitors to Bali, persuading local non-Hindu residents to escape to a local hotel and even, in some instances, attracting Balinese Hindus to take advantage of Nyepi in a hotel.

Sudiana has no fundamental objection with hotels promoting "Nyepi Packages" providing they do so within bounds that do not offend the sensibilities of the island's majority Hindu population. Moreover, he feels that through proper socialization, guests at hotels will be happy to observe the day of silence, choosing to dim or turn off lights and maintain a degree of quietude throughout the 24-hour period.

Sudiana said he hoped that local hotels would not accommodate Balinese Hindus seeking to avoid their Nyepi religious obligations through at a hotel. When a Balinese Hindu is for some reason compelled to stay in a hotel during this 24-hour period of silence he or she should follow the Brata Penyepian dogmas of silence and non-activity.

Sounding a similar note, the chairman of Commission I of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), Made Arjaya, said hotels should use the Nyepi period to share the true meaning of the sacred day and not indulge in creating packages offering added facilities and entertainments while the rest of the island just outside the hotel is in a state of quiet reflection.