Text: © Garry Benson 2014
Images: © Garry Benson 2014
Cooking fires mix with the dawn light in Candi Dasa, a coastal village on the east Bali coast. Most sources say a fishing village was founded on the site by the 12th century and before the modern name of Candi Dasa was adopted it was known as both Teluk Kehen (‘Bay of Fire’) and Cilidasa.
There is a temple near the lagoon, with a statue of the fertility goddess Hariti surrounded by a group of children or ‘cilidasa’ which translates from Balinese as ‘ten children’, so many Balinese who want to have children go on pilgrimage to this place.
Another staue has the Balinese version of Posiedon, to protect the local fishers.
Balinese fishing boats, ‘jukung’, are colorful wooden outriggers with ‘arms’ on either side for stability. These single-masted sailboats have triangular sails made of heavy, colorful plastic, each with a different patterned sail, making it easy to identify individual boats.
Hulls are hollowed-out trees, deep and extremely narrow, just wide enough to seat one slim person. Arms are constructed from bamboo and wood then slashed together with ropes.
The modern name is thought to be a corruption of this older name. The town began to catch on as a tourist destination in the 1970s, since there is good snorkelling and diving in the area and the town provides easy access to other destinations in eastern Bali.