Galungan

Balinese people commemorate Galungan, the victory day of goodness (dharma) against evil (adharma).

The history of Galungan refers to the legend of Mayadenawa. It is said that once upon a time, there was a powerful king, Mayadenawa, who reigned in Balingkang, about a few kilometers north of Batur Lake, Kintamani, Bangli. He also ruled such areas as Makasar, Sumbawa, Bugis, Lombok, and Blambangan.

Mayadenawa was a descendant of daitya (powerful giant), son of Goddess Danu. Because of his magical power, Mayadenawa was able to transform himself into various shapes of creatures.

Because of his supernatural power, Mayadenawa became arrogantly evil. He forbad Balinese people to worship God and destroyed all the shrines and temples. The plants were destroyed. Food shortages and diseases occurred. People were suffered but they did not have the courage to fight against Mayadenawa because of his magical power.

Mpu Kulputih, a powerful Hindu priest, was concerned upon the suffering. He then meditated at Besakih Temple to ask for God’s guidance. In his meditation, he received revelation from God Mahadewa that he should go to Jambu Dwipa (India) and ask for help.

It was not clear about who went to India, but afterward it was said that a platoon of troop from heaven with complete weapons came to attack Mayadenawa. The troop was led by God Indra. The right wing of the platoon was led by Citrasena and Citraganda. The left wing was led by Jayantaka while Gandarwa led the main platoon.

God Indra sent Bhagawan Narada to spy Mayadenawa Kingdom, but Mayadenawa has found out about this. Therefore, he prepared his troop to face the attack.

A dreadful war broke up that caused many victims from both sides. Since God Indra’s troop was much stronger, Mayadenawa's troops ran off and left Mayadenawa and his assistant, Si Kala Wong.

The battle had to be stopped, because the night has come. When God Indra’s troop were still asleep, Mayadenawa came and created ‘tirtha cetik’ (poisonous water) nearby. He then ran away by walking his angled feet sideways in order not to leave any footprints on the ground. The area passed by Mayadenawa is later known as ‘Tampaksiring’ which literally means angled footsteps.

The toxic water poisoned God Indra’s troop. God Indra then created another spring to cure his troop, called Tirta Empul (spring). The holy spring flew to form a river which is called Tukad Pakerisan (Pakerisan River).

God Indra’s troop then chased Mayadenawa who transformed himself into several creatures. The area where Mayadenawa transformed into ‘manuk raya’ (big bird) is called Manukaya village. The area where he turned into ‘buah timbul’ (a kind of vegetable) is later known as Timbul village. The place where he transformed into ‘busung’ (young coconut leaf) is called Busung village while a place where he turned into a goddess (dewata) is known as Kedewatan village.

Lastly, Mayadenawa transformed himself into a huge rock. God Indra shot him to dead with an arrow. His blood flew and formed a river called Tukad Petanu (Petanu River). It is believed that the river was cursed. If it was used to water the rice field, blood would come out of the paddies and the paddies would smell. This curse will last in 1000 years.

The death of Mayadenawa was later celebrated as the victory of goodness (dharma) against evil (adharma). This triumph day is commemorated every six months (210 days) of Balinese almanac and is called Galungan. It is called Galungan, possibly because it is occurred on wuku Galungan (based on Balinese almanac).