Thursday, December 6, 2007

Island of gods has red carpet out for Indians

Bali: Wherever an Indian goes in this island of the gods, the first question is: "Are you a Hindu? I am." From taxi drivers to tour guides to policemen, the question in this crowded little island of 2.5 million people does not vary.

Over 90 percent of the population is Hindu, and you see signs of that everywhere. Every few steps on the pavement, there is a small leaf-plate, with a few flowers and an incense stick in a corner. It is an offering to the family deity, the locals tell you, and you have to watch your step.

Sounds of worship float out of every neighbourhood temple in the evenings - the gongs, the small drums and the singing where you can pick out a few words of Sanskrit here and there if you listen carefully.

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