BALI, INDONESIA, March 28, 2017 (CNBC): Nyepi, a Hindu celebration primarily celebrated in the Indonesian island of Bali calls for a day of silence on March 28 and is marked as time for self-reflection. The ritual mandates the absence of work, entertainment and travel, which makes for a 24-hour period during which no flights are allowed in or out, electricity use is limited and cars are prohibited on the streets. Even television provider, Indovision ceases broadcasting for the day. Hotel guests on the island are confined to their property and special arrangements have to be made for a limited staff to keep the hotels operating.
Many travel agencies and tour operators discourage bookings this time of year because of the disruption. There's a segment of tourists, however, that actually views the day as a unique part of the culture not to be missed. "It's one of the many elements that actually makes Bali an even more unique tourist spot, which holds special meaning to visitors as well as residents," Dendy Kurniawan, AirAsia Group CEO for Indonesia told CNBC. "It is how culture and religious practice have been preserved through times, whilst blended perfectly with the touch of modern world."
"It's fascinating that an island of 4.5 million people can shut down for 24 hours," Marian Carroll, director of public relations at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay told CNBC, adding that it should be on every visitor's bucket list. "It takes a huge amount of coordination and discipline. Only the Balinese could pull it off!"
TIRUPATI, INDIA, March 28, 2017 (Hindustan Times): In April 2012, on the auspicious Sri Rama Navami day, the hundi had received the biggest single day cash offerings of US$883,600. The offering box at the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara here on Tuesday netted cash offerings to the tune of $732,500 in new notes, the highest single day collections post demonetisation.
"Since the announcement of demonetisation scheme, everyday the hundi (offering box) had collected between $385,500 and 462,600, besides offerings in gold and silver, from thousands of devotees across the country, who are undeterred by demonetisation," temple sources told PTI.
The collection surprised the temple staff when they emptied the seven-foot-high hundi for counting as a single offering of over $154,000 was found in a bag along with other cash and precious kind offerings, the sources said.
Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practice even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action.
-- Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886),
MUMBAI, INDIA, March 23, 2017 (Television Post): On 27 March at 9 pm, National Geographic will air a documentary "Inside Tirumala Tirupati" to give viewers a 360-degree view of the temple Tirumala Tirupati. The temple, which is an example of Dravidian architecture which dates back to the 7th century, draws around 60,000 to 80,000 devotees a day. The devotees visiting the temple come back with a blissful spiritual experience, they don't manage to get an in-depth view of the temple. This is about to change with the documentary.
The broadcaster said that watching the documentary will make people feel that they are experiencing an actual visit to the temple, and will also reveal incredible new aspects of the temple even for those who have visited it previously. This one-hour special National Geographic documentary will give viewers an in-depth access to the massive scale of operations, the technology used at various stages, the processes and the people who manage the mind-boggling number of devotees visiting this iconic temple.
The documentary will incorporate elaborate graphics that explain the temple layout in detail, re-creating the sacred inner parts of the temple, where not only cameras, but even people are usually not allowed in. Fox Networks Group creative director, India Productions Shruti Takulia said, "Inside Tirumala Tirupati is National Geographic's newest India production that delivers on our promise to bring relevant and impactful stories with a high level of editorial credibility and unprecedented access to our viewers."
Those who cannot live in harmony with the world, though they have learned many things, are still ignorant.
-- Tirukural 140