Dressed in traditional Balinese dress, my friend Leko and I made our way to cleanse and pray at the temple. We had a small bowl of flowers – a mix of frangipani, hibiscus, cempaka, and what looked like geranium and several sticks of incense as our offering.

Along with other families who are also there to pray, we slowly made our way into the temple. After a few minutes, a big, open-aired courtyard with old frangipani trees wrapped in fabric and adorned with white and yellow umbrellas welcomed us. There were a number of shrines inside, each with carved stone statues of Indonesian gods. The tables in front of these shrines were overflowing with offerings like ours, some even have small banana leaf trays with flowers and a little food. These offerings are all handmade with the intention of getting blessed by the gods.

Leko sat cross-legged and I knelt down on my knees to pray. We lit the incense and placed it in front of us along with the bowl of flowers we brought.

The pemanku (the priest) spoke and we placed our hands through the smoke of the incense to cleanse them. We then gently placed our hands on top of each other at chest height and said the first mantra.

Om sudamah swaho.

We changed hands, the left now on top of the right.

Om mati sudamah swaho.

Then we placed a petal gently between our fingers and it held it to our chest.

Om pertiwi talo to sudamah swaho.

A leaf from the flower was placed behind our ears and the rest was discarded.

After the cleansing ritual, the prayers started. We cleansed our hands again and took three of the flowers that we brought. We held them between our fingers and in a prayer position, brought it to our forehead. The pemangku rang his bell to signify the beginning of prayer. I closed my eyes and prayed. After a while the pemangku stopped. We cleansed our hands, placed a flower behind our ear, grabbed more flowers, and started again. When the mantras stopped again, we repeated the same process – cleansed our hands, flowers tucked behind our ears, grabbed more flowers – until the pemangku rang the bell to signal the end of prayer.

We placed the final petal behind our ears and waited for the holy water from the pemangku, a form of blessing. With the final flowers placed in my hands, I closed my eyes and thought of my last prayer.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.

The final mantra is all around me. Peace of mind, peace in speech and peace in body. The prayers were over.