Nyepi is the Hindu celebration of the New Year — and one of the most sacred days in the Balinese religious calendar. A day dedicated to complete silence, the lights are turned low, movement is minimal, and self-reflection reigns supreme.
Also known as the Day of Silence, Nyepi is devoted to meditation and introspection and is ushered in by traditional parades in a blaze of vibrant colour and noise. On the eve of Nyepi, Ogoh-Ogohs — monstrous effigies that represent evil spirits and corrupting influences — are carried through towns and villages in a lively procession, before being burnt as a symbol of purification. As the final cinders dissolve into ash, Nyepi begins at dawn the next day. Bali falls into meditative repose, traffic grinds to a halt and silence blankets the island. This is especially powerful in the evening, when the stars come up, and Bali feels like the place that time forgot.
The history of Nyepi stretches back nearly two thousand years, to the foundation of the Saka Hindu dynasty by King Kanishka of India in 78 AD. Hindu Brahmins brought the tradition to Bali. The silence is regarded as cleansing, warding off any final traces of the evil spirits. You can experience this unique cultural event at COMO Shambhala Estate, COMO Uma Ubud, or COMO Uma Canggu — joining the traditional ‘ogoh-ogoh’ procession of effigies on Nyepi Eve.
Embrace the sound of silence
This year in 2023, Nyepi falls on 22nd March. While all activities are prohibited on the day itself, you can design your holiday around the island-wide event, by deepening its effects — and the power of quiet — with guided meditation and more. Just you and nature. No tech. No work. No interruptions. The spirit of Nyepi, of self-reflection, enjoyed beyond the festival itself.
Just a few steps from the Ayung River that winds through COMO Shambhala Estate is an ancient spring, locally believed to be holy. A purification ceremony at The Source is led by a local priest who follows Balinese traditions with chanting, offerings and a ritual cleansing. With the blessing, the spirit is said to be cleansed. A beautiful way to start your holiday — and a journey of self-reflection enhanced with complimentary daily yoga and guided meditation.
A dawn ascent of Mount Batur, Bali’s second-highest mountain, is a powerful way to get away from the daily grind. As the sun rises over the caldera lake, the water flickers with the flames of a new day. A simple breakfast, cooked over volcanic steam, and a soothing dip in a natural hot spring complete the sense of a fresh start, filled with simple intentions. Just you and the sky above, where silence prevails.
Just as Botticelli knew when he painted Venus de Milo, the sea offers a sense of renewal that’s hard to top. At COMO Uma Canggu, there are breaks to suit every surfer, from beginner to expert level. With the option of instruction from TropicSurf, surfing is a great way to reconnect with nature. In the water, there’s no space for anything but the present — rippling waves, soft currents and the exhilaration of an untamed element. A rare moment to hear your own breath.