The Guardian of Ubud Region, Ida Ratu Gede Amerika

Ida Ratu Gede Amerika, originally a Celuluk mask, transformed into a revered mystical figure in Ubud, Bali, after being gifted to a foreign tourist and returning to Bali following a series of mystical experiences. She "resides" within the mask, safeguarding Ubud, and plays a significant role in local ceremonies, reflecting Bali's spirituality and reverence for the local environment.

Sep 8, 2023 - 22:47
Sep 12, 2023 - 21:56
The Guardian of Ubud Region, Ida Ratu Gede Amerika
Ida Ratu Gede Amerika (Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara)

If you are going on vacation to Bali, especially in the Ubud area, what can you expect to find there? Most people dream of wandering around while enjoying the arts produced by the people of Ubud, Bali. While Ubud is renowned for its art and foreign tourists, does it have a spiritual side like other areas of Bali? The answer is, yes, it certainly does.

Ida Ratu Gede Amerika, that's what people call Ida, is the most respected figure in Ubud. It is said that Ida Ratu Gede Amerika, or Ida Ratu Gede Manik, is a mystical protector of the Ubud region. Ida often appears at major ceremonies held in Ubud wearing a unique Celuluk mask. But what makes Ida special in the eyes of the Balinese people, especially those in Ubud?

Ida Ratu Gede Amerika Mesolah (Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara)

Ida Ratu Gede Amerika Mesolah (Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara)

One could say that Ida Ratu Gede Amerika is a "unique" figure because, if you look at its history, it all started with just a Celuluk mask given as a gift. Yes, you read that correctly, it all began with a gift.

Around the 1980s, Ida Ratu Gede Amerika was just a Celuluk mask owned by a Jro Mangku from the village of Sanur. This mask was then gifted to a foreign tourist named Carrel as a souvenir because Carrel had conducted a traditional Balinese wedding ceremony, and coincidentally, the Jro Mangku was the officiant who had completed Carrel's wedding ceremony.

After receiving the gift from the Jro Mangku, Carrel left Bali. Carrel took the Celuluk mask given to him along with him. Here's where the mystical events began. Every night, Carrel was "disturbed" by the Celuluk mask. It was said that the Celuluk mask would roam around Carrel's house at night, repeatedly opening and closing its mouth. This didn't happen just once but many times. Carrel also frequently moved to different countries, always carrying this mask with him. And every night, he would have mystical experiences because of this mask. Carrel's final place of residence was in the United States, and at that point, he decided to return the mask to its place of origin, Bali.

In short, the mask was accepted by the owners of Puri Saren Kauh in Ubud, Bali. The same thing happened to the people living in the palace. The Celuluk mask would often roam around the palace at night, opening and closing its mouth. The palace residents decided to consult with a spiritual medium, a person with supernatural abilities, to inquire about the matter.

After consulting with the spiritual medium, it was revealed that the Celuluk mask was "inhabited" by a mystical being. Why would a mystical being reside in the mask? It was also said that the mask was made from pule wood. Might sound ordinary? However, the pule wood used to make this Celuluk mask came from a place that was considered haunted, and this is believed to be the reason why the mask was "inhabited." The mystical being was none other than Ida Ratu Gede Amerika herself.

Why did Ida seem to "bother" Carrel? Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Ida simply wanted to return to her homeland, Bali. Ida also desired to be cared for, and in return, she would protect and watch over the Ubud region.

Because of this story, Ida Ratu Gede Amerika, or Ida Ratu Gede Manik, became the most respected figure in the Ubud region of Bali. This is evidenced by Ida's frequent presence in various major ceremonies that take place in Ubud, including Melancaran, Piodalan Ageng, and many more.

This is quite different from other mystical stories in Bali, which usually revolve around creatures that have inhabited a place for a long time, even since the time of the kingdoms. Bali's people believe that we all coexist in this world without limits of place and time. When we treat nature well, nature will respond with kindness as well.

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