The Bali Agung show at the Bali Safari & Marine Park (BSMP) was performed for the 1,000th time on June 17. Ever since it was introduced three years ago, the show has received kudos for being a compelling theatrical performance. The show is one of BSMP’s main attractions. The show features animals from the zoo and hundreds of performers. Bali Agung currently has 210 dancers and 30 musicians who perform six days a week, with Monday as the no-show day. Bali Agung was created through collaboration between I Made Sidia, noted Balinese puppeteers and Peter Wilson from Australia. Together, they came up with the story of King Sri Jaya Pangus, a 12th-century Balinese king. Sri Jaya Pangus was the king of Panarajon, one of Bali’s ancient kingdoms, who ruled the Kintamani region. During his reign, Chinese explorers and traders frequently visited the island. Jaya Pangus fell in love with a Chinese woman named Kang Ching Wie, whom he married despite being advised against doing so by his spiritual counselor, who predicted that marrying her would lead to disaster. After years of marriage, the couple remained childless. In his sadness, Jaya Pangus decided to seek solitude and embarked on journey across the water, leaving his wife behind. After a storm at sea wrecked his boat, the king became stranded on an island. This is where he met Dewi Danu, the Balinese goddess of the lake, who seduced him. They married and ended up having a child. Ching Wie fretted over the absence of news regarding her husband's whereabouts and set off across the sea to find him. Ching Wie found her husband, after having first met his offspring, who was wearing an amulet that she gave to Jaya Pangus. A battle ensued and Jaya Pangus and Ching Wie fought to overcome a barrage of attacks and natural disasters caused by Dewi Danu, who eventually turned the royal couple into statues. Although the story has some mythical elements in it, Jaya Pangus was an actual king. There are a number of temples where traces of his story can be found: Ulun Danu Batur Temple, Puncak Penulisan Temple and Balingkang Temple. Members of the cast of Bali Agung commemorated their 1,000th performance by visiting and praying at the three temples in the morning before the show. They gathered at BSMP, left early at 3 a.m. and finished the tour just before the afternoon. They were left with a relatively short time to rest before they had to go on stage for their milestone performance at 2:30 p.m. “We visited these temples to express our gratitude for the success of Bali Agung,” said Made Sidia to The Jakarta Post Travel. Even though the pilgrimage is an annual routine for the cast of the show, the milestone achievement that they are celebrating this year made it a special occasion. The three temples are located within the area of the mountainous Kintamani region. Having started the journey early to the high-altitude destination, the Bali Agung cast arrived at Ulun Danu Batur Temple to a chilling temperature. Ulun Danu Batur is one of the important temples in Bali, after the Besakih mother temple. The temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, one of the main characters in the Bali Agung story. The second stop was the Puncak Penulisan Temple, home to Jaya Pangus before he married Ching Wie. This temple is located at the top of an incline, requiring quite a long climb up the stairs leading to it. The last temple visited was Balingkang Temple, deep in the forest of the Kintamani region. The road to this temple is steep and narrow, requiring visitors to ride on trucks instead of in big buses. At the site is what is believed to be an altar of Jaya Pangus. Considering the cold temperature, the 333 steps, the arduous road journey and the tight schedule on that day, we had to laud the spirit of the Bali Agung performers. They traveled with high excitement and solemnly prayed at each of the three temples. Made Sidia said they were grateful for the success of Bali Agung because it had improved their lives; they can afford a better life, and the young ones are able to continue their higher education. Made Sidia also explained why they chose the Jaya Pangus story for their play, aside from its Balinese origin. Some of the reasons are the fact that Jaya Pangus embraced the idea of multiculturalism when he opened trade with the Chinese and he was also known to be a generous king who paid attention to his people’s needs. Bali Agung is supported by state-of-the-art technology in a 1,200-seat theater. The audience gallery overlooks the large stage and its hundreds of performers. The stage setting creates a lively depiction of King Sri Jaya Pangus.