Tag Archives: travel


House of Virgin Mary

House of Virgin Mary
Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her house exterior.

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her house exterior.

The House of the Virgin (Meryemana in Turkish), located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk, is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. The peaceful site is sacred to both Catholics  and Muslims, (Muslims also believe in the virgin birth and honor Mary as the mother of the Prophet Jesus and given the emphasis placed on the Virgin Mary in the Qur’an.) and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims.

Catholic tradition associates Mary with Ephesus because at the time of his death, Jesus put Mary in the care of John, who then spent many years spreading Christianity in this region. 

The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano  after her death, Following the book’s publication, ruins of a house were discovered at the present site and declared to be the house where Mary had lived the final years of her life. Known as the Panaya Kapula (‘Doorway to the Virgin’), the site has been a much venerated pilgrimage destination since the late 1880

The shrine itself is not extensively large, but may rather be described as a modest chapel. Upon entrance to the chapel, a pilgrim is met by one single large room where an altar along with a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is prominently displayed in the center. The small, T-shaped stone building consists of a bedroom on the right side — traditionally associated with the actual room where the Virgin Mary is believed to have slept, and a kitchen (on the left). The interior is kept simple and austere, fitted only with an altar, images of Mary and candles.

Some visitors choose to kneel in front of the alter instead. The alter has a small statue of Mary surrounded by colourful bouquets of flowers. Photography is not allowed inside the chapel.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.




The spring  is found at the exit of the church , a rather salt water, and can be drunk and is believed to have miraculous powers of healing or fertility, and many miracles have been reported. Inside the house are crutches and canes said to be left behind by those who were healed by the sacred spring.


The most amazing was the  wishing wall which pilgrims have used by tying their personal intension on thousands of scraps of paper or fabric, and photos


A liturgical ceremony is held here each year on August 15, Catholics and Muslims gather at the shrine to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.

 The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of scientifically acceptable evidence. It has, however, from the blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pop Leo XIII in 1896, taken a positive attitude towards the site. Pope Pius XII in 1951, following the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, elevated the house to the status of a holy place, a privilege later made permanent by Pope John XXIII, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI

Photo © Ephesus Guide.

Photo © Ephesus Guide.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Ngaben Ceremony

Ngaben Ceremony

Ngaben ceremony is one of the most famous Hindu-Bali’s traditional-religious ceremonies. Ngaben is the ritual performed in Bali  to send the deceased to the next life and is perform by their families and local communities. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping. No tears are shed, because the deceased is only temporarily and will reincarnate to the better life or find his final rest in Moksha , freeing from the reincarnation and death cycle (Patika Samupadha).

At  Ngaben ceremony there are two main paraphernalia (equipment ceremony), namely Bade (cremation tower) and Lembu (giant bull, cremation sarcophagus), all is made of paper and wood.  The body of  the deceased is placed inside a coffin  This coffin is placed inside a  sarcophagus.  For the royal cremation (Pelebon ceremony), there are also a Naga Banda (a mythical dragon-like creature with a long tail). The Naga Banda is reserved for only the elders of the royal family and is seldom seen in cremation ceremonies

9-tiered roof, 25 meters high Bade ( cremation tower)

Naga Banda

The climax of Ngaben is the burning of the whole structure, together with the body of the deceased. The fire is necessary to free the spirit  from the body and enable reincarnation and final rest is Moksha.

Ngaben is not immediately performed. For higher caste members it is normal to perform the ritual within 3 days. For lower caste members the deceased are buried first and later, often in a group ceremony for the whole village, cremated.

Ngaben ceremony is not just about burning the body into ash (cremation) Ngaben ceremonies is a series of processions that occur since the person passed away until after the ash of the death has been thrown away into the sea.

Ngaben ceremony is a ceremony to purify and return the element of Panca Maga Butha (five elements of the universe that form the life itself) in human body (Bhuana Alit, the micro cosmos) to the universe (Bhuana Agung, the macro-cosmos). The elements of Panca Maha Butha in the body of human are:

– Petiwi (the earth, solid matters); like the flesh, bones, and teeth.

– Apah (the water); like blood, tears, saliva, and mucus

– Teja (the light); like the aura and the light of eyes.

– bayu (the air, the wind); like breathe and energy.

-Akasa (the space); the abstract elements (the ether) in human body.

In the Hindu- Balinese religion, there is also known a fundamental concept called Tri Rna.Tri Rna means three types of debts of a human during his/her life, namely :

1. Dewa Rna : debt to creator, who created man and nature that provides all its contents to human life

2. Rsi Rna : debt to Rsi (teacher), who has spread the science for the benefit of mankind.

3. Pitra Rna : debt to parents and ancestors, who had given birth, nurture, and educate humans from the womb to adulthood.

To pay for all these three debts, the Hindu Balinese people perform various ceremonies. Ngaben ceremony is the implementation to Pitra Yadnya(ceremonies). The ceremony must be performed by the family of the death as good as possible.

Ngaben ceremony is a Hindu Bali traditional-religious ceremony which had been held since the past and still survived until now in the midst of changing times.

The Royal Cremation and Mass Cremation Ceremony, July 28, 2012

The Pelebon ceremony was  conducted by Tjokorda Putra Dharma Yudha from Puri Kemudasari, Ubud; a branch of the local royal family. While the mass Ngaben ceremony was carried out for deceased community members from 4 banjars in the Ubud Area. In this ceremony we also can see the togetherness among the Puri Ubud and the community and among community members.

The departure ceremony was from Catus Patha (Ubud main intersection). For the royal cremation, the body was carried by a 9-tiered roof, 25 meters high Bade (cremation tower) to the location of cremation at Pura Dalem Peliatan, which is about 800 meters to the east of Puri Ubud.

lembu from 4 banjars,

Mina, another form of lembu for the lower caste

Although it is a ceremony of death, but Ngaben ceremony atmosphere is always lively. Besides being a traditional-religious ceremony, Ngaben ceremony has also become one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bali.

tourist attraction

Ceremonial Conductor

the musician

the musician

Pedanda from Pura Dalem Peliatan, Ubud

The mass cremation was held after royal cremation. The remains of the bodies were carried to the location of cremation at Setra Desa Pakraman Ubud (Ubud village cemetery)

Bull from 4 Banjars

Mass Cremation

Tonina Rikin, took my photograph in the Royal ceremony wear the Bali costume.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,