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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Crematorium Service Gaining Wider Acceptance Among the Balinese

(7/19/2013) The Jakarta Post reports how the Santha Yana Crematorium in Peguyangan Kangin, Denpasar has managed to overcome initial neighborhood and Bali religious resistance and gain grudging acceptance for their relatively inexpensive means of disposing of the dead.

Since its opening in 2009, Santha Yana has cremated more than 300 people, mostly Balinese, who have availed themselves of a streamlined and relatively inexpensive cremation ceremony conducted in accordance with Bali Hindu precepts.

Depending on caste, rank and financial capabilities, a traditional cremation (ngaben) ceremony can start from an estimate Rp. 30 million (US$3,000) to hundreds of millions of Rupiahs. Meanwhile, Santha Yana charges only Rp. 12 million (US$1,200) that covers transportation services, offerings, cremation and disposal of the cremains into the ocean.

Inexpensive cremation ceremonies for foreigners are also available at Rp. 16 million (US$1,600).

Established by an ancient Balinese clan grouping, Santha Yana serves all regardless of origin, caste, clan or economic standing. Santha Yana is operated by the clan association - Maha Gotra Pasek Sanak Sapta Rsi (MGPSSR).

Motivating the Clan to create the crematorium were the increasing number of clashes between neighboring banjars in Bali over burial rights and village shared obligations to ritually dispose of the dead. Bali’s rapid urbanization has also created a situation in which people have lost contact with their traditional villages who would normally accept the responsibility of disposing of the dead. Poverty has also made the cost of even a simple traditional village cremation beyond the economic reach of many.

Still a fairly basic crematorium, when funds are available the MGPSSR would like to install a modern crematorium able to process cremations more efficiently and with less smoke.