Astro Photography (Milkyway) di Hari Raya Nyepi (Day of Silence) di Bali

Soon, Hindus around the world will celebrate their religious holiday, Nyepi Day, which marks the transition of the Saka year.

The celebration of Nyepi Day in Bali is quite different from how it’s celebrated in India. In India, it’s marked with grand festivities and numerous festivals. However, in Bali, Nyepi is observed through contemplation. Nyepi Day in Bali is accompanied by several restrictions, such as “ameti geni” (not lighting electronic devices or fires), “ameti karya” (not engaging in activities), “ameti lelungan” (not traveling), and “ameti lelanguan” (not indulging in entertainment).

Nyepi, which always falls during the new moon phase, aligns perfectly with my hobby of astrophotography, specifically capturing photos of the Milky Way. Why is it so supportive? Because during Nyepi in Bali, due to the prohibition of using fire or electricity, there is minimal light pollution from flames or lamps. This eliminates the need for me to travel far just to find a location with minimal light pollution during the new moon phase. As I’ve mentioned in my previous articles, to capture photos of the Milky Way, I have to wait for the new moon phase when light pollution decreases significantly because of the low moonlight.

Ever since I took up photography as a hobby, I’ve eagerly awaited Nyepi every year. Before 2020, I used to leave Bali for Nyepi Day. However, since then, I’ve celebrated Nyepi in Bali twice, and each time I’ve had a unique experience.

During the 2020 Nyepi celebration on March 25th, I decided to stay at home and take photos in my backyard. My movement was restricted to my yard, and I couldn’t leave my house premises. I took Milky Way photos for a short time, until 11:10 PM. I stopped because I suddenly got goosebumps from my feet to my neck, and being alone at that time made me decide to stop. The Milky Way photos I captured on Nyepi Day were widely shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

In 2021, I stayed at La Camera Bali, a modern-style accommodation located in the Kerobokan area of Bali. I chose to stay there because La Camera Bali has rooms on the 3rd floor, and the surrounding area is relatively empty, not crowded with tall buildings. This made it ideal for capturing Milky Way photos. Another reason was that the rooms on the 3rd floor had spacious balconies, which made it convenient for me to move around while taking photos.

As I mentioned earlier, every Nyepi brings a different experience for me. During that Nyepi, I actually saw a round object falling from the sky, surrounded by a light resembling the color of flames. On Nyepi in 2021, I continued taking photos until 4:30 AM, starting from 8 PM.