A young Buddhist monk moves into his wooden hut perched on a cliff, where he believes God visited centuries ago in a pre-Vedic rite. Bamboo sticks covered in ochre and sand are arranged to make three nails — the symbol of enlightenment.
As monks come out of the campsites, they draw the three nails, each representing a region in Indonesia, and “throw it away,” says Chandran. “And they make a new one.”
Sculptor Sawawi Nyan Jurbydawin, 58, whose work makes its way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, says the ritual tells the story of his childhood of celebrating holidays and symbols for his mother’s health, one item per month.
During the Indonesian summer, kids go hiking at these bases to find rocks, creating new riddles and symbols — and new paintings. As they do, street vendors dump the “children’s” paint into the campers’ rucksacks.
See Chandran’s yearlong trip below and scroll down for more from the Intrepid Travel blog.