Mourning with royal family

Tomorrow, Hindu high priests will fire an arrow into the heart of an ornate dragon to free the soul of Tjokorda Istri Niyang Muter, who died in June aged 96. Muter was the twin sister of the late Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati, Ubud's last rajah and the island's great arts patron.

Watched by a expected crowd of more than 50,000, the funeral procession will then move from the Ubud royal compound to a burial ground, where the body will be cremated atop a nine-tiered wooden burial tower or bade. Overhead electricity and phone lines have been cut in Ubud to allow the 25-metre tower, decorated with funeral masks and carvings of nine mythical beasts, to move through the town.
WoodenAs well as the royal cremation, a slightly less ornate bade has been erected to carry the body of another royal family member. More than 50 smaller towers have been built to cremate the bodies of commoners on the same day.