Starting in 100 BC, Hindus from India started coming to Indonesia, mostly Java and Bali, and mixing with the local peoples. The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on Eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. The Majapahit empire collapsed slightly before 1500, due to Muslim assaults,

AP Photo from http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2002/10/20021015_a_main.asp

The bombing of a nightclub in 2002 by Islamic fundamentalists left more than 200 dead. Hindus make up 93 percent of the Bali's population, but they are only 2 percent of the Indonesian population.

causing an exodus to Bali. Bali culture is a mix of Indonesian and Indian, in both ancestry and religion. The caste system is based on India’s, but is much simpler as they have only four castes. In recent decades, the caste system has lost much of its influence.

Balinese Hinduism (Agama Hindu Dharma) is unlike that found in India. Only two of the Vedas reached Bali in the past, and they are the basis of Balinese Hinduism. Living in the world’s largest Muslim country, Balinese have lived relatively peacefully with their Muslim neighbors, but a notable exception is the bombing of a Bali nightclub in 2002 by Islamic militants, killing more than 200 people.

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