Russian tourist Luiza Kosykh, 40, had uploaded photos on her Instagram of her posing next to the kayu putih (weeping paperbark) sacred tree at Bali’s Tabanan temple. Hindus in Bali consider the 700-year-old tree sacred.
Ni Luh Djelantik, who described herself as an entrepreneur, also posted the photos on social media on 11 April and criticised the tourist.
“To all foreigner(s) who disrespect our land, Bali is our home, not yours!” she wrote in her Instagram post that collected more than 17,000 likes.
“Do you think you’ll look cool taking naked picture(s) on our holy trees? Go back to your country if you can’t respect our tradition and culture,” she wrote.
She also tagged the Russian woman who described herself as a “spiritual lover, energy giver and healer” on Instagram. Her social media page on the platform, however, seems to have been deleted.
On 12 April, Indonesian authorities reportedly arrested Ms Kosykh.
Nengah Sukadana, an official from Bali’s legal and human rights agency, said on Monday that the Russian citizen had left Denpasar, Bali, and took a flight to Moscow a day earlier.
Some local news reports, however, said Ms Kosykh insisted the photoshoot was from a few years ago and she did not know the tree was considered sacred.
“Not all tourists know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in Bali. So we urge locals to pay close attention to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” local legal and human rights agency official Anggiat Napitupulu told a press conference on Sunday.
This is the second time in nearly a year that a tourist has been accused of disrespecting the sacred tree.
Russian Instagram influencer Alina Fazleeva took naked photos beside the tree in May last year.
Ms Djelantik had reported the star and her husband to the Balinese authorities.
Ms Fazleeva had quickly deleted the offending photo and followed it up with an apology video and a photo of her praying under the same tree with a caption in the Bahasa language.
“I apologise to all Balinese and Indonesian people, I regret my actions,” she said in a follow-up post.
In a separate incident, a Canadian man was thrown out of Bali by the authorities last year after a video showing him performing a nude dance on sacred Mount Batur had gone viral. The man reportedly performed a naked haka-style dance atop the mountain.
In March this year, a man was deported for taking off his pants on the sacred Mount Agung.
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