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Finding precious art amid Bali's commercial bustle

Ignored by many tourists, Ubud's Temple of Painting is a treasure trove

Detail of a scene from the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic, drawn by the late Indonesian artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. (Photo by Stephen Grenville) 

UBUD, Indonesia -- Nestled in the folds of Bali's volcanic landscape, high enough to escape the cloying humidity of the coastline, the village of Ubud provides the perfect setting to absorb the island's magical cosmic vibe. Beyond its luxury villas and five-star resorts, Ubud is known as the cultural hub of this majority-Hindu island. But you cannot experience the "real" Ubud while stretched out in a hotel spa or sipping a cocktail beside the pool.

To sample the town's extraordinary artistic history, start at the Art Market in the commercial heart of Ubud, which was featured in the 2010 hit film "Eat, Pray, Love." Here you can choose from a vast array of mass-produced paintings, countless Bintang Beer T-shirts, rows of phallic woodcarvings and a treasure trove of handcrafted silver trinkets.

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