one of the approximately 14.000 islands that comprise the Indonesian
archipelago, is part of the republic of Indonesia. The island lies about 8
degrees south of the equator an measures only 140 km by 80 km (5.620 km²).
anchors east of Java, separated by the small Strait of Bali, and is surrounded
by the Java Sea on the north, the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Strait of
Lombok on the east. A string of volcanic mountains crown the
northern part of Bali, with Gunung Agung (Mount Divine) as the tallest (3.104
1990, the population of Bali is 2.778.000 people; 93.18% are Hindus, with
a density of 500 persons per sq km. The national language is Bahasia
the fable "Island of the Gods", has been enchanting visitors for
centuries with its rich cultural traditions and spectacular panoramas. It is one
of the world's favorite holiday destinations. From lofty, misty volcanoes and
cool mountain lakes down through terraced rice fields to a golden strand lapped
by azure waters, every square inch of Bali offers a fresh and unforgettable
image. There you can visit magnificent temples, ancient remains and traditional
villages and meet some of the world's most culturally rich and fascinating
The island's view
is continually being formed by volcanic action. A violent eruption of Mt.
Agung (3.142 m before the eruption; 3.104 m now) in 1963 showered the mountain's
upper slopes with ash and debris that slid off as mud flows, killing thousands
of people. Mt Batur (1.717 m) to the west is also active, with greater frequency
but less violence.
important to the agricultural life of Bali, especially for rice crop, are the
rivers of Ayung, Unda, Sungsang, Balian, Yeh Sumi, Petanu, and Saban who carry
the water from the highland to the seas. There are four major lakes: Lake Batur
at the crater of Mount Batur, Lake Buyan, Lake Bratan, and Lake Temblingan.
enjoys tropical weather, being only a few degrees south of the equator. It means
that the sun rises at 6 AM in the morning and sets at 6 PM in the afternoon,
every day of the year.
has a short, hot wet season and a longer, cooler dry season. The mountains are
wet year round, averaging 2.500 to 3.000 mm of rain annually, with warm days and
cool nights. The lowlands are hotter and drier, but fresh and persistent winds
make the climate less oppressive here then elsewhere in the equatorial zone.
The wet season lasts from November to March, this is also the hottest time of
year (30-31°C by day, 24-25°C at night). Though here are seven or eight hours
of sunshine a day, at the peak of the wet season you will only see about a
half-hour to an hour serious downpour in the afternoon, The dry season is from
April to October with nine or ten hours of sunshine daily and temperatures from
28-29°C by day and an average of 24°C at night. The rest of the time:
nice, warm temperature, especially with a twist of sea breeze on the beaches.
climate endows Bali with a number of unique vegetation, including waringin trees
(banyan), salak Bali, and a multitude of flowers from a very fragrant cempaka (Michelia
champaca) to literally thousand kinds of orchids. Its fauna is equally rich.
Bali is the native land to the Bali Tiger, which is almost extinct; Bali cattle,
graceful animals not like other cows; bats that haunt caves like the Bat Cave
near Kusamba; sea turtles of Nusa Dua; Jalak Bali or Bali Sterling that has
inspired countless number of painters and artists. The most holy of trees, the
banyan, grows to a massive size, and may have hundreds of creepers hanging from
its branches. They grow in many of the lowland rainforests, and are a feature of
economy is one of the most vivacious in Indonesia, fueled by constant flow of
tourism dollars and supported by agricultural production and trade revenues.
Balinese people are gifted artists, producing garment, and arts & crafts
that are exported. In addition to gorgeous nature and enchanting people and
culture, Bali is also endowed with fertile land.
primary export products are garments, handicrafts, and agricultural products
such as fish, coffee, tuna, seaweed, and vanilla. The arable land of South Bali
and a sophisticated irrigation mechanism arranged through the Water Temple
system give Bali and its people two full crops of rice year after year. Corn and
other horticulture are also planted.
land is also an excellent grazing pasture for Balinese cattle's, water
buffaloes, goats, sheep and horses. Pigs are also raised and consumed a lot in
Bali, and chickens and ducks are raised by the farmers in their land. The rain
forests in Bali produce cayuput oil, rattan, and incense, which is used
ubiquitously in Balinese ceremony. There is about 8,535.05 ha of productive
forest area. The Balinese are not too eager to explore the sea, because they
believe that it is the place of evil spirits. However, tuna, baramundi, seaweed,
and shrimp are quite abundant in the seas surrounding Bali. Balinese have about
841.37 ha of water fishery area.
been promoted by the Dutch during the colonialization period, Balinese tourism
is the most advanced in Indonesia. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Bali's
tourism is the fact that the Balinese people retain its own cultural identity,
despite the exposure and intermingling of all kinds of people and culture from
all over the world.
Bali is a religion which owes its origins to India, but which has developed
independently from its forebear. Hindu Bali celebrates its rituals in a highly
dramatized form, which can be witnessed by visitors in the form of dance and
performance at traditional festivals, and at secular performances.
Dharma is held by almost 95% of the population. Its teaching is to reach peace
and harmony of life guided by the wedas as Holy Scriptures. Hindu Dharma is a
special blend of Hinduism, Budhism and ancestor worship that has been
flourishing over centuries. They believe in One supreme God called Ida Sanghyang
Widhi manifests himself to the Balinese in three main forms: Brahma the Creator,
Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. This three-in-one embodiment is
called the Trisakti, the Holy Trinity. The average Balinese does not utter
prayers or make offerings directly to Sanghyang Widhi. Not one of the
island's temples, altars, or shrines is dedicated to him. Instead,
three-seated temple pedestals enshrine the Trisakti. Before a ceremony temple
guardians will decorate the pedestal with bright wraps of colored cloth: red for
Brahma, white for Shiva, black for Vishnu. These three powerfully symbolic
colors predominate in all religious processions.
the hierarchy of the divine, below Sanghyang Widhi and the Trisakti, is a
multitude of manifestations named and classified in great detail. These
protective spirits are closely related to nature. God in his power to create the
wind is Dewa Bayu, to create rice he is Dewi Sri, to create the ocean Dewa
Baruna. God's gender is indicated by Dewa (male) and Dewi (female).
society is founded on the Hindu caste system, although in a somewhat simpler
form than that practiced in India. In Bali, there are four castes; Sundras, the
peasants who comprise over 90% of the population, Wesias, the warrior caste,
which also includes traders and some nobility, Satrias, the caste of kings, and
Pedanas, the holy men and priests (brahman). The caste of a person is
indicated by their title; Ida Bagus for brahman, Anak Agung or Dewa for Satrias,
and I Gusti for Wesias. Karma law prevents people from doing bad deeds because
such thing will result in negative effect to the doer. While belief in Moska
suggests positive attitude that eventually everybody or every soul, after series
of reincarnation will be able to join the origin, the God head.
Hindus are not obliged to study sacred texts, follow any set doctrine or
scripture, practice celibacy or adhere to a puritan lifestyle. There are no
prescribed prayers, no fixed moments of devotion. The worshipper need only
perform daily offerings and participate actively in village and temple events.
Ngedjot are placed in the courtyards of every house; these offerings consist of
little squares of banana leaves holding a few grains of rice, a flower, salt,
and a pinch of chili pepper. No one eats until ngedjot are placed at the
cardinal points in the family courtyard and in front of each house. Though mangy
dogs eat the offerings as soon as they touch the ground, their essence has
already been consumed by the spirits. Every morning this quiet drama is carried
out all over Bali, from inexpensive losmen courtyards to the lobbies of
the grandest and most lavish hotels. Spectacular, colorful geboganor
banten tegeh are enormous towers of up to three meters, embellished with glass,
paintings, roast ducks or chickens, suckling pigs, pig entrails, garlands of
white 'cempaka', and fragrant yellow jepun blossoms. They're carried on the
heads of women to the temple, blessed by the pemangku and sprinkled with holy
water. Since the high Brahmanic teachings are a mystery to most of the Balinese
population, the emphasis has always been on frequent and visibly dramatic
ceremonies and rituals rather than theology, on behavior and service rather than
the fine points of belief.
Temples are everywhere, especially in the mountains, where the Hindu Gods sought refuge from the Islamic invaders of Java. Inseparable from the religious rituals of the Balinese are the temples. The word for temple in Balinese is Pura, which comes from a Sanskrit word that literally translates into a place surrounded by walls. Just like cathedrals in Europe, temples are the most ubiquitous architecture in Bali. Every house has its own little shrine, usually a dedication to their ancestors. The rice field has a little shrine dedicated to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. Each village usually has three temples. For the entire island, the Mother Temple of Besakih, situated on the slope of Mount Agung, is the most important of all temples.
the Balinese, temples and their various structures are not worshipped. Temples
are meant to be pleasant resting place for the gods on their stay on the island.
As such, entertaining the gods or appeasing the goddesses or most of religious
rituals through endless festivals will take place in the three village temples:
A Balinese Pura typically
consists of walls surrounding two or three courtyards. The huge, elaborately
carved entrance gate is usually a split gate, known also as Candi Bentar. Candi
Bentar is usually guarded on both sides by statues of temple guards. Sculptured
figures can be found in various locations in a temple. The
outer courtyard is separated from the inner courtyard by another wall, and the
entrance is a covered gateway called Padu Raksa. The walls surrounding the
courtyards are usually heavily decorated with bas-reliefs, depicting stories
that can range from traditional Mahabrata mythology or as simple as daily events
of a Balinese. In the middle of the inner court, usually imposingly stands a
waringin or frangipani tree. Inside each courtyard you will find several