Bali at a Glance
It is 5623 sqm fertile mountainous island, terraced
rice-field dominates the landscape, with small streams
bring water for irrigation. Bali boasts a tropical climate
with just two seasons (wet and dry) a year and an average
annual temperature of around 28 degree celcius. The
majority of Bali's 3 millions people live, for the most
part, in tight village communities with large extended
families. Bali has many roads which criss-cross the
island, connecting villages and cities in Bali which
has many tourist beach resorts as well as village and
Bali's culture, unique arts of music and dances, quality
products in some forms of painting, weaving, carving,
plaiting / basketry etc, colorful ceremonies almost
daily in some different temples, gentle and friendly
people practice their unique way of life, Interesting
places for sightseeing from simple to special interest,
adventure activities, endless shopping as well as scenic
beauty make an Island becomes the most favorite places
to visit. Those are good for holiday makers, sports
and leisure, business meetings, incentives, conventions
and exhibitions in recommended hotels, convention center
from the most simple to theme of extravagance.
Balinese culture is based on its unique form of Hinduism
called "Hindu Bali" which it retained
after the Islamisation of Java and developed through
the centuries. The Balinese have managed to preserve
their culture despite of overwhelming foreign influence
brought by increasing number of visitors to Bali. Villagers
spend their free time in these arts, music and dancing
which is taught from a very young age. The soul of Balinese
is their religion and it finds its expression in the
arts. Spare the time to visit the Island as the only
way to feel the experience as above.
Culture, People and Religion
Life in Bali is very communal with the organization
of villages, farming and even the creative arts being
decided by the community. Some aspects of Balinese life
are placed in the hands of two traditional committees,
such as "subak", concerns the production
of rice and organizes the complex irrigation system.
This is for everyone who owns a rice padi field, must
join their local subak, to ensure that every member
gets his fair distribution of irrigation water.
The second community organization is the "Banjar"
which arranges all village festivals, marriage ceremonies
and cremations. Most villages have at least one banjar
and all males have to join one when they marry.
The Balinese are Hindu and the religion is different
from that of the Indian variety. The Balinese worship
the Hindu trinity Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, who are
seen as manifestations of the Supreme God. Balinese
believe strongly in magic and the power of spirits,
and much of their religion is based upon this.
Daily offerings is a significant role in Balinese life
as they appease the spirits and thus bring prosperity
and good health to the family. Festivals are another
great occasion for appeasing the Gods. There are traditional
dances and music of Balinese gamelan in the festivities.
Reme these are serious occasions and should be treated
as such. Religious guidlines :
1. Always wear a sarong and sash.
2. Do not walk in front of people praying.
3. Do not use flash camera or push your camera
into the priest's face!
4. Never sit higher than priest or the offerings
5. At cremation, do not get in the way of the
attendees - however important that photographic opprtunity
6. Women are not allowed to enter temples during
Art & Artists
For centuries, Balinese artists and craftsmen worked
in a natural capacity for absorbing different cultural
elements and blending them with their own. The artists
themselves never signed their work and usually lived
close together in artist's villages. However with the
arrival of European artists at the start of this century,
this soon began to change. The local artists started
developing their own individual styles of Painting
on different villages.
For those who love Stone Carving, Bali's modern-day
centre of stone carving is the village of Batubulan,
situated halfway between the towns of Denpasar and Ubud.
Stone carving were mainly used to decorate temples and
palaces, however in this modern time, it used to decorate
Balinese compound and its gates, villas and boutique
resort to make the outlook more luxury.
Another art of Wood Carving has traditionally
featured largely in temple and palace architecture,
such as on pillars, door panels, window shutters with
the aim of protecting the buildings from evil intruders.
Bali textile has the rich variety of Cloth
and Materials that are to be seen in thousand
of shops throughout the island. Batik clothes and sarongs
available everywhere and mainly imported from Java.
Bali has also its own Balinese traditional clothes.
The beautiful "songket" gold and
silver threads are woven into the cloth to create complex
motifs of birds, flowers, butterflies etc. "Endek"
cloth is also another method used in Bali, it is good
for sarong and top dress.
Dance and Drama
Dance and drama have historically played an important
role in Balinese society. Through this medium, people
learned about the tales of the Ramayana, Mahabarata
and other epic stories form Balinese history. Some brief
descriptions of well-known dance-dramas that can be
seen at regular performances, throughout Bali.
- Barong Dance (Barong and Rangda)
It is a story about the struggle between good and
evil. Good is personified by the Barong Keket, a strange,
fun loving creature in the shape of a shaggy semi-lion.
Evil is represented by Rangda, a witch.
- Baris Dance
This is a warrior’s dance. It is usually performed
by men, either solo or in a group of six or more.
- Kecak Dance
The Kecak dance originated from the Sanghyang dance
choirs, who chant a distinctive "kechak-khecak"
accompaniment. Story in this dance is derived from
- Legong Dance
It is a very classical and graceful dance, and is
always performed by prepubescent girls, often as young
as eight or nine years old.
- Sanghyang Trance Dance
Sanghyang Dedari is performed by 2 girls and these
girls are supposedly untrained and can keep their
eyes are firmly shut. Sanghyang Jaran, a boy dances
around and through a fire, riding a coconut palm hobbyhorse.
This is frequently called the Fire Dance.
In both dances, a priest is always on hand to help
bring the dancers out of their trance-state at the
end of the performance.
Arja and Drama Gong
A performance of Arja, Balinese folk opera, can
hold an entire village engrossed from late evening
until nearly sun-rise. Love stories drawn from the
classics of the ancient king-doms of Java are reenacted
with all of the tragicomic and ro-mantics ingridients
guaranteed to appeal. The royal characters move
in a slow stylised dance and sing and talk in a
high fal-setto using high Balinese which is translated
into the common language and which is much more
easily understood by the audience. Drama Gong is
a development of Arja that is pre-formed by actors
and a musical group without dance and has recently
become very popular in the community.
The epic story of Rama and Sita, often performed
as a mixture of traditional dance and modern motifs
of comedy. The monkeys enjoy artistic liberty and
the unforgettable character Hanuman, the white monkey
general regularly enthralls audiences.
A white screen, a flame, music, and traditional
puppets....conjuring a magical and hypnotic performance.
Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet)
Wayang Kulit is one of the great story-telling
traditions of the Javanese and Balinese. The Wayang
show normally consists of a small 4-pieces orchestra,
which provides the musical accompaniment, around
60' puppets' carved out of flat of pieces of water
buffalo hide and Dalang, or Puppet master.
Good characters normally speak in ancient 'Kawi'
and evil or coarse characters speak Balinese.
Arjuna Wiwaha Ballet
Arjuna is one of the principal characters in the
Hindu epic of the Mahabrata. The Arjuna Wiwaha Ballet
describes the nobility and heroism of Arjuna. It
is a tribute to his strength of character and devotion
to the God Indra. The Ballet opens with the meditation
of Arjuna, who is seeking the blessing of God Indra
to test his perseverance and spiritual strength.
The God puts him through many trials and send beautiful
nymphs to break his concentration, but they fail.
He then sends the giant Momosimuka to disturb his
prayers, but the giant is defeated by Arjuna. Finally,
God Shiwa, disguised as a hunter tries to lure Arjuna
from his meditation. He too in unsuccessful and
Arjuna is accepted by God Indra who give him the
arrow of immortality and asks him to guard heaven
from the evil giant monster. In the mean while Dewi
Supraba, the most dazzling of all the nymphs has
discovered that the monster's strength lies in its
tongue. While the giant is busy mocking Arjuna,
he shoots it in the tongue with his arrow and saves
heaven from destruction. Before he departs, he takes
the lovely Dewi Supraba as his wife.