Friday, July 1, 2016

Discovering Subak in Bali

This was actually my second trip to Bali, hence while planning for places to visit, I purposely skip Ubud area, since I have been there before.  Surprisingly, those attractions we visited in this trip all does not require to wear a sarong! Hence its quite relaxing and comfortable trip.

We rented a car with driver from Sabatani Ways.   We were charged 450K IDR for 10 hrs use.  Reasonable price, as compared to those published rate in the Tourist brochures we had from Denpasar Airport.

After breakfast, we proceed to North of Bali - Beratan Lake, Bedugul town.

The road to Beratan took us 2 hrs in a fairly smooth traffic on a Sunday morning.  The entrance fee to Pura Ulun Danu was 30K Idr for tourists.  My little vocabulary in Bahasa Indonesia did not pass to local ears.

We had lunch in their Ulun Danu Restaurant (costing 96K per head on their buffet meal).  Menu was not great for the price.  Only positive side is you can view the lake while having the lunch.

A banyan tree is overshadowing the entrance of the temple compound.

An iconic image of Bali, depicted on the 50,000Rp note, is this important Hindu-Buddhist temple founded in the 17th century. 

It is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of the waters, and is built on small islands. Pilgrimages and ceremonies are held here to ensure that there is a supply of water for farmers all over Bali as part of the Unesco-recognised subak system. The tableau includes classical Hindu thatch-roofed meru (multi-tiered shrines) reflected in the water and silhouetted against the often cloudy mountain backdrop.

The temple complex is located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. Water temples serve the entire region in the outflow area; downstream there are many smaller water temples that are specific to each irrigation association.

In this place, the visitor can do various activities like doing recreation to look around in dock or do the other outdoor activities. The various water recreation activities can also be conducted here, for example riding the boat motorize to circle the lake, parasailing, canoeing with the traditional boat, banana boating, water skiing, and others.

It was quite dry season and therefore the water level of the lake was low and the temple was not surrounded by water. It was still a pretty stunning sight. More than anything it is a sacred place and we could feel it was very energizing.

The Buddhist stupa,

Towards the end of strolling the park, a light rain shower fell, hence we had to stop in a covered area, before we went back to vehicle and proceed to next stop.

The cultural landscape of Bali consists of five rice terraces and their water temples that cover 19,500 ha. The temples are the focus of a cooperative water management system of canals, that dates back to the 9th century.

One of the well known rice terrace in Bali is Jatiluwih. 

Water from springs and canals flows through the temples and out onto the rice paddy fields.  Water temples (like the one we visited earlier) are the focus of a cooperative management of water resource by a group of subaks . 

Since the 11th century the water temple networks have managed the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. They provide a unique response to the challenge of supporting a dense population on a rugged volcanic island.

It was a learning experience during the trip, and was impress to see the very clear spring water for irrigation.  

"The authenticity of the terraced landscapes, forests, water management structures, temples and shrines in terms of the way they convey Outstanding Universal Value and reflect the subak system is clear." - This is why this entire island is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site

Some technology use for the rice terrace.

Riding down the mountains, we have time to see Tanah Lot for an ideal sunset view, however the weather was still raining, hence we decided to drive back to Kuta area, for dinner. 

The evening was spent at Jimbaran for a seafood dinner by the Jimbaran beach.

This ends our first day in Bali, read the next post for our 2nd day tour to Eastern Bali.

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