Taman Ayun temple is Hidhu temple
Death and the cremation rites are important to the Balinese
Balinese dance do special temple ceremony
Volcano Mount Agung and Lake Batur Bali

About Bali Island

Bali Island is a thousand of gods, a thousand temples, and a thousand dances. Some others see the island as perhaps the last frontier, waiting to be discovered, for its beauty, its culture, and its way of life. Others arrive here and under go an experience, one that will etch a life-long impact and draw them back to its shores, again and again.

Ask around and you are almost sure to get the reply, “Come to Bali for its culture, its beauty”. That seems to be the subtle message that the people themselves convey about their fables island. It’s a message from the heart, for the Balinese are truly proud of the splendors of their island.

Visitors soon realize that Bali is no longer a frontier waiting to be discovered; instead it needs to be re-discovered, over and over again. Bali is situated approximately on latitude 8 degrees South and longitude 115 degrees east, and together with the nearby island of Lombok, are the most westerly of the Little Sunda Islands. They are part of the nearly 13,700 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago.

The island of Bali remains fiercely attractive to the visitor. They come here in search of character; their own perhaps! More significantly the journey to Bali should be undertaken to seek an understanding of a way of life that is truly unique. This journey cannot be undertaken in a short, jet-hop span, rather you soon realize that you could spend a lifetime in Bali and still feel there is more to be seen, heard and understood.

No matter how often you watch a barong performance, or the kecak, or hear the gamelan, each time you are there, something deep inside you reminds you that it’s a new happening, a re-discovery.

There are several other dances that could excite you.

There is the gambuh – a classical form of dance-drama, the topeng, which is traditional masked dance, the Baris or the warrior’s dance, legong, the Dance of the Heavenly Nymphs, the kebyar which is a flashy modern dance and the Shanghyang Dedari, the ritual trance dance.

To first time visitors, who have been fed on leaflets and travel brochures, Bali appears as a holiday retreat, of beautiful beaches, a place in the sun. It can even be mistaken for a land on a perpetual holiday. But Bali is more than that.

Taman Ayun temple is Hidhu temple

One goes to Bali for experience, a journey of a lifetime, to come face with a remarkable people, their customs and traditions, their beliefs, their hopes and their eternal search for peace. You never seem to have enough of Bali. There is a yearning to “see” more. You feel the mysticism and get drawn in, like a magnet, forever attached to its people, to its beauty. It’s the beginning of your search for the true meaning of the balance of the cosmic forces.

You are spell-bound by the dainty movements of the dancers, stunned by the roughness of the demons; you follow closely the trail of the spirits, wondering what other creature will appear of the scene. You wait, almost with bated breath for the final conquest. And when the performance is over, you feel you want more.

Prayer is central in the life of a Balinese, as it is important to keep all the forces in a balanced state. Every object, be it a mask, atone, even fire, has a spirit. There are mystical forces at work that can be molded for the benefit of mankind. To the Balinese such forces, both good and bad, emanate from one source.

The Balinese are Hindus. They practice a blend of that religion that was originally brought by Indian kingdoms of old. However Hinduism in Bali is quite unlike that in India. Over the centuries, the Balinese have incorporated elements of their indigenous beliefs and practices, with traces of Javanese influences as well. There are also strong elements of Buddhism in the island, and which perhaps like no place on earth has blended and intertwined perfectly.

Death and the cremation rites are important to the Balinese

One goes to Bali for experience, a journey of a lifetime, to come face with a remarkable people, their customs and traditions, their beliefs, their hopes and their eternal search for peace. You never seem to have enough of Bali. There is a yearning to “see” more. You feel the mysticism and get drawn in, like a magnet, forever attached to its people, to its beauty. It’s the beginning of your search for the true meaning of the balance of the cosmic forces.

You are spell-bound by the dainty movements of the dancers, stunned by the roughness of the demons; you follow closely the trail of the spirits, wondering what other creature will appear of the scene. You wait, almost with bated breath for the final conquest. And when the performance is over, you feel you want more.

Prayer is central in the life of a Balinese, as it is important to keep all the forces in a balanced state. Every object, be it a mask, atone, even fire, has a spirit. There are mystical forces at work that can be molded for the benefit of mankind. To the Balinese such forces, both good and bad, emanate from one source.

The Balinese are Hindus. They practice a blend of that religion that was originally brought by Indian kingdoms of old. However Hinduism in Bali is quite unlike that in India. Over the centuries, the Balinese have incorporated elements of their indigenous beliefs and practices, with traces of Javanese influences as well. There are also strong elements of Buddhism in the island, and which perhaps like no place on earth has blended and intertwined perfectly.

Of course there are those who practice other religions as well on the island. One has to be reminded that Indonesia is the largest Moslem nation in the world, while in this island; the majority of the populations are Hindus. It is this Balinese Hinduism that dominates all aspects of life here. Death and the cremation rites are important to the Balinese. Cremation is not a sad occasion; rather it is one of joy, as the person now has the opportunity to reach the higher realm. The cremation ceremonies draw huge crowds and many foreigners as well these days.

Bali is whatever you want it to be. A tourist haven, with splendid beaches, a friendly people, a warm climate, cool mountain air, a slow pace. You get told stories of old; you find new meaning in the simple things of life. You can hike up trails, watch the birds, visit temples, and buy your gifts. You can fill your own treasure troves with the memories, with recollections of your own enlightenment when you stood and faced the mountains and gazed at the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Bali is also about color, sound, smell and texture. The people churn out a bewildering array of garments, which thankfully remain at non-inflated prices. Little wonder why this remains a buyer’s haven.There is music as well here. With music, naturally there is dance.

And in Bali, the dances repertoire is seemingly endless.

The music and dances vary from village to village in form and contents as well. It may surprise you to learn that many ways the people of Bali truly are individuals, for what is practiced in one village is quite unknown to the person from the next. Yet, within this diversity, there is unison in action, in thought and in common beliefs, hopes, and aspirations.

Welcome then to Bali, perhaps the last place on this earth that still conjures images of mystique, of beauty, of peace and goodwill and way of life that is unique in this modern day and age. Here you get a deep sense of satisfaction.

It’s an environment; it could possibly even be the hospitality that envelops you. You are bewildered by the hues of color, sound and natural beauty. Bali, the last frontier, where the search for the true meaning of life can begin.

Volcano Mount Agung and Lake Batur Bali

Geography

Bali Island is located 3.2 km (2.0 mi) east of Java, and is about 8 degrees south of the equator. The Bali Strait divides Bali and Java. The island is about 153 km (95 mi) wide from east to west and extends about 112 km (70 mi) north to south; administratively it occupies 5,780 km2 (2,230 sq mi) or 5,577 km2 (2,153 sq mi) without the district of Nusa Penida; its population density is about 750 people/km2 (1,900 people/sq mi).

The central mountains of Bali have several peaks at an altitude of over 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) and active volcanoes such as Mount Batur. The highest is Mount Agung, known as the “mother mountain” (3,031 m, 9,944 ft), which is an active volcano ranked as one of the most likely places in the world for a major eruption over the next 100 years. Mount Agung began to erupt in late 2017 and large numbers of people were evacuated, shutting the airport of the island temporarily. The mountains extend from the middle to the eastern side, with the easternmost peak being Mount Agung.

The volcanic nature of Bali has led to its exceptional fertility and its high mountain ranges provide the high rainfall that the highly productive agriculture sector supports. A big, steadily descending region is south of the mountains where most of the large rice crop of Bali is grown. The northern side of the mountains slopes more steeply to the sea and, along with rice, vegetables and cattle, is the largest coffee-producing area of the island. The longest river, the Ayung River, is roughly 75 km long (47 mi).

There are coral reefs surrounding the island. While those in the north and west have black sand, beaches in the south appear to have white sand. Bali has no big waterways, but tiny sampan boats can navigate the Ho River. Black sand beaches are being developed for tourism between Pasut and Klatingdukuh, but they are not yet used for major tourism, apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot.

The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, on the southern coast. Its population is around 491,500 (2002). (2002). The second largest city in Bali is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, situated on the north coast and home to about 100,000 inhabitants. Other important towns include the beach resort, Kuta, which is basically part of the urban area of Denpasar, and the cultural center of the island is Ubud, located north of Denpasar.

In the immediate south-east, three small islands lie and all are administratively part of Bali’s Klungkung regency: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The Badung Strait divides these islands from Bali.

To the east, Bali is separated from Lombok by the Lombok Strait and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan realm and Australasia’s distinctly different fauna. The Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first suggested a transition zone between these two major biomes, is known as the transition. During the Pleistocene ice age, when sea levels fell, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep waters of the Lombok Strait continued to isolate Lombok Island and the archipelago of Lesser Sunda.

Climate

Being just 8 degrees south of the equator, all year round, Bali has a reasonably even climate. With a humidity level of about 85 percent, the average year-round temperature is about 30 Β°C (86 Β°F).

Daytime temperatures range from 20 to 33 Β°C (68 to 91 Β°F) at low elevations, but with increasing elevations, temperatures decrease significantly.

From approximately October to April, the western monsoon is in effect, and this can bring significant rain, especially from December to March. Relatively fewer visitors are seen in Bali during the rainy season. The weather is very volatile during the Easter and Christmas holidays. Humidity is relatively poor outside of the monsoon season and any rain is unlikely in lowland areas.

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