The Werdhi Budaya Art Center which was started in 1973 and finished in 1976?is the largest and most complete in a series of cultural centers built throughout the archipelago by the Indonesian Government over the last decade.
Designed by Bali's foremost architect, Ida Bagus Tugur, (also the architect for Indonesia's new National Art Gallery) the vast complex is a showplace for Balinese Temple and Palace Architecture at its most opulent. The open Arda Candra stage with its towering candi gate and the almost rococo main Art Museum, a sprawling park, Balinese pavilions and follies, have become a regular architectural attraction.
Built in one of the few remaining coconut groves in central Denpasar, the center has quickly become a busy forum for the performing and fine arts. With three Art Galleries and a host of stages, the Center offers diverse cultural programs. Since 1975 the Center has been home to the island's Dance Academy (ASTI), a tertiary level Conservatorium, Dance and Drama School for traditional Balinese Performing arts. With the island's Art School situated next door, the center's seminar halls and exhibition space are devoted to the encouragement and education of local art students.
Pura Kehen is situated in Bangli, Bali's second largest temple. Three
terraced courtyards are connected by steps, and their balustrades are
decorated with carvings and statues. A large Banyan tree with a tower shades the lowest and second courtyard, while in the third courtyard several shrines for the gods and ancestors are found.
An old and famous center of the arts, it is now known for its dancing, wood panel carving and paintings.
Driving northeast from Denpasar, stone figures on the roadside mark the village of Batubulan. Divinities and demons are carved from sandstone for ornaments of houses and temples. Batubulan is acknowledged throughout Bali for its Barong Dance. Also many great furniture shops and terra-cotta pots.
Covered with virgin rain forests, Mt. Batukau dominates the entire area around Tabanan. If you want to get off the beaten track, drive up the southern slopes to the village of Jatiluwih, where you can take in the stunning views or relax in the mossy shade of Pura Luhur temple, which has served as a sanctuary since ancient times. Along the way you¹ll encounter towering trees, bubbling hot springs, fern-laden grottos and incredible serenity.
When the head and humidity finally gets to you, the place to escape to is Bedugul, Bali¹s highland retreat, tucked into the crater of an extinct volcano, 1,400 metres above sea level. Here, three lakes provide everything from recreation to the water for the springs, rivers and rice fields below. Lush pine forests seem to create a freshness in the air. Bedugul is known for the quality of its fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Bedugul is known for its excellent golf course. Located besides Lake Bratan, it is surrounded by forested hills. A beautiful sight is the "Ulun Danu" temple which seems to rise out of the lake. The area offers good-walks. Boats are available for hire. Water skiing, and parasailing is done as well.
Known as the "Mother Temple of Bali", the sanctuary of Besakih on the slopes of Mt. Agung is the biggest and holiest of all Balinese temples. Over a thousand years old, steps ascend through split gates to the main courtyard.
Surrounding the three main temples dedicated to the Trinity: Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups.
To the Balinese, a visit to the temple's sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. Each has its own anniversary celebration or "Odalan". The sight of the temple against the background of the mountain is impressive. Badly damaged in the 1963 eruption of Gunung Agung, the temple has been fully restored.
Between Gianyar city and Blahbatuh you¹ll find Bona, where you can see every variety of bamboo furniture imaginable - and at reasonable prices. Bona is also famous for its dances, especially for the fire dance, which is staged regularly for tourists.
Candi Dasa represents one of the fast-developing tourist destinations in east Bali, though it still offers an escape from the hassles of the more populated tourist areas. You¹ll find lots of hotels, losmens and restaurants here. You can also hire boats for snorkeling.
Northeast of Denpasar, the village of Celuk is noted for its silver and gold works of jewelry in various styles.
The capital city of Bali, Denpasar has many community temples called "Pura". One is the Museum called Pura Jagatnatha which is dedicated to the Supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The statue of a turtle and two dragons (prevalent in all temples) signify the foundation of the world.
The Museum offers a fine variety of prehistoric and modern art , whereas its architectural design resembles that of a palace. The government supervised "Sanggraha Kriya Asta" has a wide variety of handicraft and works of art. The "Werdi Budaya" presents an annual Arts Festival between June and July, with performances, exhibitions, art contest and so on.
Goa Gajah, dates back to the 11 Th. century and is believed to have been
built as a monastery. Carvings on the wall show a demon's head over the
entrance, flanked by two statues. The cave contains a statue of Ganesha. Excavations have uncovered a bathing place with six statues of nymphs holding waterspouts.
Nine km from Klungkung is Goa Lawah or the bat cave. The roof is covered with thousands of bats and its entrance is guarded by a temple believed to be founded by a sage nine centuries ago.
Hidden in a beautiful valley two kilometres from Tampaksiring is an ancient complex of rock-hewn temples established in the 11th century.
The view is spectacular from this small village, about 20 kilometres from Tabanan and 850 metres above sea level. Rice terraces follow the contours of the hillsides as far as the eye can see.
On the western side of the Bukit, Bali¹s southern peninsula, lies the once sleepy fishing village of Jimbaran, now the site of the many high profile hotels. Take a walk along the beach, and perhaps a sunset drink at one of the hotels, which all welcome visitors. An offshore reef offers protection from the wave action, providing excellent swimming waters. Known for its spectacular sunsets.
The villages of Kintamani and Penelokan give a view of the active Mount
Batur and it's crater lake. The caldera of Batur is impressive: 7 miles in diameter and 60 feet deep. From Penelokan, a road leads to Kedisan on the shores of the lake where boats can be hired to cross over to Trunyan. This ancient village is inhabited by "Bali Aga" or original Balinese people who have maintained many of their old ways. The Puser Jagat temple has an unusual architecture and stands under a massive Banyan tree.
The former seat of the Javanese Hindu Kingdom in Bali from where Balinese royalty draws its blood line, Klungkung was the oldest kingdom on the island and its "Raja" the most exalted. The Kerta Gosa or Royal Court of justice built in the 18th century, is specially known for its ceiling murals painted in the traditional wayang style, portraying punishment in hell and the rewards in heaven and other aspects of morality. The floating pavilion, garden and lotus ponds in this walled-in complex, located in the centre of the city are a reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.
Kuta is a thriving tourist resort, popular mainly with young people. It has a beach for surfing although currents make it less suitable for swimming. Coast guards are on constant duty during the day. Kuta faces the west offering beautiful sunsets.
Accommodation ranges from international hotels to home-stays. It is easy to find regular performances of Balinese music and dance in Kuta. The village is ideal for meeting and mixing with other people, locals as well as visitors from abroad.
Since the 1960¹s, Kuta and Legian have expanded so rapidly that the district is now one of the busiest tourist areas in the world. Hundreds of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops provide for all tastes and budgets.
West of Singaraja on Bali¹s northern coast is a beach resort spread across four adjacent villages. Lovina is for those who like still waters (no surf) and are not fussy about the colour of the beach. You may even encounter some local dolphins. Many cheap losmens and non-rated hotels are available right on the beach. Visit the Singsing waterfalls.
The village of high caste Brahman woodcarvers, many of Bali's old masters still live here. Art galleries exhibit some of their best works. Visitors can wander through the Balinese style houses to view the artists at work or instructing apprentices who work in groups.
About 72 kilometres northwest of Denpasar in West Bali, Medewi¹s waves are highly regarded by surfers.
This little island off Bali's west coast is known for its beautiful coral
reefs found nearby and the wealth of tropical fish inhabiting the waters
around it. The island itself including Terima Bay, is worth a visit because of the beautiful scenery.
Negara in West Bali is the capital of the Jembrana regency and gateway to Java. It is also home to the famous bull races, staged between July and October. The specially-bred cattle provide a fiercely contested event, the Asian version of Ben Hur. Not to be missed.
The Nusa Dua tourist resort is part of the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali. Some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels are found here. The resort is known for its clean white beaches and clear waters. The surf is gentle along the northern side of the peninsula, bigger along the south.
Just an hour away from Bali by boat, Nusa Lembongan is an idyllic escape offering beautiful coral and sand beaches, crystal clear waters and a relaxed atmosphere. It is also home to several world class surf breaks. There are many cheap bungalows available and the views of Gunung Agung and East Bali are spectacular.
Peliatan is located between Ubud and Mas. It has been known as the center of traditional music, and dances. The fine art of local woodcarvers started a new style of wood carving.
The last stand of natural forest in the lowlands of Bali abounds with monkeys. The forest is considered sacred, so no wood is allowed to be chopped here. Two temples stand in the middle of the forest and another at the edge. As they live in this sacred forest, the monkeys are also held sacred and are rather tame, but it is advisable not to play with them.
Sanur is a place of remarkable contrasts. This modern and prosperous community is home to many high class hotels and restaurants. It was also the landing point for the Dutch forces in 1906 on their way to destroy the royal house of Pamecutan in Denpasar.
Sanur beach has long been a popular recreation site for people from
Denpasar. The palm-lined beach curves from The Grand Bali Beach Hotel toward the south, facing the Indian Ocean towards the east. Sanur offers many good hotels, restaurants, shops and other tourist facilities. It is only a short distance from Denpasar. Public transportation to and from the city are easily available until well into the night. Offshore reefs protect the beach against the waves to make it popular for wind surfing, boating and other water sports.
This is home to some of the most spectacular views in Bali. Sayan is, in fact, little more than a ridge, just west of Ubud, which has been chosen by many foreigners as home, a place where the dramatic views of rice paddies sculptured into hillsides can be appreciated.
A beautiful area of Bali, with fertile soils and the ever present magical power of Gunung Agung in the background. This area suffered badly in the 1963 eruption of Gunung Agung.
In the time of the Dutch occupation, Singaraja was Bali¹s main port. Now the traffic has moved south, leaving the area in peace. Clean, quiet and culturally distinctive, Singaraja still retains a colonial feel to its streetscape. Singaraja also houses the historical lontar library, Gedong Kertya.
The Tabanan region offers a wide range of landscapes, from volcanic mountains to rich rice plains. This is the rice bowl of Bali, with higher yields of rice than anywhere else. From the deserted, black sand beaches to the tropical rain forests, Tabanan is an area rich with visual offerings. Visit the 17th century royal palace in nearby Krambitan to capture the rich past of royal Balinese life. Just head up into the hills for breathtaking views of southern Bali.
This commercial Bird Park is located in Singapardu and contains many rare species of birds inside enclosures.
The temple of Pura Tirta Empul is built around the sacred spring at
Tampaksiring. Over 1000 years old, the temple and its two bathing places have been used by the people for good health and prosperity because of the spring water's curative powers. Specialties of the area are bone and ivory carvings, and seashell ornaments.
One of Bali's most important sea temples, Tanah Lot is built a top a huge rock which is surrounded by the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruder.
Tanah Lot is most popular in the late afternoon when the temple is in silhouette at sunset.
The most important institutions in Bali, temples reflect the important role religion plays in the life of the Balinese. On holy days, when the deities and ancestral spirits descend from heaven to visit earth, the temples become centers of activity.
Temple festivals are guided by purification of the sprinkling of holy water. Whole communities take part in these festivals, bringing baskets of food and flowers for offerings.
This is the site of a beautiful water palace, built by the last king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut, in 1947. Much of the structure of the palace was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963, however the famous bathing pools remain intact. This is a place of great peace, and an excellent stopover when touring east Bali. There¹s a losmen in the palace grounds and you can eat well here.
Protected for centuries from the outside world by its surrounding walls, the village of Tenganan has maintained its ancient pre-Hindu customs through a strong code of non-fraternization with outsiders. Here unique rituals offering dances and gladiator-like battles between youths take place. Tenganan is famous for its "double ikat" woven material called gringseng, which is supposed to protect the wearer by magic powers.
One of Lake Batur¹s villages, Trunyan is inaccessible except by boat. At the lakeside village you¹ll be met by a greeting party of locals wanting money. The Trunyan people are "Bali Aga", a part of the original inhabitants of Bali. Hidden away here is the largest statue in Bali, the Pura Gede Pancering Jagat. Cremation is not practiced in Trunyan, the dead are simply placed against a sacred tree by the lake, which stops the decomposing body from smelling.
Located on a higher altitude with a pleasant climate, some 25 kilometres north of Denpasar, Ubud has become known worldwide as a centre and haven for the arts. Ubud's Museum's "Puri Lukisan", "Neka Museum", Rudana museum and the amazing ARMA display a permanent collection of Balinese art dating from the turn of the century. There are also several art galleries and homes of famous artists here, including that of Dutch-born Hans Snel and the American Antonio Blanco. The "young artist" style now popular in Balinese painting was introduced by the Dutch painter Arie Smit. In the past, other foreign painters inspired Balinese artists to adopt western techniques but traditional Balinese paintings are still made and sold.
With a spectacular setting among lush rice paddies and the stunning hillsides of central Bali, Ubud offers a special atmosphere. Here you¹ll find wonderful palaces and temples, museums, dozens of shops and excellent restaurants. There are nightly performances of traditional dances. Accommodation ranges from cheap to very exclusive and expensive.
The famous landmark on Bali¹s southern peninsula, the Bukit, is Uluwatu temple, a classic expression of ancient Bali in a spectacular setting, high above the crashing waves. This is one of the oldest and most important temples in Bali, one of the six original ³sad Kahyangan² (territorial) temples on the island. Uluwatu has, in recent years, become equally known as the site of a renowned surf break which offers real challenges (experienced surfers only) in the water, and spectacular views form the warungs (local restaurants) perched on the cliff.
A little further east on the coastal road is Yeh Saneh, an idyllic spot few people know of. Only a few meters from the splash of the surf is a cool freshwater spring, around which has been built a large pool and gardens for bathers and picnickers.
Fine paintings, hand carved wooden statues and screens, silver work,
hand-woven and painted cottons and silks, batiks, embroidery and garments for casual wear, leather and cotton bags, bone carvings, shell ornaments, masks, pottery, ceramics, basketry, sandstone statues, bamboo furniture are all available.