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Bali Denpasar Information

Bali Denpasar information, geography, history and places of interest about Balinese cultural, tradition, nature, temples, sightseeing and historal places.

The capital of the Bali Province is Denpasar. Penida Island and Lembongan Island are included in this province. About three million people reside in the small island of Bali. Bali is also called “The Island of the Gods” and “The Island of Thousands Temples.” Bali has many beautiful beaches, such as Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Lovina. Bali is also very famous with its traditional dances, gamelan music, crafts, paintings, woodcarvings, and ceremonies, especially the temple and cremation ceremonies (Ngaben). Every single Hindu-Balinese, from birth to death, undergoes various rituals. It is a mandatory custom for the Balinese children, especially girls, to learn dancing since they are very young. Bali is an Indonesian island located at 8°25′23″S, 115°14′55″E Coordinates:8°25′23″S, 115°14′55″E, the western most of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island. The island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia’s small Hindu minority. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.

History
Bali has been inhabited since early prehistoric times firstly by descendants of a prehistoric race who migrated through mainland Asia to the Indonesian archipelago, thought to have first settled in Bali around 3000 BC. Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island’s west. Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, and particularly Sanskrit, culture, in a process beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong charter issued by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 913 AD and mentioning Wali dwipa. It was during this time that the complex irrigation system subak was developed to grow rice. Some religious and cultural traditions still in existence today can be traced back to this period. The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343.When the empire declined, there was an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali in the 15th century.

The First European contact with Bali is thought to have been when Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived in 1597,though a Portuguese ship had foundered off the Bukit Peninsula as early as 1585.Dutch rule over Bali came later, was more aggressively fought for, and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.

In the 1840s,a presence in Bali was established, first in the island’s north, by playing various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults first against the Sanur region and then Denpasar.The Balinese were hopelessly overwhelmed in number and armament, but rather than face the humiliation of surrender, they mounted a final defensive but suicidal assault, or puputan.Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 4,000 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. Afterwards the Dutch governors were able to exercise little influence over the island and local control over religion and culture generally remained intact.

Japan occupied Bali during World War II during which time a Balinese military officer, I Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese ‘freedom army’. Following Japan’s Pacific surrender in August 1945,the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia, including Bali, immediately to reinstate their pre-war colonial administration. This was resisted by the Balinese rebels now using Japanese weapons.

On 20 November 1946,the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai,29 years old, finally rallied his forces in east Bali at Marga Rana, where they made a suicide attack on the heavily armed Dutch. The Balinese battalion was entirely wiped out, breaking the last thread of Balinese military resistance. In 1946 the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly-proclaimed Republic of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia which was proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta. Bali was included in the “Republic of the United States of Indonesia” when the Netherlands recognized Indonesian independence on Dec. 29, 1949. In 1950 Bali officially renounced the Dutch union and legally became a province within the Republic of Indonesia. The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia.

In 1965, after a failed coup d’etat in Jakarta against the national government of Indonesia, Bali, along with other regions of Indonesia most notably Java, was the scene of widespread killings of (often falsely-accused) members and sympathizers of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) by right-wing General Suharto-sponsored militias. Possibly more than 100,000 Balinese were killed although the exact numbers are unknown to date and the events remain legally undisclosed. Many unmarked but well known mass graves of victims are located around the island. On October 12, 2002, a car bomb attack in the tourist resort of Kuta killed 202 people, largely foreign tourists and injured a further 209. Further bombings occurred three years later in Kuta and nearby Jimbaran Bay.

Geography
Topography of the island
Bali lies 3.2 km east of Java and approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km wide and 112 km north to south (95 by 69 miles, respectively), with a surface area of 5,632 km².The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963.Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active. About 30,000 years ago it experienced a catastrophic eruption — one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth. In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The principal cities are the northern port of Singaraja, the former colonial capital of Bali, and the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. The town of Ubud (north of Denpasar), with its art market, museums and galleries, is arguably the cultural center of Bali.

There are major coastal roads and roads that cross the island mainly north-south. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island’s center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines. The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both: the main beach and the secret beach have white sand and the south beach and the blue lagoon have much darker sand. Pasut Beach, near Ho River and Pura Segara, is a quiet beach 14 km southwest of Tabanan. The Ho River is navigable by small sampan. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, this is not yet a tourist area.

To the east, the Lombok Strait that separates Bali from Lombok marks the biogeographically division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia that is known as the Wallace Line, for Alfred Russel Wallace, who first remarked upon the distinction between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.

Economy
Three decades ago, the Balinese economy was largely agriculture based both in terms of output and employment. Tourism is now the largest single industry and Bali is as a result one of Indonesia’s wealthiest regions. The economy, however, has suffered significantly as a result of the terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005.

Although in terms of output, tourism is the economy’s largest industry, agriculture is still the island’s biggest employer, most notably rice cultivation. Crops grown in smaller amounts include fruit, vegetables and other cash and subsistence corps. significant number of Balinese are also fishermen. Bali is also famous for its artisans who produce batik and ikat cloth and clothing, wooden carvings, stone carvings and silverware.

Although significant tourism exists in the north, centre and east of the island, the tourist industry is overwhelmingly focused in the south. The main tourist locations are the town of Kuta (with its beach), and its outer suburbs (which were once independent townships) of Legian and Seminyak, Sanur, Jimbaran, Ubud, and the newer development of Nusa Dua. The Ngurah Rai International Airport is located near Jimbaran, on the isthmus joining the southernmost part of the island to the main part of the island. Another increasingly important source of income for Bali is what is called “Congress Tourism” from the frequent international conferences held on the island, especially after the terrorist bombings of 2002; ostensibly to resurrect Bali’s damaged tourism industry as well as its tarnished image.

Demographics
The population of Bali is 3,151,000 (as of 2005).

Religion
Unlike most of Muslim-majority Indonesia, about 93.18% of Bali’s population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, formed as a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia and South Asia. Minority religions include Islam (4.79%),Christianity (1.38%), and Buddhism (0.64%).These official statistical figures do not include immigrants from other parts of Indonesia.

Immigrants from other parts of Indonesia have drastically changed the demographics in Bali. Although the majority of the population of Bali adheres to Balinese Hinduism, recent years have brought an influx of people from other islands seeking to benefit from the tourist industry, export of local handicrafts and other factors, making Bali the most affluent island in the region. The bombings in Bali by Muslim militants and the numbers of wealthy Muslims from Jakarta with political connections buying prime real estate for development has started to create Hindu-Muslim tensions where none existed before.

Language
Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and like most Indonesians, the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally determined by the Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but this tradition is diminishing. English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the large tourism industry. Staff working in Bali’s tourist centers are often, by necessity, multilingual to some degree, speaking as many as 8 or 9 different languages to an often surprising level of competence.

Culture
Bali is famous for many forms of art, including painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts and performing arts. Balinese gamelan music is highly developed and varied. The dances portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong and kecak (the monkey dance). National education programs, mass media and tourism continue to change Balinese culture. Immigration from other parts of Indonesia, especially Java, is changing the ethnic composition of Bali’s population.

The Hindu new year,Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of silence. On this day everyone stays at home and tourists are encouraged to remain in their hotels. On the preceding day large, colorful sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters are paraded and finally burned in the evening to drive away evil spirits. Other festivals throughout the year are specified by the Balinese pawukon calendrical system.

Kertha Wisesa
The Grand Master of Kertha Wisesa began his journey in 1972 traveling to the mountain areas around the mother temple district teaching the art and philosophy of traditional Silat Bali. Today, across the entire island one organization stands out as being ubiquitous in every district and every village. It is called Kertha Wisesa and teaches the traditional Martial Art of Silat Bali. Each day between 5pm and 6pm you will see children and adults dressed in traditional black uniform gathering to practice traditional Silat.This tradition differs from the more modern sport version of Silat called Pencak Silat that has world and national championship competitions. It involves a deeper understanding of the religious and ceremonial world in which the Balinese people live as well as being more combat oriented.

Environment And Wildlife
Bali has around 280 species of birds, including the critically endangered Bali Starling. The only endemic mammal of the island, the Bali tiger, became extinct in the 1930s.The Bali Barat National Park is a refuge for wildlife such as the pangolin, common muntjac,chevrotain,leopard cat, black giant squirrel, macaque and leaf monkey.

bali denpasar information

Bali Denpasar Information and Places of Interest

Bali Denpasar Information
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 Hasta” has a wide variety of handicraft and works of art. The “Werdi Budaya” presents a yearly art festival between June and July, with performances, exhibitions, art contest and so on.

Art Centre
The Werdhi Budaya Art Centre was started in 1973 and finished in 1976: the largest and most complete in a series of cultural centre built throughout the archipelago by the Indonesian Government over the last decade. Designed by Bali’s foremost architect, Ida Bagus Tugur, (also architect for Indonesia,s new National Art Gallery) the vast complex is, apart from its very real cultural function, a showplace for Balinese Temple and Palace Architecture at its most opulent. The open stage Arda Candra with its towering candi gate and the almost rococo main Art Museum, sprawling park, Balinese pavilions and follies have, become a regular architectural attraction. Built on one of the few remaining coconut groves in central Denpasar, the centre has quickly become a busy forum for the performing and fine arts. With three Art Galleries and a host of stages, the Centre is only rivalled by Jakarta’s Taman Ismail Marzuki as a venue for diverse and rapidly changing cultural programs. Since 1975 the Centre has been home to the islands Dance Academy (ASTI) a tertiary level Conservatorium, Dance and Drama School for traditional Balinese Performing arts. With the islands Art Scholl situated next door, the centre’s seminar halls and exhibition space are devoted to the encouragement and education of local art students.

Temple
The most important institution in Bali, temples reflect the important role religion plays in the life of the Balinese. A temple is a place for communicating with the divine spirits through offerings and prayers. On holy days, when the deities and ancestral spirits descend from heaven to visit earth, the temples, become centres of activity. Temple festivals are guide by purification by the sprinkling of holy water. Whole communities take part in these festivals, bringing baskets of food and flowers for offerings. While pura means temple, a purl is the residence of the local prince, which may function as a cultural centre. Music, dances, food, flowers, and fruits sacrificed began as part of temple rituals to please the gods and to placate evil spirit. Following the caste system of Hindu and some of its other rites and beliefs like reincarnation, one of the greatest ceremonies are cremations, meant to liberate the souls ready for rebirth. Burial is only temporary to give the family time to prepare or waiting more to have a common cremation with the community.

Tanah Lot
One of Bali’s most important sea temples, the temple sanctuary at Tanah Lot is built atop a huge rock which is surrounded by the sea.Built by one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java in the 16th century, its rituals include the paying of homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found at the base of the rocky island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruder. The best time to see Tanah Lot is in the late afternoon when the temple is in silhouette.

Sanur
Sanur beach has long been a popular recreation site for people from Denpasar and elsewhere. The palm lined beach curves from the Bali Beach Hotel toward the south, facing the Indian Ocean to wards the east. Sanur offers many good hotels, restaurants, shops and other tourist facilities. It is only a shot distance from Denpasar public transportation to and from the city are easily available until well into night. Offshore reefs protect the beach againts the waves and make it popular for windsurfing, boating and other watersports.

Kuta
Once alonely village on the road from Denpasar toward the Bukit Peninsula, Kuta is now a thriving tourist resort, popular mainly among the young. It is a popular beach for surfing although currents make it less suitable for swimming. Coast guards, however, are on constant duty during the day. Kuta faces toward the west offering beautiful sunsets. Accommodation ranges from international hotels to home stays. The village abounds with restaurants, shops, discotheques and other tourist facilities. It is easier to find regular performances of Balinese music and dance in Kuta, staged specially for tourists, than anywhere else in Bali. Some performances are staged nightly. The village is ideal for meeting and mixing with other people, locals as well as visitors from abroad.

Nusa Dua
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. The most convenient form of transportation to and from Nusa Dua is by taxi.

Batubulan
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. Workshop can be visited to watch artists at work.

Celuk
Northeast of Denpasar, the village of Celuk is noted for its silver and gold works of jewelry in many styles.

Ubud
The centre of Balinese painting, Ubud’s Museum “Purl Lukisan” has a permanent collection of modern works 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 Dutchborn Hans Snel and American Antonio Blanco. The “Young artist” style now popular in Balinese painting was introduced by the Dutch painter Arie Smith. In the past, other foreign painters inspired Balinese artists to adopt western techniques but traditional Balinese paintings are still made and sold another museum called “Neka Museum” has a wide collection of paintings both by Indonesian as well as foreign artists who used to live in Bali. Ubud has several small hotels. Located on a higher altitude with a pleasant climate.

Peliatan
Peliatan is located between Ubud and Mast It has been known as the centre-of traditional music, and dances. The fine art of local woodcarvers started a new style of wood carving producing such things as fruits, flowers and trees in their real shapes and colorings.

Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah, dates back to the 11th century and is believed to have been built as a monastery. Carvings on the wall show a demon 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 water-spouts.

Tampak Siring
The temple of Pura Tirta Empul is built around the sacred spring at Tampak Siring. 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. Regular ceremonies are held for purification. Specialities of the area are bone and ivory carvings, and seashell ornament.

Kintamani
The villages of Kintamani and Penelokan give a view of the active Mount Batur and 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 people who call themsleves “Bali Aga” or original Balinese who have maintained many of their old ways. The Puser Jagat temple has an unusual architecture and stands under a massive Banyan tree.

Batuan
An old and famous centre of the arts, it is now known for its dancing, wood panel carving and paintings.

Bangli
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.

Klungkung
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 1 8th century, is specially known for its ceiling murals painted in the traditional wayang style pertraying punishment in hell and the rewards in heaven and other aspects of moralities. The floating pavillion, garden and lotus ponds in this walled- in complex, located on the main intersection of town are a reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.

Goa Lawah
Nine kms from Klungkung is Goa Lawah or 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.

Besakih
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 where the Trinity shrines are wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. Around the three main temples dedicated to the Trinity: Shiva, Brahma and Wisnu, are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups. To the Balinese, a visit to the temples 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 and during festivals, coloured banners add a touch of gaiety.

Menjangan island
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, are by themselves worth a visit because of the beautiful sceneries they offer.

Mas
The village of woodcarvers, many of Bali’s old masters still live here. Art galleries exhibit some of their best works. Visitors can wonder through the Balinese style houses to view the carved wooden pillars and the artists at work or instructing apprentices who work in groups.

Sangeh
Ten hectares of nutmeg trees in the Sangeh forest abounds with monkeys. The forest is considered sacred, sono 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.

Bedugul
The mountain resort of Bedugul, 18 km north of Denpasar, 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 sems to rise out of the lake. The area offers good walks. Boats are available for hire. Water skiing, and parasailing is done as well. The Bali Handara country club has bungalows for rent and a restaurant.

Tenganan
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 battle between youths take place. Tenganan is famous for its “double ikat” woven material called gringseng, which is supposed to protect the wearer with magic powers.

Yeh Saneh
A little further east on the coastal road is Yeh Saneh an idyllic spot few people know of. Only a few maters 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.

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