Bali Facts – History – Culture – Development
In addition to consisting of the island of Bali, Bali Province also consists of many smaller islands in the vicinity. Namely the island of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Serangan Island, and Menjangan Island. Regionally Bali spanned across Java and Lombok. The majority of Balinese are Hindu.
On the other hand, throughout the world, Bali is famous as a tourist destination with a unique variety of art-culture, especially for the Japanese and Australian tourists. Moreover, Bali is also known by the nickname of the island of the gods and the island of thousand temples. Below there is Bali facts that may you need to know, as follows:
Facts 1: Geography
The island of Bali is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands along the 154 km and 113 km wide. Its approximately 3.3 km from the island of Java. Astronomically, Bali is located at 8 ° 26’23 “south latitude and 115 ° 15’56” East Longitude that make it a tropical climate like the rest of Indonesia.
Mount Agung is the highest point in Bali as high as 3149 meters. This volcano last erupted in March 1963. Mount Batur is also one of the mountain in Bali. Approximately 30 decades ago, Mount Batur exploded and spew toxic ashes and lava on earth. Unlike in the north, the southern part of Bali is irrigated with lowland rivers.
Based on the topography, in the middle of the island of Bali exists mountains spanning from west to east. Then, among the mountains, there are a groups of volcanoes named Mount Batur and Mount Agung. As well as non-volcanic Mountain, namely mount merbuk, Mount Patas and Mount Seraya.
The existence of these mountains causing changes in Geographic Area hence Bali is divided into 2 (two). The uneven fragments is in North Bali with a cramped marshland and few tilting region then South Bali with the marshland area and ramps.
Bali slope consists of flat land (0-2%) covering an area of 122.662 Ha, undulating land (2-15%) covering an area of 118.739 Ha, the steep land (15-40%) covering an area of 190.486 Ha and the very steep land (> 40%) covering an area of 132.199 Ha. Then, the province of Bali has 4 (four) lakes located in mountainous areas. There are lake Bedugul or Lake Beratan, Buyan, Tamblingan and Batur. On the other hand, the beautiful nature of Bali also make the island famous as a tourist area.
The capital of Bali is Denpasar. Then, other important place included is the art center and resort, located in Gianyar regency. Nusa Lembongan is regarded as one of the diving spots, located in Klungkung regency. While Kuta, Seminyak, Jimbaran and Nusa Dua are some places that become a major tourist destination, both tourist and beach resorts, spas, and others, located in Badung regency.
On the other hand, area of Bali Province is 5636.86 km2 or 0.3% of total area of the Republic of Indonesia. Bali Province is relatively fragmented into 8 regions, one municipality, 55 districts and 701 villages.
Bali lies around 9 degrees south of the equatorial line. There are a dry weather and rainy season throughout the year with two seasons namely Summer and Rain. Then, Central volcanic mountains of Bali has some of which reaches 3001 meters height. On top of this, the temperature is cooler and more rainfall than the lower coastal areas.
Fact 2: History
Balinese Culture then get a heavy connections through Indian customs. The evolution were getting faster after the 1st century AD. Meanwhile, The Named Balidwipa (Bali island) started to emerge in many stone writing, along with belanjong stone pillar that were published by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 913 AD and mentioning the word Walidwipa. Its thought that around this time Subak irrigation system for farming agriculture was also started.
On the other hand, some religion and cultural traditions also began to grow at that time. Majapahit kingdom (1293-1500 AD) which based on Hindu and centered on the island of Java, had founded the subordinates kingdom in Bali around the year 1343 AD.
At that time, the entire archipelago were Hindus, but with the coming of Islam then stood Islamic kingdoms in the archipelago, among others things that led to the fall of Majapahit. Many nobles, priests, artists and other Hindu community then withdrew from Java towards Bali.
The Europeans man who first stumbled upon Bali is called Cornelis de Houtman from the Netherlands kingdom in 1597. Although, a Portuguese ship had before been crash landed near the Tanjung Bukit, Jimbaran, in 1585. The Dutch using VOC then had started enforcing its invasion of the region in Bali. However, they keep receiving rebellions, and towards the very end the strength of VOC influence in Bali is not as strong as its influence in the Java or the Moluccas.
Starting from the northern region of Bali, since the 1840, the Netherlands has become a permanent existence. Its achieved by dividing each native tribe. Then made them fight against each other tribal rulers in Bali who symbolically don’t believe each other.
Moreover, the Dutch perform major attack by sea and land against the Sanur area, as well as the Denpasar area. The Bali party who lost in numbers and weaponry generally do not want to experience shame for surrendering.
Thus, causing the war to drag to the bitter end and the war victims that involves all the people from men and women including the king. Approximately, 4,001 Balinese were casualty in the wars, even though the Netherlands has ordered them to capitulated.
However, the Dutch governors which govern only regulate few laws on the island, so that balinese belief system and customs normally constant.
Japan occupied Bali during World War II and at that time a military officer named I Gusti Ngurah Rai formed forces aptly named ‘freedom fighters’. Following the defeat of Japan in the Pacific region in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia (including Bali) to re-establish its colonial rule as a state before the war. This was opposed by the forces of Bali resistance who was used weapons made in Japan.
On 20 November 1945, the war named Puputan Margarana erupted that occurred in the village of Marga, Tabanan, Central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai were aged 29, charged his army from the eastern region of Bali to implements attacks till their death to the Netherlands armed forces. All members of the Bali battalion was killed entirely. It was regarded as the last military resistance in Bali.
In 1946 the Dutch made Bali as one of its 13 areas as part of the State of East Indonesia that was proclaimed recently. So, its named as one of the rivals for the Republic of Indonesia which also proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta.
Bali later were also included into the United States of Indonesia when the Dutch publicly recognized Indonesian independence on December 29, 1949. In 1950, Bali officially leave its union with the Dutch and legally became a province of the Republic of Indonesia.
The eruption of Mount Agung which occurred in 1963, had destroy the people’s livelihood and impacted many residents in Bali in which they decided to transmigrate to another safe region in Indonesia.
In 1965, along with the failure by the G30S coup against the national government in Jakarta, Bali and many other areas then there was a crackdown against members and sympathizers of the Communist Party of Indonesia.
In Bali, it is estimated more than 100,000 people were killed or disappeared. Nevertheless, the horrid events of the early days of the New Order regime that happened back then has not been known and reveal successfully by the current law.
Terrorist attacks occurred on October 12, 2002. In the form of the 2002, Bali bombing attack in the Kuta Beach tourist area, causing as many as 202 people were killed and 209 others injured. Moreover, Bali bomb attack also occurred three years later in Kuta and Jimbaran beach. Approximately in 2005.
These incidents received extensive international coverage because most of the victims were foreign tourists and led to the Bali tourism industry face challenging times in the last few years.
Facts 3: Economy
Thirty years ago, the Balinese livelihood relied mostly based on agriculture in terms of both output and employment. Now, the tourism industry became the object of the greatest revenue for Bali. As a result, Bali became one of the richest regions in Indonesia.
In 2003, approximately 80% of Bali’s economy depends on the tourism industry. At the end of June 2011, non-performing loans of all banks in Bali was 2.23%, lower than the average non-performing loans of the banking industry in Indonesia (around 5%).
Economics, however, suffer significantly as a result of the 2002 Bali bombings and the Bali bombings of 2005. The tourism industry itself has recovered from the consequences of these events.
Facts 4: Culture
Culture can be separated as one of Bali Facts. Bali has some unique culture and will be listed below :
Balinese traditional music has something in common with all traditional music in many other areas in Indonesia, for example in the use of gamelan and various other percussion instruments.
Nonetheless, there is a uniqueness in the play and its composition techniques, for example in the form of Kecak, which is a form of singing that supposedly imitated the sound of monkeys.
There is also Angklung music played for the cremation ceremony and Bebonangan music played in various other ceremonies.
Similarly, a variety of other gamelan playing are even more unique, for example gamelan jegog, gamelan gong gede, gamelan gambang, gamelan selunding and gamelan Semar Pegulingan.
Meanwhile, there is a modern form of traditional music of Bali. Such as Gamelan Gong Kebyar, is a dance music that was developed in the Dutch colonialism era and Joged bumbung which turn famous in Bali since the era of the 1950. Publicly Balinese music is a mixed of many metallic percussion tools, gongs and wooden percussion.
Thus, social relations, politics and culture, traditional music of Bali or Balinese gamelan has influence or affect each other music forms surrounding cultural regions. Such as the traditional music community in Banyuwangi and the traditional music of Lombok.
Balinese dance in general can be classified into three groups. There are guardian or performing ritual dances, bebali or dance performances for special occasion, and also for tourist. As well as Balih-balihan or dance for the tourists performance show.
In the early 1980, an experts has grouped these Balinese dances. Those who belong to the guardian such as Berutuk, Sang Hyang Dedari, Rejang and Baris Gede. While Bebali groups belongs to Gambuh, Topeng Pajegan and Wayang Wong.
Then, Balih-balihan such as are Legong, Parwa, Arja, Prembon and Joged as well as a variety of choreography modern dance. One of the dances that were very popular for tourists is the Kecak and Pendet.
Clothing in Bali area are actually quite varied, although they all looks the same. Each area in Bali has a characteristic of symbolic and ornaments. Its based on the activity / ceremony, sex and age of its users. Social and economic status of a person can be known through the style of clothing and jewelry ornaments worn.
4.Bali Customs House
Bali customs house are built in accordance with the rules of Asta Kosala Kosali. Asta Kosala Kosali means Vedic section that arrange the design of the room and building. Its similar like Feng Shui in Chinese term.
According to the philosophy of the Balinese people, the dynamism of life will be achieved when the realization of a synchronize connections among the concepts of pawongan, palemahan and parahyangan.
For the construction of a house should include these concepts or the aptly called Tri Hita Karana. Pawongan is the residents of the house. Palemahan means there should be a good relationship between residents and the environment.
In general, building or area of Bali’s traditional architecture is always filled with ornaments, such as engraving, equipment and provision of various color. Various ornaments contains certain sense of an expression of the beauty of the symbols towards the delivery of communication. Decorative forms of fauna species also function as ritual symbols that appear in the statue sculpture.
Bali in New Era
Balinese culture is very valuable and full of universal values as is the view of many people that are now massively exploited in the name of tourism. Local genius philosophy of Tri Hita Karana are now only a college campus discourse and political jargon.
The Architecture that conceptualize Tri Hita Karana, one of which requires a synergy between man and nature slowly eroded, then came the environmental problems that currently permeated Bali.
Moreover, the concept of the Balinese art are further eroded due to dollar. We can see how the art-oriented market (tourism) makes shallow meaning into the art. Temple also suffered the same fate, desecration of the temple that is posed as a tourist attraction are now cover up with profanity of graffiti.
The view that tourism is the only one that could support Bali has very drastic implications on the removal of the original values of the Balinese culture, even the sacred dance can be staged anywhere and the duration can be set as desired by the tourist.
Then, the use of the special name for Balinese is now starting to be considered outdated for some people. Lately, the identity of the first name Balinese such as Wayan, Gede, Putu, Ni Luh and so on began to be abandoned by some circles for various reasons. The local languages of Bali that is regarded as one of the many identity that Balinese has need serious attention in this context.
Decreasing usage of Balinese spoken language. For example can be seen on the phenomenon of Balinese society that live in the city. Thus, they are proud of using the national Indonesian language.
However, even though the language is also spoken with fellow Balinese people even when they return to their native village, it is not uncommon to find children who do not speak Balinese. Meanwhile, since childhood they were accustomed to speak using Indonesian language by their parents. As well as the scarcity of native speakers in Bali can also contribute as the cause of this dilemma.
The development of tourism make the people of Bali not only relying their livelihood in the agricultural sector. Farming community with local characteristic are now rarer to find in the people of Bali. Thus, the demands for work and viewpoint are more efficient and practical nowadays.
On the other hand, in some villages in Bali during cremation ceremony they no longer even use human workers to bring the body to the grave. Thus, it has been replaced by a kind of train that just needed to be push. Various infrastructure facilities during special ceremonies are now easily obtainable by buying, this phenomenon has never been seen before.
Presumably the best analogy one can describe about Bali is as the open castle. On one side, Bali must remain open to tourism that would come with it its own culture. Then, the other side Bali must remain focused to preserve herself that her culture not get eroded in the process.
The emergence of this problem is thought to be a form of expression of local people of how the Balinese people are trying to preserved its cultures. While, at the same time they can be seen as a form of identity struggle all Balinese people trying to endured.
Therefore, it can be surmised that Bali holds great importance towards Indonesia as the flow of foreign currency. Its deeply help Indonesia economy in weathering financial crises. Moreover, Its also preserving unique culture is an important aspects in keeping tourist interested to come the area.