Everyone in the world knows Bali. It is named as the Island of Gods where people can relax at stunning beaches almost everywhere. Bali has been a favourite holiday destination for many people from other countries and continents, such as Europeans, Americans, Australians and visitors from Asian countries like Japan, China, Singapore and others.
Nevertheless, do you know that Bali has not only stupendous beaches to enjoy but also extraordinary villages, temples and rice fields? On this post, we would like to tell you a bit about an outstanding irrigation system in this island that has been enlisted as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites since 2012.
This water management system is named Subak, a system to irrigate rice fields in Bali, built in the 9th century. Subak was created because for the Balinese, irrigation does not simply mean watering the plants’ roots. It uses a complex irrigating strategy that consists of five terraced rice fields with water temples that cover around more or less 20,000 hectares.
In Bali, the priests in the water temples manage the Subak irrigation system. As they practise the philosophy of Tri Hita Kirana, the water management is arranged by taking example from this teaching. Tri Hita Kirana represents three principles: harmony among people, harmony with nature or environment and harmony with the spiritual world.
The water temple rituals encourage a harmonious relationship between people and their nature, done by an active engagement of the people. Additionally, rice itself is considered as the gift from God. Subak promotes the harmony of these three principles that are manifested in many rituals and offerings to deities, to contribute to sustainability and to the balance of the environment.
Subak components include the forests that protect the water supply, terraced paddy landscape, rice fields connected by a canal system, tunnels and weirs, villages and temples of various sizes and importance. They characterise the source of water and its passage through the temple that go downhill to irrigate the land.
The sites of Subak architecture represent diverse ancient religious traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism and Austronesian cosmology.
It is interesting, isn’t it? To know more, click here: Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy for the complete description.