Although there are no artifacts
on records dating back to the Stone Age, it is believed that
the first settlers on Bali migrated from China. The complex
system of irrigation and rice production, still use today,
was established around this time.
It wasn't until the 11th century that Bali received the first
strong influx of Hindu and Javanese cultures. The old Javanese
language, Kawi, became the language used by the aristocracy,
one of the many Javanese traits and customs adopted by the
With the death of Airlanggha, in the middle
of the 11th century, Bali enjoyed a period of autonomy. However,
this proved to be short lived, as in 1284 the east Javanese
King Kertanegara, conquered was murdered and Bali took the
opportunity to leberate itself once again. However, in 1343,
Bali was brought back under Javanese control by its defeat
at the hands of Gajah Mada, a general in the last of the great
Hindu-Javanese empires, the Majapahit. With the spread of
Islam throughout Sumatra and Java during the 16 th century,
the Majapahit empire began to collapse and a large exodus
of aristocracy, priests, artists, and artisans to Bali ensued.
For a while Bali flourished and the following centuries were
considered the Golden Age of Bali's cultural history. The
principality of Gelgel, near Klungkung, became a major centre
for the arts, and Bali became the major power of the region,
taking control of neighbouring Lombok and parts of East Java.
Bali has many museums with
fine collections of traditional and modern art such as :
- The Bali Museum in Denpasar offers a vivid picture
of Balinese life and art from prehistoric times up to
the 20th century, with emphasis on the antique.
- Ngurah Gede Pemecutan Museum and Studio - Jl.
Hayam Wuruk Denpasar.
- Museum Le Mayeur, just north of the Hotel Inna
Grand Bali Beach Sanur, houses the private collection
of the late Belgian impresionist painter, Le Mayeur.
- The Museum Manusia Yadnya in Mengwi, just across
the meat from the Puri Taman Ayun Temple, was founded
several years ago with the admirable idea of preserving
in a single collection, examples of the arts of Balinese
temple offerings. Unfortunately, the museum has not been
well kept and receives few visitors, but if you are fascinated
by Balinese ritual life, this collection is a must.
- Subak Museum, located on the right hand side
of the road is the in the village of Sanggulan, just before
Tabanan town. Opened in the early 1980's, this museum
houses an eclectic and small collection depicting the
subak (water irrigation for paddy fields) system and a
typical Balinese household including all the implements
used in a traditional wood burning kitchen.
- The Archaeological Museum by the main road in
Pejeng, less than 1 Km (0,6 mile) north of Bedulu on the
Tampaksiring road, contains are excellent collection of
Megalithic and Bronze Age remains found in this area,
including huge stone sarcophagi and tiny Hindu lamps.
- Agung Rai Museum of Art - Jl. Pengosekan Ubud.
- Puri Lukisan Museum - Jl. Raya Ubud.
- Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud displays work dating
from the late 1920s, when Balinese painters first began
to break away from the formality of traditional painting
styles, up until the present. Many were gathered by Dutch
painter Rudolph Bonnet with the assistance of Ubud's price.
It contains excellent contemporary painting's and carvings,
most created during the past 20 years by artists living
in or around Ubud. Recently, a new gallery has been added
where selected works of art are on sale.
- The Lempad Museum on the main street in Ubud
houses the paintings of the famous I Nyoman Lempad, who
died in 1978 at the ripe old age of 116. Noted for his
pen and ink drawings (both erotic and non), his style
is quite unlike traditional Balinese painting.
- The Gedong Kirtya in Singaraja is a unique library
of old lontar (palm leaf) manuscripts and scholarly Dutch
South-West Bali in Tabanan Regency, built on a large rock
that gets cut off from the mainland at high tide, this
is one of Bali’s most spectacular sights.
South Bali on Bukit Badung. This cliff-top temple, dedicated
to the spirits of the sea, has spectacular views and is
popular for viewing sunsets. During the Galungan festival
people from all over the island travel here to worship.
North-West Bali. Superb views of Menjangan Island and
the surrounding coral reefs can be seen from this temple.
Pura Rambut Siwi
South-West Bali (10 km from Medewi). Another cliff-top
temple with views of Java and on a good day, Mt. Bromo.
Steps down the cliff from the temple lead to a black sand
beach where swimming is possible.
Besakih, North-East Bali, Karangasem Regency. Bali’s
most important temple with great views of Gunung Agung.
The temple complex houses over 80 shrines to the various
gods and spirits.
Pura Luhur Batukaru
Tabanan – South Bali. Dedicated to the god of Gunung
Batukaru, this temple is a small haven for flower bird
Pura Yeh Gangga
Near Mengwi, Tabanan Regency.
Pura Ulun Danu Batur
Near Batur village. The second most important temple after
Besakih, housing more than 90 shrines. Worth visiting
anytime of the year, especially during the Odalan festival.
Dedicated to the goddess of the crater lake who controls
the irrigation system for the entire island.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Near Bedugul. This temple has several shrines which are
located on both the lake’s shore and on various
Pura Gunung Kawi
Set in a ravine in Tampaksiring, the temple ‘Candis’
are carved into the rock face. There are five Royal Tombs
at the near of the temple complex.
Pura Tirta Gunung Kawi
A water temple dedicated to the Rice Goddess. Near the
temple grounds is a small spring-fed lake with sacred
gold fish which are the guardians of the Spirit of the
Pura Tirta Empul
Considered the holiest spring in Bali, this temple is
frequently visited by Balinese seeking mental cleansing
and physical healing.
Brahma Vihara Ashrama Buddhist
Near Lovina (combine with a visit to the Banjar Tega Hot
Spring). The only Buddhist monastery in Bali, set in beautiful
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