Friday, June 13, 2008

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali

I have earlier arranged with Pak Made to take us to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in the Tabanan region. The Jatiluwih rice terraces is a Unesco-nominated World Heritage site. It is unique due to its irrigation system (subak) which has its roots in the Tri Hita Karana, the essence of Balinese cosmology, a philosophy that seeks to maintain a harmonious relationship between God, humans and the environment.

Our drive from Tanah Lot to Jatiluwih took approximately 1 ½ hours by van. We passed many small villages on the way up and saw for ourselves the daily rituals in a Balinese’s life. Fortunately for us, there was a religious celebration in one village and all along the road were prayer altars set up in front of every single home. We also passed by a wedding party waiting for the arrival of the groom and we managed a smile from the bride when Pak Made told her that we’re tourists!

Pak Made also pointed out for us avocado and coffee trees growing in the hills. The difference with a personalized tour and a full-fledged one is that the experiences you encounter are much more personal and interesting.

You just can’t miss the imposing presence of Mount Batukaru rising above the rice terraces. Our lungs were thoroughly nourished by the cool crisp air in Jatiluwih. It’s such a treat to breathe in clean air after the acrid air in Malaysia’s haze-filled skies. We took a walk along the road to take in the natural surroundings and also show our daughter how rice is planted by the farmers. It was an interesting experience for her because growing up in a city does not afford her many chances to experience something like this. Every time we visit a country I try to look for places, activities, cultural events that’ll make up part of her education. Each of these experiences are priceless and cannot be learnt in school.

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