Bali lies between the islands of Java and Lombok and is one more than 17,000 islands that makes up the Indonesian Archipelago. Bali is small, stretching approximately 140 km from east to west and 80 km from north to south. Slightly off center, and running east to west, are a string of volcanic mountains. The tallest is Gunung Agung, which last erupted in 1963, and is 3,142 m. at its highest point.
Lying just 8° south of the Equator, Bali boasts a tropical climate with just two seasons, wet and dry, a year and an average annual temperature of around 28° C. The rich volcanic soil and healthy monsoon season make this island extremely fertile and a range of crops are grown here. The wide and gently sloping southern regions play host to Bali’s famed rice terraces, among some of the most spectacular in the world. In the hilly, northern coastal regions, the main produce is coffee, copra, spices, vegetables, cattle and rice.
The wide variety of tropical plants is surprising. You’ll see huge banyan trees in villages and temple grounds, tamarind trees in the North, clove trees in the highlands, acacia trees, flame trees, and mangroves in the South. In Bali grow a dozen species of coconut palms and even more varieties of bamboo.
And there are flowers, flowers everywhere. You’ll see (and smell the fragrance of) hibiscus, bougainvillea, jasmine, and water lilies. Magnolia, frangipani, and a variety of orchids are found in many front yards and gardens, along roads, and in temple grounds. Flowers are also used as decorations in temples, on statues, as offerings for the gods, and during prayers. Dancers wear blossoms in their crowns, and even the flower behind the ear of your waitress seems natural in Bali.
The pure descendants of people who stayed in this island calling themselves Bali Aga or Bali Mula, the ” original ” Balinese, still live, isolated and independent, in the mountains where they found refuge from imperialistic strangers. Hidden in the hills of East Bali, near Karangasem, lies the village of Tenganan, where the most conservative of the Bali Aga preserve the old traditions with the greatest zeal. Tenganan is a rabidly isolated community, socially and economically separate from the rest of Bali, almost a republic in itself. It is shut off from the world by a solid wall that surrounds the entire village, which is meant to keep outsiders away, and is broken only by four gates, each facing one of the cardinal points. Of these gates, three open to the gardens and plantations of the village, but the main gate is so narrow that a stout person has difficulty in squeezing through. Such is the obsession for isolation in Tenganan that there is an official specially appointed to sweep the village after the visits of strangers, to obliterate their footprints.
Bali rich culture its history recorded in legends and preserved in its religion and the peoples adherence to the traditions of their ancestors. Temples are everywhere, especially in the mountains. The most revered temple is on Gunung Agung, the tallest mountain.
Hindu Bali is a religion which owes its origins to India, but which has developed independently from its forebear. Hindu Bali celebrates its rituals in a highly dramatised form, which can be witnessed by visitors in the form of dance and performance at traditional festivals, and at secular performances.
Strong relationship between Balinese culture and the hindu religion makes it well preserved , as long as Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa owner of the universe still in every hindu`s people mind Balinese culture will keep moving and growing