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Dreamland, Regency of Badung, Bali

The Flora and Fauna of Bali

 

To the Balinese, the natural landscape is a divine creation. The environtment is believed to be a living force with which one must maintain harmonious relationship. This is expressed in the Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana, the “three harmonious retaionship of human beings” in ancient Sanskrit relationship among people, human with God, as well as human with their environment, that holds an inseparably link. Flora and fauna play important roles in Bali, not just ecologically but culturally. Traditional Balinese literature refers to the power of certain plants to cure illnesses, to inspire love or spiritual devotion, or to attract or repel spirits.

The majestic banyan tree is believed to be especially powerful, and it is often planted at crossroads and temples, where its thick branches and hanging canopy or aerial roots are said to be a favourite haunt for invisible beings. In the traditional Balinese calendar, there are seven special days devoted to honouring trees, TUMPEK UDUH.

 
 

The intents relationships Balinese have with their land are visible in the stunning landscapes they have created. Bali has colorful gardens overflowing with tropical plumeria, hibiscus, bougainvillea, frangipani, heliconia and gardenia. Balinese are also masterful agriculturalist, carving the fertile soil into irrigated rice fields, some of which have been under continous cultivation for over a thousand years.

Balinese were among the first human beings to use complex irrigation systems, and today there are still thousands of water-use groups community know as SUBAK that manage the flow of irrigation water by relying on their traditional spiritual and ecological wisdom.

 
 

Animals such as chickens, cows, pigs, geese, goats play an important role in the Balinese diet. They are honored on the traditional holiday TUMPEK KANDANG, when they are bathed, offered special foods, blessed with holy water, dressed up in gaily colored sarongs and decorated with elaborately cut and shaped palm leaves. During this auspicious day, the Balinese people are thankful to the Almighty God for His blessings and creation of animals thet support the daily lives of the Balinese. The activities take the form of creating various offerings from flowers, fruits and other essential items presented to their Gods.

Bali is also home to many species of wildlife, including civet cats, wild boar and bull, dear, monkeys, dolphins and wide variety of amphibians and birds.

The deep connection between the Balinese and their environment has kept Bali green and beautiful, offering guests an opportunity to witness an ancient, ecologically sensitive way of life.

(Source : Bali Interactive CD-Rom "Bali, the Island of Peace" by Bali Tourism Authority, 2000)

 

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