To many visitors the country side of Bali is very beautiful. Nearly every the tourist goes he sees ricefields, from the beach where the waves break till very high in the mountains. The Balinese ild ricefields as high as they can have the water to irrigate them. Even in regious where there is no water the Balinese live from agriculture. In dry soil they plant come, sweet pottato, peanuts, beans, cassava and other plants that need not much water. In the dry plains people have coconut plantations and fruit trees and in the mountain people grow coffee and gaga mountain rice. Bali has no tea or rubber plantation.
The dry North-East of Bali, Bondalem, Tejakula, Les and other village in the vacinity is famous for its fruits epecially oranges tangerines and limes. Dry North Bali is known for its delicious mango and durian, the stinking fruit like very much by by the Balinese but shunned by the foreingers. The coconut plantation are in North-West Bali where the soil is dry and sandy, good for growing coconuts. Copra, the raw material for soap and margarine is made of coconut.
In Bali the art rice culture is most important. Only where there is water is wet rice culture possible. The most important part of Bali for this culture is central Bali, comprising the counties Tabanan, Badung, Gianyar, Klungkung and Bangli. All year round there is enough water here because of the presence of the four lakes laying in the central Bali, i.e Batur Lake is the biggets, Baratan Lake, the second biggeest and the two smaller lakes Buyan and Tamlingan.
For centuries Bali has followed contour farwing; that is farming that follows the contour of the land and hills. To keep the top soil on its place terracing is necessary. Because of this policy the terraced rice field have satistically curved lines as dikes that enhane the beauty of the country side. It is especially beautiful when the field are still flooded; the water on the field form mirrors where clouds in the sky and the coconut trees cast their reflexions and the flooding water flows down from the highest terraces to the lower ones in this way forming hundreds of small waterfalls. The country side is also very beautiful when the rice is still young green.
Irrigating these ricefield is very complicated work. Yes, it is very efficiently done by Subak. The Subak is the organization of farmers of a ricefield area that receives its water from one sourse. Because of this system there are thousands of Subaks in Bali. One big dam can be sharred by many Subaks and the number of Subaks depends how larger the water supply is. The Subak regulates the rice planting and the distribution of water needed by the rice fields. It sees to it that the canals, the ditches and the smaller ditches through which the water flows to the individual ricefields are in good shape, so that all the water flows to the fields and no water is wasted. If a canal or ditch has to be repaired the members of the Subak do it communally. The farmer prefers to plant rice to anything else. This is easily done in the rainy season when there is enough water for all.the ricelfield. But in the dry season when the Subak depends entirely on the water provided by spring or river, in case a dam, this can pose a problem, because there is usually not enough water for all the ricefield or the Subak. Here must be rotation. The Klian Subak, the head of the Subak, who is elected by the members in democratic way, has to decide which part of the Subak plants ricefield which part has to plant second crop, such as corn, sweet potato, soybean, tobacco or peanut; in the next dry season the part that has planted second crop, plants rice and the part that has.planted rice, now plants second crop.
The Sinai is not only responsible for the planting of rice and the water supply, but its also responsible for the maintenance of the dam and irrigation canals and ditches that lead the water from the dam to the ricefields. The good condition of the dam, the canals and the ditches assures the steady flow of the water to the fields and that no water will be wasted.
The Sinai as all organizations in Bali has a temple to maintain. The temple is called Pura Subak or Pura Bedugul. Every month the Subak members come together in the temple to discuss matters concerning the Subak, the water supply, the harvest and the odalan, celebration of the anniversary day.of the Subak temple. Being a temple dedicated to rice culture it nearly always lies out in the fields or near water sources of the Subak. In such a Pura Subak of course Dewi Sri, the Rice Goddes, is worshiped.
Periodically, usually every 5 or 10 years, usually after a good harvest, Subak of one district, organise a Ngusaba Nini, a big celebration of thanks giving that usually last for at least three days. It is done in Pura Bale Agung, a village temple with a large and long Bale, a building of wood. The Godess of all the Subak temple and the Rice Goddes of all the farmers with.granaries gather in the Bale Agung and stay there for the duration of the festival.
To see the festival and also the harvest season is during the year in different areas. You need a transport do it. Please find me on my email : [email protected]
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