Discover the UNESCO-recognized sites of Bali in this exploration. These aren’t mere tourist attractions; they’re significant cultural landmarks. Each has earned recognition from UNESCO for its exceptional global value. It stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
UNESCO’s recognition is not just an honor. It is a commitment to preserving and promoting cultural heritage that holds exceptional value to humanity. This recognition brings with it global attention, increased preservation efforts, and a promise to future generations that these cultural treasures will be safeguarded.
In Bali, this recognition is a testament to the island’s rich cultural landscape and traditional practices. It emphasizes the importance of Bali’s cultural sites and traditions, enhancing their value and ensuring their continuity. From the intricate artistry of its temples to the communal harmony of its water management system, Bali’s UNESCO recognitions illuminate the profound connection between the island’s culture and its people, between its past and its present. This introduction aims to explore these recognitions and delve into their significance, offering readers a deeper understanding of Bali’s cultural heritage.
The Supreme Water Temple of Ulun Danu Batur
The Supreme Water Temple of Ulun Danu Batur, located on the edge of Lake Batur, holds a unique place in Bali’s cultural and natural landscape. This temple is not just a religious site, but also a vital part of Bali’s ecological system. It’s believed to be the source of every spring and river in Bali. This belief shows the importance of water in Bali’s daily life and agricultural practices, particularly in the cultivation of rice, the island’s staple food.
The temple’s location offers a panoramic view of Lake Batur, providing a serene backdrop for the spiritual practices that take place here. The tranquil environment enhances the spiritual experience, making each visit a unique encounter with Bali’s rich cultural heritage. The recognition of the temple by UNESCO shows its global significance. When you visit the Supreme Water Temple of Ulun Danu Batur, you’re not just witnessing a beautiful location, but also experiencing a part of Bali’s history, culture, and its deep respect for nature. This temple serves as a reminder of the harmonious coexistence of nature and culture in Bali.
Lake Batur is a key part of Bali’s cultural landscape. Even though it’s not directly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s still really important. Here’s why:
Lake Batur is linked to something called the Subak system. This is a traditional way that people in Bali manage water. They use canals and weirs (like small dams) to make sure water gets to where it needs to go.
This system is really important for farming. In fact, it’s so important that it’s recognized by UNESCO, an organization that works to protect places that are important to the world’s culture.
There are also water temples around Lake Batur. These temples are part of the Subak system. They help to manage the water and make sure it’s shared fairly.
So, while Lake Batur might not be a World Heritage Site on its own, it’s still a crucial part of Bali’s cultural landscape. I will mention the Subak in a bit, they are UNESCO sites.
Jatiluwih Rice Terrace: The Subak System and Tri Hita Karana Philosophy
The Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is a beautiful area in Bali known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. It’s a place where you can see two important parts of Balinese culture in action: the Subak system and the Tri Hita Karana philosophy.
The Subak system is a traditional method used in Bali to manage water. It’s a cooperative system, which means everyone works together to make sure it runs smoothly. The system uses canals and weirs (like small dams) to distribute water to the rice fields. This is really important for farming in Bali.
The Tri Hita Karana philosophy is a set of principles that people in Bali live by. It’s all about maintaining harmony with God, nature, and fellow humans. This philosophy is reflected in the Subak system, which shows the balance between people (who manage the water), nature (the water itself), and God (who they believe blesses them with the water). source: Tri Hita Karana Philosophy Wikipedia
The Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru
The Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru is located in the Tabanan Regency. This place is really special because it’s home to some of the oldest rice terraces in Bali. These terraces have been around since the 10th century. Wow that’s a long time ago!
But it’s not just the age that makes these terraces special. Like the Jatiluwih Rice terace, they’re also a prime example of the Subak system.
So, the Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru is not just a beautiful place to visit. It’s also a living example oand part of important history and culture.
The subak system has been added to UNESCO World Heritage sites since June 2012 (source: Cultural Landscape of Bali Unesco)
The Royal Water Temple of Taman Ayun
The Royal Water Temple of Taman Ayun is a famous cultural highlight in Mengwi, Bali. Its name means ‘Garden Temple in the Water’. Built in the 17th century by King Tjokorda Sakti Blambangan, its design is influenced by Chinese architecture.
The temple symbolizes the bond between the king and the Mengwi people. It was their main worship place, saving them a long journey to bigger temples. (source: Dr Ujwala Chakradeo on Taman Ayun Temple)
Importantly, the temple is central to the Subak system. This is Bali’s way of managing water through canals and weirs, reflecting the balance between people, nature, and gods, known as Tri Hita Karana in Balinese thought.
UNESCO has recognized the temple as a World Heritage Site for its cultural value. Yet, it’s still an underrated gem in Bali, offering peaceful and beautiful views away from crowded tourist spots.
UNESCO Recognized Traditional Dances in Bali
For the UNESCO recognised dances from Bali I will include videos.
Barong Ket Dance
The Barong Ket Dance is a captivating traditional dance from Bali that tells a tale as old as time itself. It’s a vivid portrayal of the constant struggle between good and evil. The dance features two main characters: Barong, a lion-like creature who represents the forces of good, and Rangda, a mythological monster who embodies evil. As the dance unfolds, Barong and Rangda engage in a fierce battle, symbolizing the ongoing conflict between light and darkness in the world. Despite the intense confrontation, the dance also carries a message of hope, reminding us that good always triumphs over evil in the end.
Legong Keraton Dance
The Legong Keraton Dance beautifully showcases Balinese culture. With its graceful steps and detailed hand movements, it tells captivating stories from Bali’s rich history. Every gesture and move has a deep meaning. For anyone who loves traditional dances, this performance is a treat. It’s not just about the dance steps; it’s a wonderful mix of art, culture, and storytelling, making it a must-watch for all.
Wayang Wong Dance Drama
The Wayang Wong Dance Drama is a special dance in Bali. It tells stories from big tales like the Ramayana. Dancers wear old-style clothes and makeup and play different parts. This makes the stage look like a colorful storybook. This dance is more than just a show. It helps us feel and understand Bali’s culture and past. It shows how talented and creative the people of Bali are. Everyone who watches it is amazed by the story it tells.
Gambuh Dance Drama
The Gambuh Dance Drama is a special part of Bali’s culture. It’s one of Bali’s oldest dances that mixes dance, song, and acting. Dancers tell stories using their moves, voices, and tools. When you watch it, you’ll see bright clothes, hear catchy music, and enjoy great acting. It feels like a trip back in time, but it also celebrates today. It shows how much people still love old Bali arts.
Baris Dance Ceremony
The Baris Dance Ceremony is a special dance in Bali. It’s a dance about brave soldiers. Dancers wear soldier clothes and dance with a lot of energy and care. They show how brave and proud these soldiers were. This dance thanks the old warriors and celebrates their strong spirit. People who watch it are amazed by the dancers’ talent. It also reminds us of Bali’s deep culture and history.
Sanghyang Dedari Dance
The Sanghyang Dedari Dance from Bali is truly special. It’s thought to call upon good spirits. Performed by young girls, it’s believed they become filled with these kind spirits during the dance. This dance acts as a bridge, connecting our world with the spiritual one. Watching it, you can’t help but feel the depth and richness of Balinese culture.
During temple festivals, you might see the Rejang Dance. It takes place inside the temple’s courtyard. Many dancers move as one, showing a beautiful mix of color and rhythm. This dance isn’t just for show; it celebrates the bond of the community and their deep religious ties. It’s a clear sign of Bali’s strong cultural roots.
Joged Bumbung Dance
At big gatherings in Bali, the Joged Bumbung Dance often lights up the mood. Dancers groove to the sounds of traditional bamboo instruments. The energy is infectious. This dance is all about bringing people closer, sharing happiness and a sense of belonging.
Sidhakarya Mask Dance
When there’s a major ceremony in Bali, the Sidhakarya Mask Dance often takes center stage. This sacred dance has a big job: it’s believed to push away bad vibes and bring everything into balance. Through this powerful ritual, you can see the deep spiritual beliefs that the people of Bali hold dear.
And there you have it, All about the UNESCO things to see in Bali. What can I see except It’s more than just a typical vacation. It’s a cultural experience!
Hi I am Dwi. I am a blogger, travel agent and a mom of a lovely daughter and wife to a supportive husband. I customize and plan tours in Bali and islands nearby for a living and have been doing this for more than 14 years. Get in touch via contact [at] taletravels.com