Bali, An Obsession with Water

Bakso Cart

Bakso Cart

Dewa, our driver,  ran towards the kiosk-cart. It was time for his lunch. “Give me a shout, when you guys have seen the palace. I am just around.” We turned around to see where he headed for.

“Bakso Babi 100% Haram” read the signage on top of a cart. Babi means pork; and bakso, meatballs with broth. No wonder he ran like a predator about the ambush a sitting duck.  I wondered the feasibility of such marketing ploy in the Jakarta or Dubai!

The Ujung Water Palace was located, five kilometres from Amalapura, in the village of Seraya. Raja of Kargasem had built the palace. He was the same king who had built Taman Tirta Gangga Palace.  (Read here – https://biswadarshan.com/2014/12/29/a-dip-in-balinese-ganges/ ). May be, His Highness had developed a set of gills.

Ujung Water Palace

Ujung Water Palace

The site was built around an original pool called the Dirah pool, which was an exile for black magic practitioners.  Two other pools were built along with the palace at the centre. Its construction was completed in 1921. During the Dutch rule, the palace was opened to public and was promoted as the Royal Water Garden Complex.

Just after us, a group of schoolchildren entered the palace grounds. They must have been on a field trip.  As essential the school trip was for the kids and their exposure to their heritage, it was not a picture perfect scenario for us, opportunistic tourists. It was pointless to rush, as it they swarmed like locusts. We just gave in. They were a part of the experience, I guess.

A while later, we saw that the children had lost interest in the palace and its pools, instead they congregated under a tree.  It was time for their lunch. Phew! It was a picnic and not really a tour.

To the east of the palace were paddy fields. It reminded me of the rice fields, Jatiluwih . We had driven by the village to catch a glimpse. These rice fields were a testimony of the traditional subak irrigation. Subak meant a co-operative. The people of the village managed it. Under the subak system, the canals were linked to the mountain temples with lakes. In Western Bali, the responsible temple was Pura Batu Kau; and  the temple Pura Ulun Danu, the north, east and south of Bali.

The terraced rice fields have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012. Sadly, with rampant urbanisation and with over-exposure to tourism, the terrace fields have faced a lot of difficulty.  Main reason being, the farmers themselves were responsible for the upkeep of the ancient irrigation system. If only, the future were not that bleak…

A short hike to the top of the Bukit Bisbis, a hill to the north of the palace, added some perspective to our trip.  The Ujung beach and the Bali Sea lay in front of us. We realised why the place was associated with magic; for us it was the view – for Dewa , Bakso.

————

P.S – Thanks to Shannon Kretschmer, (http://www.capture-the-spirit-photography.com/),for being my travel partner  and for sharing his images.

Terraced Rice Fields

Terraced Rice Fields

Subak Irrigation

Subak Irrigation

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Ujung Water Palace

Ujung Water Palace

Ujung Water Palace

Ujung Water Palace

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Ujung Water Palace complex

Ujung Water Palace Complex

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9 responses to “Bali, An Obsession with Water

  1. BLaine Robert Parker

    SHANTI

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely… looks to be a serene place 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kedar Narayan Mohanty

    Water palace complex must be very interesting.Its nice that the Subak irrigation system works for the terrace rice field and now it’s backed by UNESCO. You may be knowing in Koraput,we do have terrace rice cultivation practised by Adibasis mostly depending on Rain-God.

    Like

    • The Water Palace is a spot best enjoyed on a summer day. UNESCO status is a double edged sword ; it encourages more tourist exposure possibly making a place more commercial. More commercialisation might mean, if not managed, farmers giving up their land for resorts and hotels – and a death to subak irrigation.
      Yes,I have heard of the rice terraces from Koraput. Sadly, I have never been there. Its on my list. As per my knowledge, Southern Odisha used to be self sufficient but thanks to the death of the traditional water harvesting practices those districts are prone to drought. Poor adivasis always are at a disadvantage.

      Like

  4. The place is beautiful. I think your next post should be how you manage to travel so much :D. I mean how do you manage the time & finances. 😉

    Like

    • Its is a beautiful place. I manage to travel because of my aviation job and also a bit of planning. The best way to plan a trip is keep aside a certain amount every month in a vacation account. And about time – focus on travelling to a new place rather than visiting friends or relatives. In fact, you can plan a trip with like minded people. Just a little adjustment in lifestyle, you’ll cover more of the globe in the coming years.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Meanwhile in Balinese Avalon | L i m i t l e s s S k i e s

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