Bali Traditional Architecture
25 January 2018

As soon as you step down onto the island of Bali, first thing that draws your attention is the typical of architectural features of the Balinese gate way structure you will pass by at Ngurah Rai Airport or seaports like Benoa, Gilimanuk and Padangbai. Further, on the way to your hotel or tourist object, you will also catch sight of the architecture of unique and well-arranged houses and sanctum of the Balinese on the right and left roadside.
Every house in enclosed with tembok penyengker (surrounding wall) and to enable one to enter the compound, he should pass through an angkuk-angkul (entrance gate) in which on the right and left side lie a place of offerings. If you pay attention to spatial division more thoroughly, building placement of every single house is adjusted to the function of its space, as there is a space for sanctum, bale daja or gedong for receiving guest and resting place for old members of the family, bale dangin for place of making oblations and performing socio-religious activities, bale dauh for resting place of family members, jineng/lumbung for retaining rice and paon (kitchen) for cooking.
batuan bali temple gate
Amongst the house building occurs the natah (vacant space or courtyard) that normally landscaped with various Balinese function flowers. Meanwhile, the back yard is called teba being used for casting off the household waste and rubbish. However, urban house today has decreasingly less and less backyard because it’s pushed aside by residential houses in line with high housing demand of urban dense population.
Just as the spatial arrangement in the architecture of sanctum for the community of desa pakraman (customary village) in Bali is called pura or temple.
There is jeroan (innermost courtyard) where the sanctum sanctorum locates. To reach the innermost courtyard, one should pass through a kori agung (main gate) and only those how pay homage or have something to do with ritual procession are allowed to enter.
Then in Jaba Tengah (middle courtyard) resides a wantilan hall building where to stage traditional performing art, to hold meeting or other socio-religious activities.
Sanctum and housing compound architecture of the Balinese reflect a number of their life philosophy and character in which in daily life they fellow human. The three elements that make human blissful and prosperous are known as the Tri Hita karana concept. On that account, in establishing sacred building or house, the Balinese at all times consult holy man master’s sacred learning about Balinese architecture. For example, layout or building position should accord with the content of Palmyra manuscript Asta Bumi, building construction with Asta Dewa and Asta Kosala Kosali, while that pertaining to building materials refer to Asta Dewa, Asta Kosala Kosali suggesting wood, palm fiber, thatch grass, natural stone (sandstone), brick and so forth.
Aside from paying attention to spatial division, style and function of building, so on pre and post-construction should also be preceded with sangaskara (purification) rites.
Balinese architecture indeed contains a lot of philosophical significances inspired by Hinduism, so to understand it needs following by comprehension on Hinduism in Bali. Though western architecture has had an effect on Bali, local architect even take it advantage by combining both so the Balinese still exist along with its architectural heritage of their predecessor without being left behind by modern development of western one. Including the hotel where you stay, you can easily observe the perfect fusion of Balinese and Western architecture that assuredly will make your adjournment in Bali more comfortable. Ultimately, maybe your vacation will be favorable.


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