Jatiluwih: Rice Terraces

On the way back from Mount Batukaru, you took the left turnoff at Wongayagede where the 14 kilometers road leads to my amazing destination in Bali, Jatiluwih.

The process of growing and harvesting rice is just one fragment of the unique Balinese culture that is guarded by the Goddess Dewi Sri. It is a culture that signifies a customary way of life where rice and all of its stages of process is a powerful driving force behind all form of activity within the community. Food, medicine, art, hope and the ideologies that exist within the village are all directly related to the rice field. The Goddess Dewi Sri symbolizes fertility and prosperity as well as the cycle of human life. The practice of planting rice, maintaining the crop and harvesting is a definite parallel to the full circle of life from birth until death. In Bali there is a real relationship between man and the environment, which follows the Hindu philosophy of maintaining a harmonious balance between all living things to appease the Gods as well as unseen entities.

Jatiluwih was recently listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its preservation of traditional Balinese farming techniques. A day trip is highly recommended as it enables visitors to observe the realities of rural Bali. The opportunity to wander through the fields and watch the birds as they attempt to pilfer rice grains from immature stalks is an enriching experience. Another interesting aspect is the organized irrigation system where farmers share water in a tradition that dates back centuries and has united generations of farmers in their common need for this highly valued resource.

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