Bali’s Cultural Trip with Jelajah Mahakarya Indonesia

An artistic Barong Bali at art shop (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7) – Dji Sam Soe, Jelajah Mahakarya Indonesia 2012.

I love a good trip! Travel Junkie Indonesia, 2 Journalist, and 5 travel junkies have been invited by Jelajah Mahakarya Indonesia to cultural trip in Bali last weekend, and it was AMAZING.

We flew from Jakarta to Bali by Garuda Indonesia.

As an island rich in culture, history and religion, Bali has cultural destinations in every part of the island. Here are eight “what-to-do/see” of them.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

1. Visit Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
Designed and built by Nyoman Nuarta, one of Indonesia’s foremost modern sculptor, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue or GWK and its pedestal building will be standing 150 meters tall with its wings span 64 meters across.

Made from more than 4000 tons of copper and brass, the statue is picturing Lord Wisnu, as the source of wisdom, riding on the back of the mythical bird Garuda as the manifestation of conscience toward Amerta, the perennial goodness.

GWK Cultural Park is intended to educate, especially the young generations about the importance of preserving and cultivating world’s cultural heritage.

Devdan treasure of the archipelago (Photo by Devdan)

2. Devdan Treasure of the Archipelago
Two young Indonesian children are lost in the jungles of Bali where they make an astonishing discovery. And then, their magical journey traveling across the vast Archipelago of Indonesia begins. Along their journey to the islands of Bali, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Papua, the children experience colossal volcano eruptions, rumbling earthquakes, flowing molten lava and torrential rains.

Feel your heart beat with excitement as you encounter gigantic traditional puppets, an enchanted weaving hut that all come alive with magnificent and brilliantly crafted hi-tech special effects, superb illusions and life defying aerial acrobatics.

Explore the genuine heritage and beauty of Indonesia with the show’s contemporary songs and dances, accented by dramatic and thrilling action. This mega production is a “must see” show, truly a “once in a lifetime experience”.

Travel like a Brem & Arak maker (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

3. Travel Like a Brem & Arak Maker at Dewi Sri
Brem and Arak Bali (local spirit) is a traditional wine to be gently sipped like sherry; it’s subtle, gentle flavor gives little warning of the warm-hearted kick that follows. Made from black glutinous rice (Ketan Hitam), yeast, and water, old brem (more than three days old) is sour and has more alcohol content (nine percent), while new brem (under three days old) has an extreme sweet taste and seven percent alcohol content.

The popular of commercialy bottled brand is Dewi Sri. Their made own arak and brem in their modern factory in Sanur.

Across the archipelago there are many local drinks made from various fruits, vegetables and plants e.g Balok, Sagero, Sopi, Cap Tikus and many others. Their have own special unique flavor. Caution to try them because of several healthy issues. Good quality make it not to forget to bring as souvenirs. My pleasure to taste all of this dangerous delicious local drink. What about you?

Travel like a wine maker at Hetten Wines (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

4. Travel Like a Wine Maker at Hatten Wines
Hatten Wines is a Balinese company, committed to international standards of quality and taste. The first and only truly Balinese winery, located in the heart of Sanur, has been hard at work since 1994 bringing to the world tables a taste of Bali in the most extraordinary way.

A modern state of the art facility with stainless steel vessels, refrigeration, installation, a horizontal press, 56 large wine tanks, fermenters, a bottling room, filters of various types and an up to date laboratory facility.It has a capacity of bottling 5000 bottles per day. The hand harvested fruit and hand cleaned, is normally received early in the day and quickly processed through crushing and pressing equipment or processed with skins in fermenters to make red wine.

Hatten wines – unique winery and its products are defying the traditional winemaking rules in using unconventional grapes, grown on the North Coast of the island (Singaraja).

Professor I Wayan Dibia Phd (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

5. Knowledge Sharing about Balinese history and culture with Professor I Wayan Dibia Phd in Batu Bulan. Descended from a family of artists, he began learning Balinese dance and music when he was eight years, and has studied various forms of classical Balinese dance and drama from different masters on the island.

From 1970 Wayan Dibia started to experiment with elements of traditional Balinese performing arts to create new works for contemporary audiences. He has choreographed numerous new dances and dramas, and his innovative art works have gained high recognition and have been featured in many important events and art festivals in Indonesia and overseas.

Explore Subak System (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

6. Explore Subak System at Arti Foundation Areas
The cultural landscape of Bali consists of five rice terraces and their water temples that cover 19,500 ha. The temples are the focus of a cooperative water management system of canals and weirs, known as subak, that dates back to the 9th century.

Included in the landscape is the 18th-century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun, the largest and most impressive architectural edifice of its type on the island. The subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. This philosophy was born of the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years and has shaped the landscape of Bali.

The subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population.

Gamelan Selunding junkies (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

7. Learn to Play Gamelan Selunding with Kadek Suardana and friends at Arti Foundation.
Well, Gamelan selunding is a sacred ensemble of gamelan music from Bali. The selunding ensemble is from Tenganan, a village in east Bali; the ensemble is rare. Selunding means “great” or “large.”

Selonding is also a musical instrument made of iron. And, we learned to play Gamelan Selunding with Kadek Suardana (director, composer choreographer) who to create an organization committed to the conservation and development of Balinese performing arts and culture.

gloBALIzation with Jango Pramarta (Camera Sony alpha NEX-7)

8. Knowledge sharing about gloBALIzation with Jango Pramarta at BogBog Bali Cartoon.
The popular Bog-Bog magazine was created by Bali’s most talented and innovative cartoonists, Jango Pramartha – a more conventional development path, having studied graphic design at the University of Udayana and University of Western Australia.

Bog-Bog Bali Cartoon is quintessentially Balinese yet, thanks to its universal humor and messages, is appreciated all over Indonesia and by expats and tourists who quickly warm to the quirky gag cartoon style and the entertaining stories in the magazine.

Bog-Bog means “lies” in Balinese and in particular it refers to the kind of spin and half-baked truths spouted by devious and cunning politicians. The Bog-bog cartoons have become famous because they continually expose the paradoxes and ironies inherent in the political and social scene of the island and the nation. It’s not only the corruption and bigotry in politics and the politicians that are lampooned but also the many anomalies, inequities and the social hypocrisy one encounters in daily life on the island.

Bog-Bog is a unique cartoon magazine and has no precedent or competition in Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia. It appears monthly and is full of cartoons interwoven with related stories and jokes, focused on all things Balinese that spin around a selected theme. One month, Bog-Bog’s theme is the environmental degradation of rivers; another theme could be Bali’s street dogs, or Ubud’s painting colonies, the disappearance of the rice fields, the impact of tourism, etc. There is no shortage of themes or topics and it makes for a very entertaining and at the same time a very enlightening reading. Every 2 years, the monthly issues are compiled into book form.

Bog-Bog focuses almost exclusively on Balinese culture, yet it has become very popular with non-Balinese readers. Even though the themes are tied to Balinese society andculture, the topics are very contemporary and Bog-Bog has remained very fresh over the years. While the underlying messages tend to be serious, the delivery is very lighthearted, hilarious, zany and witty. Ongoing inspiration is no problem. The material is so rich it can be spun out endlessly to engender new topics and themes.

The essential message of Bog-Bog is to contrast the traditional ways in Bali against the evolution and progress of the culture in view of the modernization of Bali and the impact of gloBALIzation on its society.

Ooh #LoveBali trip with Jelajah Mahakarya Indonesia; respect for local culture and support for social development are integral to responsible tourism practice.

Life was good!

It was a simple and easy holiday, but we all had a FANTASTIC time!

Happy Green Travels.

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