During my visit to the island of Bali I could see how important is rice for the Balinese people. Among the countless rice crops there are two that you absolutely must see, the rice fields of Tegallalang and the rice fields of Jatiluwih. One day is enough to visit them crops and to understand how these people manage the little space available to cultivate such an important resource.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
About 10 km from Ubud there are the rice fields of Tegallalang, considered the steepest of the island. To venture inside the rice fields it is necessary to do a rather demanding trek. The path is very narrow and steep and along the road there are steps of various heights that put even the most athletic tourists to the test. Despite this, the Tegalalang rice fields are one of the most scenic places in Bali where you can see and photograph unique nature corners.
The landscape is enriched by the bright green color of the plants in contrast with the blue of the sky. The view from above of these terraces, sculpted by man in an almost perfect way, is a scenario that leaves you speechless. It is a perfect location to take a photo using the landscape of the rice fields that extend as far as the eye can see.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Within the island of Bali, in the Tabanan area, there are the rice fields of Jatiluwih declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These rice paddies are completely different from those of Tegallalang. In fact, despite being made up of huge terraces carved into the slope of Mount Batukaru, they are located in a very large and flat area. They are easily accessible by anyone and can be visited through various paths that cross them.
About halfway along the route, we arrive at a huge wooden statue, which depicts the Dewi Sri rice goddess, to whom the peasants dedicate constant offers asking to protect their harvest.
Along the narrow streets there are many stalls of the locals selling their packaged rice and other local specialties, an excellent opportunity to contribute to the island’s economy.
The Subak irrigation system
The irrigation system used is particular and unique, called subak, which dates back to the 9th century and combines practical and cultural aspects. The water that comes from the source, first flows into the canals through the temples and then reaches the terraced cultivated land. Water management is done in a democratic way to allow the whole community to benefit from it and above all to make the most of it. Since 2012 this ancient irrigation system, unique in the world, has been included in the UNESCO world heritage.
Work in the rice fields
My visit to the rice fields of Bali has allowed me to understand how rice is a fundamental resource for the lives of these people. I saw men and women bent on planting seeds, controlling the growth of each plant and carefully watering them.
I have learned that rice seedlings must be transplanted to another area when they grow and then removed from the ground when the grains begin to darken. Despite the physical fatigue that these people have to face every day, I perceived a great simplicity and harmony in their gestures. Something that many Westerners who live in much richer conditions are missing.
In recent years, the possibility of staying in harmoniously inserted hotels in the context of rice fields is starting to develop. A great choice for those who want to enjoy this show at various times of the day. You can find more information at this link www.kuwarasan.com