Bali Aga

Tenganan Travel Blog

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This small village in East Bali is renowned for its unique culture. Yes, unique even for Bali! This village is considered to be part of Bali Aga, the original culture and beliefs of Bali before the Majapahit Javanese Hindus converted the island and merged its own cultural beliefs and practices into the Bali Aga culture. The average tourist may not recognize this (or even care?), but Tenganan is designed as Balinese towns were laid out thousands of years ago, walled in and its architectural symmetry is determined according to religious and cultural beliefs. In theory, the Bali Aga culture has remained strong over the centuries by being anti-social with the Hindu Balinese. However, this did not stop me and other tourists from walking straight into town. Tourists come here for the (technically impressive, yet overhyped) double ikat batik weaving. The way they do it (and all without electricity) is very tricky and takes a really long time to do it. And that's why they charge hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars to tourists who want to buy one. At the time I visited, though, they were in the process of buying an electric generator to power a credit card swipe machine, which (without the Internet or phone connections) could be brought into the bank in town once a week and deposited into the weaver's bank account. I would not be surprised to find this town lined with tourist shops and accepting credit cards left and right these days! Oh ya...I almost got killed by a water buffalo that chased me through the town center. The local people weren't going to do anything to stop it, of course, because it was considered holy. Fortunately, they cannot climb, and I surprised myself to see how quickly I could move!

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