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A refreshing day in Evergreen Bali

January 17, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Bali never seizes to amaze as a destination even after several visits. Its rare mix of nature, culture and art rendered by smiling hospitality throws-in a different aura every time. Massive Garuda Wisnu Kenchana, new addition to its mythical statue series, swinging at the green rice fields of step farms, wondering whether to taste the coffee brewed from the beans picked through the excreta of the Civet cat and of course, enjoying the beaches and sunsets have re-assured our choice of the beautiful destination.

Rice, the Balinese’s and the ever growing tourists’ staple, comes from the green paddy farms spread across the island measuring 153 kilometres wide and 112 kilometres long. Charged with an insight into the balanced lifestyle of Balinese after an early morning walk through countryside plains of paddy fields in Ubud, we travelled 10 kilometres up north to witness spectacular rice terraces of  Tegallalang. Grit of farmers in striving to farm on even the small patches up the hills is admirable, for it was pretty taxing to just hike down to the valley below for closer views. Artistically created bamboo and hay framed seats for taking pictures doubled-up as beautiful rest stops.

We left Tegallalang to nearby Alas Harum Bali for another experience of terrace farms. Famed Bali swings offer closer views of the terraces, if only one can relax and enjoy the panorama, rather than scream and screech with anxiety, which we, like most, ended up doing. A dozen plus different flavoured teas and coffees presented neatly, along with explanation, cooled our adrenaline after the high swinging experience. Identifying those flavoured herbs and spices in the adjoining garden was a brain teaser. Luwak coffee,  the recent attraction of Bali, tasted like any good coffee. The story of its making though  is fascinatingly presented.

From rice fields to fried rice, nasi goreng was tasty along with tempeh and fritter accompaniments at Bale Udang Mang Engking  Ubud. The traditional Indonesian seafood restaurant surprised us with its vegetarian servings. They were innovative in serving coconut water in its shell that was embossed with the restaurant’s emblem. Visual treat though, came from the elaborate bamboo decoration at the entrance of the restaurant.

For food for thought a la Balinese, we head to GWK Cultural Park. GWK stands for Garuda Wisnu Kenchana, recently unveiled mega statue of God Wisnu riding on Garuda. Kenchana means ‘gold’. We have observed through our trips that Balinese have a close affinity to gods; whether it’s  through the first prayers and offerings at the home temple or passing by those prominent squares in the city that have larger than life statues of Rama, Arjuna,  Baruna, Ghatotkacha, Karna or another epic Hindu character or during regular day prayers at one of the 4000 plus temples on the island. GWK seems like a golden crown to the Balinese triste with Gods.

The vast cultural park has many activities that can easily stretch the visit to a few hours. We climbed the stairs at the entrance to be awed by the big, beautifully carved Garuda in volcanic stone. It’s almost as big as an aircraft, which is operated by the country’s national airlines that is named after the mythical bird. It looked amazing from different angles with the backdrop of blue sky as and also with big stone eggs nearby. GWK, God Wisnu sitting on another big, flying Garuda was visible from far.  It was pleasant walking across the vast rectangle space in between high stone ridges. Bicycles, segways and buggy services are available for exploring the complex. We couldn’t  climb up to GWK statue that sits on a high stone plinth, putting it among the tallest statues of the world as we had to go for sunset view.

A day on the island of Bali has to end with the sunset view at one of the many beaches. Continuing our tryst with the cliffs, we descended the cliff in a funicular tram for a fun filled evening at Sundays Beach Club in southern Bali. Lazing on the bean bags, clicking setting sun by the beach cliff, walking along the beach in twilight to be caressed by occasionally hitting waves and enjoying a two course Italian dinner brought another memorable day in Bali to an end.

The island remains a haven of peace, happiness and festivity due to its ancient philosophy that governs an individual’s lifestyle to bring about harmonious relationships with people, environment and the creator. Abundance of natural resources, variety cultural heritage and its happy, hospitable  people make Bali the tourist gateway to Indonesia and an evergreen destination.

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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