In the midst of modernization, the rich arts and culture of Bali are vulnerable to being eroded and forgotten. Without an awareness of preserving cultural heritage, it will certainly be difficult for us to maintain the authenticity and characteristics of Bali island, those aspects which are already well known overseas. In the theme ‘Dwellings’, Eco Warriors were invited to recognize and preserve the cultural heritage that exists in the immediate environment where they live. One of the activities was to visit the local ‘Puri’ and ‘Pura’.

On August 3, 2021, dressed in Balinese traditional clothing, the Eco Warriors visited the Puri Agung Payangan and Puri Kauhan. ‘Puri’ is the designation for the residence or palace of the kings and nobles of the past and present. The rain did not dampen their enthusiasm to walk around observing the art and buildings in the Puri.

Accompanied by Tjokorda Gede Pemayun from Puri Kauhan, they were introduced to the art of Puri architecture. They listened to the explanation of the names and functions of each building in the Puri. They also learn ‘Asta Kosala Kosali’ which is how to designate different areas of a place or land for houses and sacred buildings. Luckily, they were also allowed to see one of the Lontars stored in the Puri. A Lontar is an ancient manuscript made from Lontar palm leaves (Borassus flabellifer). The activities at the Puri finished with a casual question and answer session while enjoying hot tea and praying together.

On August 18, 2021, thirteen Eco Warriors visited Pura Murwa Bhumi which is one of the oldest temples in Bali, founded by Maharsi Markandeya, a holy teacher in charge of teaching Hinduism around a thousand years ago. The scent of incense and the chanting of prayers accompanied their worship at Pura Murwa Bhumi.

After praying, they had the opportunity to discuss with one of the leaders of the religious ceremony the history of Pura Murwa Bhumi. Several of them asked about the meaning of the reliefs in the temple buildings and the functions of the various buildings. The activity finished with a visit to Pura Sukamerih, another temple located across the road from Pura Murwa Bhumi.

Starting with small steps to understand the local culture that surrounds their place of residence, our Eco Warriors strive to understand and preserve their cultural heritage so that future generations can still enjoy the richness of this beautiful Balinese culture. (Ketut Desy)

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