Friday, December 2, 2011


Jakarta, Dec 2, 2011 (ANTARA) - Bali also known as the Island of Gods and the Island of A Thousand Temples, has very rich Hindu-predominantly traditions and culture.

Spiritual activities are reflected in every facet of life in Bali, which has a lot of traditional wisdom to offer to the world.

Therefore, it is not surprising if Bali has proposed four sites to be inscribed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)`s World Heritage List.

UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

Since 2007, Bali has nominated the four sites, respectively lake Batur located in Bangli District, Ayun Park Temple at Mengwi sub district, Badung District, Catur Angga Batukaru covering Lake Buyan, Lake Tamblingan, Mt Batukaru and terraced rice field in Tabanan District, and Pakerisan river basin in Gianyar District.

If Bali successfully meets all the requirements, the four places will be named as "Bali Cultural Landscape Subak System", because the four sites philosophically are integrated and connected especially in the "subak" traditional management process for irrigation.

UNESCO will consider the four sites proposed by the Bali Province to be included onto the World Heritage list in May 2012, Ketut Suastika, the head of the Bali provincial tourism office, said in Denpasar, Bali, recently.

"Representatives of countries sitting in the UNESCO Committee will decide whether the four places nominated by Bali can be recognized as World Heritage Sites," he said.

On October 13-17, 2011, a International Council on Monuments and Sites(ICOMOS)` team led by Augusto Villanonhad visited the four places in Bali for an evaluation as nominees of the World Heritage Sites.

The Indonesian government has set up the proposal drafting team since 2002, and the proposal has been revised several times at the request of UNESCO, Prof Dr I Wayan Windia, the secretary of the Bali Team for the World Cultural Heritage Proposal explained in Denpasar, last October 2011.

"After being revised several times and with the visit of the UNESCO expert team to Bali, hopefully the proposal of the four nominated sites could be final and approved by UNESCO," Prof Windia said.

According to Ketut Suastika, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, who visited Indonesia from November 19 to 25, 2011, welcomed the nominations after visiting the four proposed Balinese sites.

Irina visited Batukaru Temple, a unique and sacred mountain sanctuary, and the royal temple of Tabanan dynasty, located in the middle of the rain forest and beneath Mount Batukaru.

This temple is one of the biggest Hindu temples in Bali and was built to worship the deities of the surrounding mountains and lake, the UNESCO Jakarta Office said on its website.

Later she visited Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, which are located in the Regency of Tabanan, about 700 metres above the sea level. The site is managed by an elaborate community-based traditional irrigation system, known as the `subak` system, which symbolizes the Balinese Tri Hita Karana concept that binds Gods, human and nature together.

From Tabanan, she proceeded to to Taman Ayun Temple which was built in the 18th Century. The temple is influenced by both Balinese-Majapahit and Chinese styles, which gives it its uniqueness.

At the temple, the Director General`s delegates received an on-site briefing and were welcomed by a Sekar Jepun traditional dance.

The host, Anak Agung Prana, had explained that this important Royal Temple honours the many manifestations of the goddess of rice.

The Temple is also a centre for community gatherings and maintains a `spirit of togetherness in our culture`.

He stated that local wisdom can preserve culture and can encourage new cultural creations like wood carvings and dances. He also explained that the ancestral knowledge of the water management system enables the irrigation of all the rice fields.

Irina commended the local community for its dedication and appreciated all that they were doing to preserve their heritage for future generations.

"You are an excellent example of what Indonesia represents: a huge diversity, a dynamic country with long traditions; an impressive social and economic development that has reconciled heritage with modernity. I encourage you to protect and pass on this heritage to future generations," she stated.

She also said that one thing making the proposed Balinese places different from nominees in other countries is the fact that they have added value because they are living monuments.

Living monuments mean that the places are still being taken good care by the local communities, including by the village traditional authorities and the irrigation organization locally called "subak", Ketut explained.

"The UNESCO Committee will hold a meeting in Paris, France, in May 2012, to decide the recommendations from Mr Augusto Villanon," he said.

Irina made first official visit to Indonesia, among other things to open the 6th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Nusa Dua, Bali from November 22 to 29, 2011.

She also had an opportunity to visit Borobudur, which was built by a king of the Saliendra dynasty between AD 750 and 842. The Buddhist temple was restored with UNESCO`s help in the 1970s and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991, together with Prambanan Temple compounds.

Another Indonesian property inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage List in 1996 is Sangiran Early Man Site in Solo, Central Java, where the first hominid fossil was discovered during excavations from 1936 to 1941.

As for Indonesian natural sites, the World Heritage List has inscribed Komodo National Park (1991), Lorentz National Park (1999), Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (2004) and Ujung Kulon National Park (1991) . ***6***


(T.F001/A/F001/O001) 02-12-2011 15:25:09

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