Bali – not just for tourism, but archaeology too

Unlike the rest of the nation, the Indonesian island of Bali is somewhat of an anomaly because of its strong Hindu population and culture. Balinese religion has remained largely intact and true to the Hindu-Buddhist traditions that dominated the region before the arrival of Islam. Besides being a popular regional tourist destination, the island of Bali also contains some significant archaeological treasures – including a local version of the Valley of the Kings.

Goa Gajah, Bali. CC image by Kumasawa
Creative Commons image by kumasawa.

Tracing the sites of Bali’s historical kingdoms
The Jakarta Post, 08 December 2007

While you are in Bali experience non-touristy activities by tracing the island’s richest archaeological zones of Bedulu in Gianyar regency, around 65 kilometers northeast of Nusa Dua.

Located between parallel rivers — the Pakerisan or River of the Short Dagger and the Petanu or River of the Curse, Bedulu village is rich in ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, pre-historic relics, and the ruins of stone-carved “palaces,”. The area was once known as Bali’s “valley of kings”

Here you find fragments of Bali’s monumental kingdoms. Evidence, dating back to the Bronze age, of the island’s first human habitation is believed to have been unearthed here. And this is where Bali’s rich culture and traditions were born.

Caves, temples, prehistoric remains… you can read more about Bali’s archaeological heritage here. it seems there’s a lot more to Bali than just the bars and beaches. Has anyone been seen these archaeological sites before?

Related Books:
A Short History of Bali: Indonesia’s Hindu Realm (Short History of Asia series, A)
>Indonesia: Peoples and Histories by J. G. Taylor
Cultural Sites of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia by J. Dumarcay and M. Smithies
Bali and Angkor by G. Gorer

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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