Monday, 22 August 2011

watching the rice growing in Bali ....

Have you ever sat on the back verandah and watched the rice growing?
Well, in Bali you can. Seriously, we sat on the back verandah of the villa - where we stayed in Bali recently - and we could have sat there all day long just "watching the rice growing"!  Bali is incredibly relaxing and peaceful and I could have sat there watching the sun set, the cows grazing or the rice growing, it was just so beautiful.
Images above were taken from Bahagia Park in Bali - August 2011

Rice is the main crop grown in Indonesia, China, Thailand and many other Asian countries. In many places in the world, rice is the staple, or main, food. It is a plant that requires plenty of water and heat. It is well suited to the tropical climate of Indonesia. On Java, the rains are so plentiful that it is possible to grow three or more rice crops a year. In Bali, rice crops are planted twice each year.

Rice is the staple in Bali and the Balinese people’s expertise in growing it is a big part of the reason for their developed culture. Being able to produce large amounts of rice enabled the Balinese to spend time in artistic and cultural pursuits.

Rice production start in the sawah (rice field). Rice seed is planted in a protected bed. While the seedlings mature, the farmer ploughs the fields using a water buffalo. The sawah is prepared by flooding, ploughing and leveling the field, a process that is made no easier in the intense tropical heat.
When rice seedlings start to mature, they are pulled and transplanted by hand to the sawah, where they are planted in rows, about a foot apart. In the various stages of maturing, the sawah is flooded and dried to maximize growth of the rice plants (padi). 

Harvesting comes when the rice plants are a meter tall and turning yellow. Whereas the first stages of rice growing are done by men, it is the women who harvest, using a small palm-held knife, so as not to scare Dewi Sri, the Goddess of rice production.

The rice stalks are threshed right there in the field, with the separated rice seeds now called beras. In traditional villages, the beras is kept in an elevated rice barn (lumbung), to protect it from wet weather and rats. The last stage of the rice production cycle is burning the stalks, which creates an alkaline ash. 

the above images of the rice fields was taken in the following area (marked in red) of Kerobokan in Bali:
The rituals of the cycle of planting, maintaining, irrigating, and harvesting rice enrich the cultural life of Bali beyond a single staple can ever hope to do. At the beginning of planting time, after the water buffaloes walk the rice fields several times to prepare them, ceremonies are held to carry the young stems of rice that have been nurtured in a special nursery. 

On each section of the rice fields, the corner nearest to Gunung Agung will receive the honor to be the first place to receive the young stems of rice. The water level in each section is perfect; little streams of water effortlessly flow from the highest section up on top of the hill to the very bottom section. 

The planning and responsibility of the irrigation and planting schedule are arranged through subak, a Balinese system that ties together rice cultivation with its water temple system. Historical evidence dates this system to around the 11th century, yet the yield per acre of a Balinese rice field is about the highest in the world! 

Before planting, throughout growing time, at harvesting, ceremonies are held and offerings are presented to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. In the middle of rice fields far from the village, you often find little shrines with neatly presented flowers, fruit, and offerings for Dewi Sri. 

We saw rice growing on the main street and in between private homes in the Kerobokan area of Bali....

 And the vista of beautiful rice fields will always be in our memory.

Other blog posts on our visit to Bali are:



1 comment:

cajunsis said...

Bali was a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for bringing me back there. Loved the rice fields too!