Traditional village of Penglipuran in Bangli

photo: Sinar Harapan
Penglipuran is a traditional village built according to Balinese traditions that have developed over hundreds of years. It is located at an altitude of 625 meters above sea level and spans over a hundred hectares, including rice fields and a bamboo forest with trails for trekking and mountain biking.
Penglipuran still preserves its culture in accordance with the principles of the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.
The name Penglipuran has several explanations. According to one, "pengeling" means "to remember," and "pura" means "temple, ancestral place." According to another explanation, "penglipura" comes from the words "pelipur," which means "comfort," and "lipur," which means "misfortune." So, in combination, Penglipuran means a place for solace.
Most buildings in this village are made of bamboo, and the roofs are covered with bamboo tiles.
The village has been recognized as one of the cleanest in the world and has received an award for environmental conservation from the Indonesian government. It is not permitted to park vehicles inside the village.
Women of Penglipuran gather periodically to sort garbage. Organic waste is used for fertilizer, while plastic is sent for recycling.
In the central part of the village, symbolically called "the body" (pawongan), there are 76 houses of local residents, located on both sides of the central street.
Visitors can enter any courtyard in the village and observe the daily life of the residents. It is not considered impolite, and the courtyard gates are open.
Each plot of land owned by a villager measures 800-900 square meters and is inhabited by one Balinese family, mostly farmers and artists. They live modestly, cooking over open fires and using firewood.
Almost every house has either a souvenir shop or a traditional eatery (warung). The food here is simple and inexpensive but quite tasty. The shop owners weave baskets and carve wooden figurines. In many courtyards, nuts and coffee are available for purchase.
Here you can see the elements of a traditional Balinese house. Typically, it consists of several structures: sleeping houses for different generations (all living in one courtyard), a separate kitchen building, utility buildings, ceremonial pavilions, and a family temple. The roofs of the houses are covered with palm and bamboo leaves or tiles.
The layout of the houses and the entire village is designed with orientation towards the sacred Mount Agung.
Bamboo is one of the primary building materials for structures in Penglipuran. Residents use 4-5 layers of bamboo, bound together, to construct roofs and make room-dividing walls. However, due to the excessive bamboo harvesting, residents of Penglipuran have started using modern building materials.
The village community believes that the bamboo forest did not grow naturally but was planted by their ancestors. Therefore, bamboo is considered a symbol of their historical roots. The bamboo forest area in Penglipuran covers 38 hectares and consists of 15 bamboo species.
Each family head in this village owns eight acres of land for building a house, forty acres of farmland, seventy acres of bamboo forest, and twenty-five acres of rice fields. According to Penglipuran's rules, this property cannot be transferred to anyone without the knowledge of the village residents.
On the side of the village facing away from Agung and towards the ocean, there is a temple dedicated to the deceased (pura dalem) and a cemetery. On the side facing Agung, there is a temple dedicated to the main deities (pura puseh). There is also another temple in the village center, which is considered the central point for the village's foundation (pura desa). This temple layout is traditional for all of Bali and is called "Three Mandalas."
The main deity temple in Penglipuran is called Pura Penataran Desa Pekraman Panglipuran.
The traditional Balinese cremation ceremony for the deceased is not performed here. They are simply buried in the cemetery.
The village is most vibrant before the Balinese "New Year" Galungan when each house displays a penjor, a bamboo pole decorated with rice straw decor, at its gate.
According to the 2012 census, 980 people lived in the Penglipuran village.
Most people in Penglipuran marry residents of their own village to preserve their lineage. Therefore, most of the population is related by blood. If a man from Penglipuran marries a woman from another clan/family outside the Penglipuran village, he still has to fulfill his duties as a member of the Penglipuran village society.
The entrance ticket to the village for one adult costs 50,000 rupees.
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