While travelling in Bali, our excellent driver-cum-guide Wayan Gunaraja suggested a trip to his own home to see how locals live. Seeing an excellent opportunity to have a peek inside the Bali house to know more about local customs and Bali architecture we gladly agreed to spend an evening in his home. And glad we did this for it shows how different the Bali Hindus are from Indian Hindus.
The first thing you will notice in Bali is almost every house has BIG entry gate.They may have a small house with just 1 or 2 rooms but you will always find a BIG door. Their fascination with big gate depends on the way of thinking of society. Having a big gate is like a status symbol in Bali, the bigger the better! So no matter what they have inside that big entry gate, but they will make sure to have a big door decorated with magnificent carvings and paints and tiles. It looks as if you are entering some fort or palace.
The architecture is simple with the fairly large courtyard in the middle and rooms present around it. Every house has an open room without doors for the widowed head of the family. No couple is allowed to sleep in that room; which is reserved for either the grandfather or grandmother after the death of the respective spouse.
Bali people have great interest in decorating the walls with stone or cement carvings. These carving tiles design show some ancient story taken from their religious books. We found that they have similar story of Ramayan and Mahabharat, although the names of some of the characters have changed as compared to the Indian version of the story.
The head of the family is supposed to sleep on a raised decorated bed always after the death of spouse. It doesn’t matter by the gender; whether it’s the mother or father; but the condition is no couple can ever sleep on this raised decorated bed in the room without any doors.
Having a decorated temple is must have in every home in Bali. Again higher the size of temple, higher is the status of the family. Some times it’s so high that you have to stand on a ladder to worship. The main part of the temple where Bali people keep daily offerings to please God is always made of wood. The rest foundation can be built of stone carvings.
The offerings for worship usually have some flowers and sweets or any eatable wrapped in leaves with a strong perfumed smell.
Every house in Bali keep some devil masks on the highest part of the house. This is to avoid bad spirits coming to the house and doing some harm.
The head of the family avoids eating food made by modern technique using electricity or gas. They will eat food made by burning wood or charcoal.
The social status is very important in Bali culture. Our driver Wayan told his own story that he got married to his girlfriend after dating her for less than six months. The rule is if you make your girlfriend pregnant, you have to marry her. The social pressure is so high that one can not refuse to marry the girl once she is pregnant. His wife now holds his 3rd child in her hands; all three boys.
That’s the happy Bali family with husband, wife grandmother and kids.
Since the petrol is so damn cheap here we couldn’t resist taking a ride on local bike in the village to see some local surroundings.