How Water and Springs Play an Important Role in Balinese Tradition …
Strolling along a river in Bali, one might stumble upon a temple that is named Pura Beji. Just like other temples in Bali, it is made of black stones. However, since Pura Beji is nestled by a spring, the original color of the stones has faded through time as they are now covered with moss. Thus the stones seem to be turning green and look more striking under the sunlight.
Almost every village in Bali has its own Pura Beji. This temple is built to honor Dewa Wishnu, the God who preserves the whole universe, and the fact that water is one of the most important elements of life as no living creature can survive more than three days without it. The Balinese believe that Dewa Wishnu can help smooth the water’s flow, and because of this a statue of Dewa Wishnu stands at almost every spring in Bali.
Water also plays an important role in most Balinese traditions and ceremonies. Take a look at melukat, for instance. This ceremony uses holy water to cleanse the mind, body and soul from all negative energy. The use of water in ceremonies like melukat is one of the reasons why the Balinese always strive to preserve the springs in their villages.
To help them collect the fresh water, they construct pipes at the spring. Since the Balinese have a high sense of art, they also create statues with intricate details at the end of the pipelines. Some pipes are adorned with a dragon statue, while others are with a lion or tiger statue. The pipes end at the mouth of these statues so it looks as if these animals – which symbolize strength – have water flowing out of their mouths.
To preserve water, the Balinese also plant big trees like banyan trees for example, which can hold water in their roots. Not only do these trees give a positive impact to the environment by helping to cleanse the water, they also prevent mudslides during the rainy season. These trees also become home to the wild animals in the area.