Most visitors to Ubud have no idea that they ar in the regency or country of Gianyar nor that Bali province is divided into eight counties each with substantial autonomy from the government at the island capital of Denpasar.Yet for the visitor to cross the invisible border into Gianyar is to enter a distinctive world or architecture and tradition where the richness and antiquity of Balinese culture is celebrated every day.
The Director of Tourism in Gianyar,Agung Ary,was born in Ubud with links to the royal palace and his pride in the county of his birth is deep,infectious and inspiring.What he says is all the more remarkable for the matter of fact way in which he says it.’’Gianyar has many tourists objects and destinastion.’’he begins like the good bureaucrat he is but then amzes by reeling off an apparently endless list of attractions-“religion, ceremonies, culture, art, performances, festival, palaces, temples, museums, galleries,Taman Nusa Indonesia in miniature park,adventure tourism such as white water rafting,cycling,trekking,Bali Zoo Park,Bali Elephant Safari Park,Bali Bird Park.”
‘Then there are the daily lives of our people:their villages and their homes where visitors are always welcome to look and their work in the fields.Every village is different and has its own special days and ceremonies.”Some village have become’art village’ such as Celuk, Mas, Sukawati, Kemenuh, Payangan, Kedewaton, Sayan, Lod Tunduh, Nyuh Kuning, Pejeng, Bedulu,Tampaksiring and,of course,many artists live there”. “What visitors derive from Gianyar depends on what they want but there s something for almost everybody.”
The fame of the art and culture centre of Ubud develoved around painting a century ago and there are many serious artists living in the regency.”Gianyar is the artistic soul of Bali .We make a festival of art out life. Even our priests are artists . Once you come here you feel the spiritual power and have a good feeling yourself.”It’s hard to doubt him whent he says softly that in his opinion”Gianyar should be the centre of tourist interest in Bali.” Laughing he adds:”we even have a beach,at keramas,on the east coast,for surfing its one of the best beaches in the world with good waves where Oakley holds international championships.”
To the people of Gianyar ,the areas around the Pakerisan and petanu Rivers are the places where Balinese civilization began.Here can be found the oldest subak irigated wet rice fields in Bali dating back a thousand years and recognized by UNESCO as a World heritage Landspace.The life-giving waters of the Gianyar river valley flow south from the great crater lake of Batur , a favourite destinations for tourists who may never have seen an active volcano as well as a favourite dawn adventure to climb Mount Batur and watch the sun rise out of the night dark to bathe world in golden light.The rivers Ayung and wos flow together in Ubud at Campuhan marking the spiritually charged spot discovered 1,200 yearsn ago by the Indian holy man Marharishi Markandya and marking the beginnings of Ubud.(BTN/Ist)