Thursday, June 27, 2013
Indonesia: Jatiluwih Rice Terraces & the Cultural Landscape of Bali Province
I went to three sites early this month. These are the Tirta Empul Temple (which I also got to visit in 2009), the Royal Water Temple Pura Taman Ayun, and the subak of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, said to be the best-preserved of the subak included in the inscription. My immersion in Jatiluwih was quite profound thanks to the invitation of Heru and Grace Tarjoto. The Tarjotos, who own a rice mill in Jatiluwih, contribute quite a lot to the promotion and distribution of Jatiluwih red rice. And Grace, a Filipina who has lived in Bali for so many years, is the honorary consul of the Philippines in Bali.
Towering over Jatiluwih Village are three grand mountains namely Mount Batukaru (2276m), Mount Sangyang (2,093m) and Mount Poohoen (2,063m). Unfortunately, clouds beat me to the view by a good thirty minutes or so. Some photographers stay overnight in Jatiluwih just to capture the scene of the three mountains with fertile rice terraces below.
Jatiluwih Village is further divided into seven communities or tempek that form three subak. Subak Gunung Sari has Umakayu (38ha) and Gunung Sari Desa (45ha). Subak Jatiluwih has Central Jatiluwih (90ha), Besikalong (40ha) and Kesambih (25ha). While Subak Kedamaian has Umadui (30ha) and Kedamaian Utara (35ha).
But with the UNESCO inscription, tourists have started to arrive. There's a construction frenzy for tourist accommodation and facilities in Central Jatiluwih which if unregulated, might erase the charm and essence of this beautiful village. I was also told stories of the local government confiscating funds raised by the village through entrance fees, leaving nothing for the community for restoration and cultural promotion. The local politicians say that the collections are rightfully theirs because the village is in their jurisdiction.