Reiskult in Bali

Rice cult in Bali

Many people are familiar with Indonesia primarily through the island of Bali. Of course, a visit to the popular holiday island should not be missing from my travel trip. Unlike most tourists, the beach holiday wasn't the main focus for me. The Hindu population of Bali maintains fascinating religious and cultural traditions surrounding the grain of rice. At the center is the so-called Subak system, which dates back to the 9th century. This system connects Bali's two most valuable assets, water and rice. The cool water flows through a temple complex, is consecrated and then distributed to the farming community's fields. Numerous small temples border each field, because in traditional rice cultivation almost every cultivation step is accompanied by religious rituals.

The rice fields in Bali are fenced in by small temples

This almost spiritual aura is broken on the UNESCO rice terraces - where numerous holidaymakers, heavily armed with their cameras, happily trample through the cornfields. A strange feeling comes over me - will the hotel and restaurant miles crowd out rice cultivation to such an extent that one day it will only be possible here as a tourist attraction?

The tourists discover the UNESCO rice field

The first indication of this is perhaps the much-praised rice goddess Dewi Sri. Unfortunately I couldn't discover these in the rice field, but only on a bottle of rice schnapps. The goddess doesn't stop at hard liquor when it comes to delighting tourists.

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