The Most Famous Balinese Traditional Irrigation System

While spending your holiday in Bali, you will discover many amazing place. You have been visited many tourist destination such us Uluwatu Temple, Besakih Temple, Ubud, etc but have you heard about Subak? This island is famous for its unique system of irrigation. Guided and informed by religious values, it combines impressive feats of engineering with complex and elaborate social structures.


Subak is a community organization which was in charge of irrigation system applied in rice farming in Bali. Subak usually has a temple, it called Bedugul Temple or Uluncarik Temple specially set up by farmers and destined to prosperity and fertility goddess Dewi Sri. Subak irrigation system is governed by a leader who called by Pekaseh. A Subak consists of all the landowners – or their representatives- in a particular rice production area. The Subak is not only responsible for the construction and maintenance of canals, tunnels, aqueducts and dams, and for the distribution of water, but also coordinates the planting and organisation of ritual offerings and festivals.

subak1The overall subak system exemplifies the Balinese philosophical principle of Tri Hita Karana that draws together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. Subak temple rituals promote a harmonious relationship between people and their environment through the active involvement of people with ritual concepts that emphasize dependence on the life-sustaining forces of the natural world.

subak2Most subak possess written legal codes, called awig-awig, which detail the rights and responsibilities of subak membership. Awig-awig, or traditional customary laws and regulations, including subak management and the traditional protection and conservation of cultural properties are covered by regulations of Bali Province Number 5 (2005) Section 19, that clarify zoning for protected sacred sites such as temples, based on local awig-awig.

subak4UNESCO admitted Subak (Balinese Culture Landscape) be a World Heritage Site. The ratification held in the first hearing which took place in Saint Petersburg, Russia on 2012. If you want to see a subak irrigation system, you can visit Ceking Terrace in Tegalalang, Jatiluwih Rice Field, Busung Biu Rice Field in Buleleng. Those are the best place for exploring this unique irrigation system.


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