Saturday, July 18, 2015




Batuan is a village about 30 minutes drive from UBUD. It is located on main DENSAPAR- UBUD Road . This village is a hub of Traditional Balinese Art . So many families of Painters and Artists engaged in painting and sculpting work. Galleries selling Batuan style paintings and so many shops selling intricately chiseled stone sculptures . Buddha in various poses , Fat Buddha , Ganesha, Rama Sita , Lakshmi , Arjuna on chariot with Sri Kres’na ( Krishana ),Demons carved on stones , Dragons , Elephants , Birds and Wild animals and everything that you would like to see or buy.

                                                                 ( Batuan Village  )

There are three distinct Traditional schools of Balinese Paintings known as UBUD school , SANUR School and the famous BATUAN school. Batuan paintings are known world over .Apart from presenting Religious ethos of Balinese people , these paintings also depict ordinary life scenes with comic touches . Batuan painters were pioneers of Miniature art in Bali with too much emphasis on details . 
For centuries , these painters and craftsmen worked  directly  Temple Priests and Rulers. This engagement   provided them with little space or room for  personal expression through what they created. This art experienced a dramatic turn with the arrival of Europeans sometime around 1900 AD. Many artists from west stayed and studied Balinese Art and were influenced by it. They also passed on western styles and forms to the local Artists . Though some local artists from UBUD and SANUR schools absorbed the western influences and expressed it in their work but  By and large,  Batuan artists  remained focused on their Traditional forms .I was informed by a Museum official  that prominent Artists of Batuan school like Ida Bagus Made ( 1915-1999 ), Dewa Nyoman Mura (1877-1950) and Dewa Putu Kebes (1874-1962) were Brahmans though a good number on Non Brahmans also joined this tradition .

There are 7 main Art Museums in Bali known as Agung Rai Museum of Art , Museum Sidik jari, Blanco Renaissance Museum, Museum Rudana , Museum le Mayeur , Setia Darma house of Puppets and Masks and Neka art Musuems .
 I was impressed by the collections at MUSEUM PURI LUKISAN whereat you find a variety of the rich Heritage of  Modern and Traditional Balinese Art.The Museum was officially inaugurated in 1956 . Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati ( The King of Ubud ) ,  Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati ( Brother of the king of Ubud ) , Walter spies  and  Rudolf Bonnet ( First Curator) have contributed immensely in creation of this Grand Museum.This Museum houses Wood sculptures and  paintings done in Batuan , Sanur and Ubud styles . You can see work of Ida bagus Nyana ( 1912-1985 ) . I Gusti Nyoman Lempud ( 1862-1978 ) Anak Agung Gde Sobrat ( 1919-1992 ), Ida Bagus Made ( 1915-1999 ), I Gusti Made Deblog ( 1910-1968 ) and so many other prominent painters and wood sculptors .

Western Artists have contributed immensely in exposing and Innovating Balinese Art. I am informed that Contribution of Walter Spies , Theo Meier , Le Mayeur , Rudolf Bonnet and Don Antonio Blanco is unforgettable and enormous . In fact Antonio Blanco , who landed at Bali in 1952 ( fell in love with Ni Rondji , the great Balinese Dancer whom he married and who remained his life long companion ) was a Hollywood actor and a painter who lived in Bali after his marriage. Rondji was his Model  and wife . His work is preserved in Blanco Renaissance Museum that he set up in UBUD. His Son Mario Blanco is also a talented artist .

Le Mayeur  arrived in Bali in 1932 and decided to settle in this island . He also fell in love with a Legong dancer Ni Nyoman Pollok whom he finally married in 1935. His work is preserved in Le Mayeur Museum .

I found the Batuan paintings done mostly in Black and white colors .These paintings continue to decorate various Art Museums in Central UBUD. At a personal level, I was highly impressed by the work of Great master “ Ida Bagus Made “ from Batuan school .His admirers included President Sukarno and some well known  world leaders . 
  (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali  ) 
   (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali ) 

  (  A Paintings of Ida Bagus Made Decorating the walls of Museum Puri Lukisan   In Ubud Bali  )

                                          ( A wood sculpture inside Museum Puri Lukisan )

                          ( A sculpture inside Museum Puri Lukisan )
“ Sir BATUAN and UBUD have become the soul of Balinese culture and Art now. You must come to BATUAN on a full moon day . That is an auspicious day when GAMBUAH dance is held .” 

so said our Driver Noora (  I Gusti Ngurah ) as we Move toward Batuan Temple.


The Batuan temple or PURA DESA BATUAN is a fine piece of Balinese architecture .The temple is believed to be about 1000 years old .You need to enter only in SARONG ( waist cloth or Dhoti ) that is provided free by the Temple management ..Donation is optional and there is no Entrance fee / ticket .The temple has a stylized open gate that is demonstrative of Balinese PURA ( Temple ) Architecture . It is a grand complex that has the usual outer area , Middle area and the main Temple area which is known as Nista Mandala , Madhya mandala and Utama Mandala respectively.. The stone carvings are intricate and done with artistic precision..I am informed that after every six months (on a full moon day ), a public fair is held a this Temple . The Temple is dedicated to Trisakti that is Brahma Wisnu ( Vishnu ) and Mahesa( Shiva ) . The entrance has the Guardian statues that look like demons . This is typical of every Balinese PURA or temple. The symbolic three storey Meru ( Meru Mountain ) and a place for worshiping SANG HYANG WIDHI (Balinese God ) is also provided inside the Temple complex. As usual , you find a place for Musicians or Gamelan ensemble.

                             ( The demonic figure or the protector outside the Temple Gate )
                ( Outside main Gate of the Temple )
                                  ( Inside the Temple )
                                                     ( Notice Board at the Temple )
                                        ( Inside the Temple )
                                               ( The place for  Devotional Music players  Inside the temple )
                                                                 ( stone carvings inside the temple )
                             ( SARON ...The Musical instrument  with Metal plates struck by a hammer )                                                     


“ Balinese music is very old and I should say as old as the human settlement on this Island . GAMELAN orchestra is associated with JAVA AND BALI civilization. Gamelan is a combination of Some percussion instruments and is usually played in entire Indonesia . In Bali , Gamelan music is played in courts , Temples , During Marriages functions , as an accompanying music of traditional Dances , During performance of plays based on Ramayana and Mahabharata , during Puppet shows , Religious ceremonies and various public functions . This music ensemble does not follow set notations as in western classical music . Gamelan players do not follow any conductor . These trained musicians keep listening to each other to remain together during the performance . They maintain the tempo and melody during a performance . The Drum player has a key role in ensuring that the musicians stay together .The instruments used are Metal Gongs , Metalphones , Chimes , Drums , Bamboo flutes , SARON ( Instruments with Metal Bars struck by small Wooden hammer ) with or without accompanying vocalists .We have a Raaga system KUSUMA is a Raaga that is generally asked to be played by connoisseurs from Europe and USA.I can say that the soul of the Gamelan has a definite touch of Indian Classical Music. Our KENDHANG or DRUM that is so vital in registering the BEAT is simply Indian DOLAK of Northern India or MRIDANGA of Southern India . It is actually a combination of three words GAH ,MEH and LAHN and pronounced as GAMELAN. Gamelan also means to hammer in Indonesian language, It has now traveled to Philippines , Thailand , Malaysia and other south east Asian countries . Some groups in west also play Gamelan music now.” 

So said A. Sidharatha , a musician  inside the Batuan Temple complex.

While Thanking Noora , our driver for introducing the knowledgeable musician to us ,I put a direct question to him.

“ Noora, Have you ever heard any Indian Musician?. “

“No Sir . But I can remember two names . Robi Sankara and Zeikir Hussain . Some years back I was engaged by a  Film company as their Driver . They were shooting live Ramayana performance and also went for shooting to ULAWUTU Complex . They had Two CDs of Indian Music By Robi Sankara ( Ravi Shankar ) Seitaar ( Sitar ) and Zeikir Hussain ( Zakir Hussain ) Drum ( Tabla ) Music. They played this at Uluwatu before a Gamelan ensemble and made them to perform something like the CD music . Very Good Music . I liked that . That is only I know about Indian Music.”

We are still inside the Batuan Temple complex. A group of Tourists from Japan are keenly listening about the Gamelan music that a guide is explaining . We also join to listen. The Guide then picks up the small wooden Hammer and asks a SARON Player ( who was inside the Temlpe ) to strike the Bronze plates in succession . Lo and Behold ! It creates sounds like Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni . Unable to resist myself I seek permission from the group leader to make some addition to what the Guide had already said . And the Japanese are more than happy to know that I am from India. 

“ Do you know about a place called Kashmir in India ?” I ask .

“ We visit Taj Mahal , Udaipur , Kerala and Mumbai in 2007. Very good Ayurveda treatment and Spa in Kerala . Genuine and reasonable  rates with trained people .The beautiful palaces of Udaipur and the lakes in desert . The houseboats of kerala . So lovely. We like all. “

“ Thanks . So should I start ? “

“. Sure !  Please “ was the common response .

“ What this gentleman played on SARON sounds like seven basic notes of Indian classical Music . We call it seven basic SWARA of the scale in Sanskrit. We believe that these sounds have come to us from animal kingdom. We also believe that the Human body is made of seven CHAKRAS . and accordingly each SWARA is linked to one chakra of our body. These notes are also known as SARGAM . And SARGAM is what you call SOLFEGE in western classical music .These Sa, Re Ga, Ma Pa Da and Ni represent symbolic and short names of Shadaj ,Rishab,Gandhara , Madhyama, Panchama , Dhaivata and Nishada respectively .This is the base of Indian Classical Music .” I add .
“ O ! That is so good . “

“Thank you “

The Group leader smiles at this addition from our side . So is the local guide happy. They shake hands with us and keep saying ” Thank you . Thank you very much “. The Group leader takes our snaps and says 

“Bye Bye “ . 

Waving our raised hands , we also demonstrate happiness and thankfulness and move ahead …..

( Autar Mota )


Some words from Bahasa Bali (Balinese language) that I picked up during my recent tour of Bali many Sanskrit words with words from Bahasa Indonesia .Bahasa Bali belongs to Malayo Austronesian language family of South East Asia.
Husband.....Suami ( swami of Sanskrit)
Father...... Bapa
Priest or Pandit.,.....Pedanda
Son. ........Putra
Daughter......oka Istri
Grand child.......Putoo
Sea ...........Segara (Sanskrit saagara)
Mountain... Giri
House of Brahmana....Greya(Graha Sanskrit)
Yes sure.......Patut
Thursday.. Wrespati
One ,two,three......siki,dua,telu
Boiled Rice....Nasi
Donation..... Dana. Punia
Roadside Coffee/Cold
Drink/Snacks shop.........Warrung
Salamat Pagi........Good Morning.
Snake skin fruit........Salak
Pine apple.......Nanas
You are
Welcome...... Sama sama
Mutton Tikka or
Skewed meat pieces........Saa'te
Yellow Rice
With spices........Nasi Bira (Kashmiri Tahar)
Beautiful...... Ayu.

All Photographs clicked by Autar Mota ....July 2015

(Autar Mota )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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