Bali is one of several islands in Indonesia country, famous with beautiful view and have 1000 pura's. The history of Bali covers a period from the Paleolithic to the present, and is characterized by migrations of people and cultures from other parts of Asia. In the 16th century, the history of Bali started to be marked by Western influence with the arrival of Europeans, to become, after a long and difficult colonial period under the Dutch, an example of the preservation of traditional cultures and a key touristic destination.
Today, contemporary Balinese style is known as one of the most popular Asian tropical architecture, much owed to the growth of tourism industry in Bali that create demands on Balinese-style houses, cottages, villas and hotels. Contemporary Balinese architecture combines traditional aesthetic principles, island's abundance of natural materials, famous artistry and craftmanship of its people, as well as international architecture influences, new techniques and trends.
Balinese architecture is a vernacular architecture tradition of Balinese people that inhabits volcanic island of Bali, Indonesia. The Balinese architecture is a centuries-old architectural tradition influenced by Balinese culture developed from Hindu influences through ancient Javanese intermediary, as well as pre-Hindu elements of native Balinese architecture.
Balinese architecture is developed from Balinese ways of life, their spatial organization, their communal-based social relationships, as well as philosophy and spirituality influenced its design; much owed to Balinese Hinduism. The philosophical and conceptual basis underlining development of Balinese traditional architecture includes several concepts such as :
- Tri Hita Karana: the concept of harmony and balance consists of three elements; atma (human), angga (nature), and khaya (gods). Tri Hita Karana prescribe three ways that a human beings must strive to nurture harmonious relationship with; fellow human beings, nature, and God.
- Tri Mandala: the rules of space division and zoning. Tri Mandala is spatial concept describing three parts of realms, from Nista Mandala — the outer and lower mundane less-sacred realm, Madya Mandala — the intermediate middle realm, to Utama Mandala — the inner and higher most important sacred realm. Sanga Mandala: also the rules of space division and zoning.
- The Sanga Mandala is the spatial concept concerning with directions that divide an area into nine parts according to eight main cardinal directions and central (zenith). These nine cardinal directions is connected to Hindu concept of Guardians of the directions, Dewata Nawa Sanga or nine guardian gods of directions that appear in Majapahit emblem Surya Majapahit. They are; Center: Shiva, East: Isvara, West: Mahadeva, North: Vishnu, South: Brahma, Northeast: Sambhu, Northwest: Sangkara, Southeast: Mahesora, and Southwest: Rudra.
- Tri Angga: the conception of hierarchy from microcosm, middle realm, and macrocosm. It is also connected to the next concept tri loka.
- Tri Loka: also the conception of hierarchy between three realms bhur (Sanskrit:bhurloka) lower realm of animals and demons, bhuwah (Sanskrit:bhuvarloka) middle realm of human, and swah (Sanskrit:svarloka) upper realms of gods and deities.
- Asta Kosala Kosali: the eight guidelines for architectural designs, which includes the shapes of niyasa (symbols) in pelinggih (shrine), pepalih (stages), its measurement units, shapes and size, also dictate appropriate decorations.
- Arga Segara or Kaja Kelod: the sacred axis between. arga or kaja (mountain) and segara or kelod (sea). Mountain region are considered as parahyangan, the abode of hyang or gods, middle plain in between are the realm of human, and the sea as the realm of sea monster and demons.
Other than artistic and technical mastery, all Balinese architect (Balinese:Undagi) are required to master these Balinese philosophical concepts concerning form, architecture, and spatial organization.
Unlike European architecture, Balinese houses and puri (palaces) are not created as a single huge building, but rather a collection of numerous structures within walled enclosure each with a special functions; such as front open pavilion to receive guests, main bedroom, other bedrooms, pelinggihan or pemrajan is a small family shrine, living areas and kitchen. Kitchen and living areas that helds everyday mundane activities are usually separated from family shrine. Most of these pavilions are created in Balinese balé architecture, a thatched roof structure with or without walls similar to Javanese pendopo. The walled enclosure are connected with series of gates. Balinese architecture recognize two types of gates, the candi bentar split gate, and paduraksa or kori roofed gates.
In Balinese palace architecture, its size are bigger, the ornamentation is richer and more elaborately decorated than common Balinese houses. The balé gede is a pavilion of 12 columns, where the oldest male of the family sleeps, while wantilan is a rectangular wall-less public building, where people convene or hold cockfighting. The bale kulkul is an elevated towering structure, topped with small pavilion where the kulkul (Balinese slit drum) is placed. The kulkul would be sounded as the alarm during village, city or palace emergency, or a sign to congregate villagers. In Balinese villages there is a bale banjar, a communal public building where the villagers congregate.
Balinese gardens usually created in natural tropical style filled with tropical decorative plants in harmony with the environment. The garden design usually according to natural topography and hardly altered from its natural state. Some water gardens however are modelled in formal architecture layout, with ponds and fountains, such as Taman Ayun and Tirtagangga water garden. Bale kambang or literary means "floating pavilion", is a pavilion surrounded with pond usually filled with water lilies. Petirtaan is a bathing place, consists of series of ponds and fountains used for recreation as well as ritual purification bath. The example of petirtaan is Pura Tirta Empul.
Balinese temple usually contains a padmasana, the towering lotus throne of the highest god, Acintya (Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa), pelinggih meru, the multiple roofed tower, is similar in design to Chinese or Japanese pagodas. Other parts includes bale pawedan (vedic chanting pavilion), bale piyasan, bale pepelik, bale panggungan, bale murda, and gedong penyimpenan (storehouse of the temple's relics).
A Pura is a Balinese Hindu temple, and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Most of the puras are found on the island of Bali, as Hinduism is the predominant religion in the island; however many puras exist in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant numbers of Balinese people. Mother Temple of Besakih is the most important, the largest and holiest temple in Bali. A large number of puras have been built in Bali, leading it to gain the nickname "the Island of a Thousand Puras".