home > bali art > architecture > religion and architecture >


  Religion and Architecture

This Balinese sense of order and harmony, beside the peculiar constraints of an agrarian tradition, are based on principles of the Hindu-Balinese religion, and in particular its emphasis on balance between Man, God and Nature.

Depicted as a microcosm, Bhwana Alit or 'Small World', Man is expected to exist in his natural environment in a way, which conforms to the macrocosmic order of things -the Bhwana Agung or literally Larger World.

In other words he reshapes his environment on the dual model of himself and the Macrocosm. As formulated in the Asta Kosala Kosali manuscripts all architectural structures or elements of urban planning should reproduce the tripartite order of both the world and the human body, which are each divided into upper (utama), middle (madia) and lower (nista) parts.
Every building, compound and territorial unit should thus have a head, a body and a lower body, respectively corresponding to the upper world of the gods (Swah), the middle world of humans (Bhwah) and the lower world of demons (Bhur).

To practically apply these cosmological principles, a system of orientation is also needed. It is determined by the crossing of two natural axis, that of the rising and setting sun on the one hand, and that of 'kaja-kelod' mountain-sea or, more precisely, that defined by the upstream-downstream axis (ulu-teben) on the other.

Copyright © 2002, Bali-Island.com Indonesia