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Balinese Architecture Code – Asta Kosala Kosali

Bali has withstood a continuing influx of alien cultures for a long time in history. That gives hope for the future of this gem of a civilization. Bali is bound to go on changing and evolving; and society fifty years from now will be different from the one at present. However, there is a solid core that is sustainable and that may even take on a stronger identity as “Balinese” as cultures mix and mingle. Bali consists of many worlds, many cultural traditions that have co-existed, competed, and also enriched one another. This is due to the resourcefulness and tolerance of Balinese people. – Professor Unni Wikan, author of Managing Turbulent Hearts – A Balinese Formula for Living.

What a wonderful thought. And where does this resourcefulness and tolerance come from? Perhaps a closer look at the various aspects of Balinese living will give us an insight … in particular, the Balinese architecture code — Asta Kosala Kosali— the traditional Balinese method of how to divide a space for a house or temple (in relation to the owner). Elements from Vastu Shastra, the traditional Hindu system of architecture of India, and Feng shui from China resonate in Asta Kosala Kosali. The emphasis on the interconnection between macro and micro cosmos is pivotal in the design, selected natural building materials and construction: The belief in Pancha Shrada (Five Beliefs) in God, the rule of Karma, Reincarnation, Moksa (liberation of worldly attachment) and Atman (soul): And the all-encompassing philosophy of Tri Hita Karana — harmony between self and others, harmony between self and environment, and harmony between self and the Gods.

The first structure that is built on the land is the Padmasana, the shrine. Five elements (Pancha Datu) are buried at the base of this shrine — Earth (gold), Water (iron), Fire (copper), Air (silver), Ether (ruby). It is to maintain a positive vibration of the land.

The other interesting aspect is the measurements of the dwelling, which is calculated using the actual foot size of the owner. For every measured wall a half foot is added. This is called the Urip. It is believed that the building, once completed, would be transformed into a living entity and hence the extra half foot is to give ‘breathing space’ for this entity. So when a building is complete and the required religious ceremonies performed it transforms into a living breathing entity that is one with the owner. Perhaps this is the reason why, in the past, Balinese never travelled very far from their homes.

Harmony is the first impression one gets when entering WakaGangga. The earthy colours of the deluxe villas merge with lush greenery, azure sea and sky, studded with blooming lotus and water lilies, where trees play host to the white-headed munia (Lonchura maja), a species of estrildid finch, and lily ponds to the white egrets. A massage in such environs helps invigorate the spirit and a plunge in the open air swimming pool embedded between palm trees adds to the romantic feeling.  Sunset viewing from the aesthetically designed restaurant made of iron wood and glass is essential before retiring to the luxury of an air-conditioned villa replete with ensuite bathroom, private swimming pool and large comfortable bed festooned with a mosquito net.

Morning brings with it the arrival of fishing boats with their catch of lobsters.

In all it is a beautiful life, Balinese hospitality that embraces and excites the senses.