And the magic extends beyond those idyllic beaches and rice terraces.
It was our 3rd day in Bali and my mind was itching for something else… I am one of those who cannot simply relax for days together on a beach. For me, that is anything but relaxation. The fact that I am not out there on the road, seeing and experiencing the local art, food, colours, smells and sights of the region irks me and I become restless.
On this day, we were about 600 meters above sea level. The cool mountain breeze felt new. So refreshing. Bali was humid, as it is supposed to be and out here, the air felt lighter. The Un-ocean colors, smells and sounds were definitely a change my mind was yearning for. Afterall, we had spent over 7 days in Indonesia hopping islands.
A few hours driving north from where we stayed at a beach resort, we found ourselves amidst thick foggy bamboo forests that seemed to extend to over 100s of acres. A lil ahead, and there we were. We had reached one of the CLEANEST villages in the world – The Charming Penglipuran Village.
Home to Bali Mula people, this village is unlike any image the word “village” brings with it. Located in the highlands around the base of Mt. Batur, this is a well-kept village with its charming houses having bamboo shingled roofs (quite obvious with the forests surrounding them), a single neatly paved brick road and delightfully designed and well manicured gardens. A Breath of Fresh Air – This would be amongst the first few thoughts that would pop on to your mind as you meander through this village.
We walked through the single main road, Beautiful and Bricked. One end had the main gate entrance (with a temple of-course) and the other had a burial ground as we were told( and did not really go to). The main road was lined with quaint little houses with huge courtyards and gardens.
As we awkwardly entered a few houses (after the locals themselves urged us to, with such warming smiles) and spoke to a few locals we understood well, as to why this was the cleanest village in the world. It is not planned and kept that way for tourism. No. Not at all. It is because RECYCLING is PART OF THE LIVES of these Mula people. Yes. They Recycle. Further, Order and Cleanliness are highly respected virtues of these people. This is evident in how there is symmetry in almost EVERYTHING inside this village. “We hold the gotong royong (working together) activity every month and we clean up this whole village “ said one of the senior citizens we spoke to during our home visit.
One can wander and interact with the locals to spend a complete day in Penglipuran. I heard that there were homestays inside the village that offer authentic experiences. I hope I can stay there someday, coz there is still so much to see.
I found an unexplainable gentle calmness in everything in this village. Almost Magical. Something I will keep with me for years to come.