SPREAD OVER AN AREA OF 800 KM2, THE REGENCY OF TABANAN IS WIDELY CONSIDERED AS BALI’S ‘GREEN BELT’. WITH ITS LUSH GREEN LANDSCAPE THIS IS AN AREA WHICH OFFERS A REFRESHING CHANGE AND THE CHANCE TO GET AWAY FROM THE CLAMOUR AND HUBBUB OF THE MAIN TOURIST AREAS TO SEE SOME OF THE REAL BALI. WITHIN THE SERENITY OF ITS TIMELESS VILLAGES AND VERDANT GREEN FIELDS ARE HIDDEN A NUMBER OF CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SITES THAT REFLECT THE ISLAND’S RICH HERITAGE AND ARE WELL WORTH A VISIT.
Bali has many statues but one of its most important is Tabanan’s Sleeping Buddha Statue of Vihara Dharma Giri. Few people know of the statue’s existence, it is situated next to a temple and its main purpose is as a place of worship for Buddhists. Visitors who wish to see the statue are very welcome but are asked to maintain the quietness of the temple and respect the worshippers who come to pray. The statue itself is located to the left side of the temple and is becoming a popular place to visit. It is a beautifully fashioned gigantic pearl white structure set in a tranquil backdrop of blue sky and green forest. A picture taken in front of the statue is more reminiscent of Thailand than Indonesia.
Margarana Park in the village of Marga is a peaceful green park which was once the scene of a famous Balinese battle. One of several ‘Puputan’ battles was fought on this site between a 96 strong Balinese army lead by I Gusti Ngurah Rai who faced an occupying force of 400 of the Dutch colonial army. While the Dutch won the Puputan battles they lost the war, they were humiliated by the bravery of the Balinese which lead to the Dutch withdrawal from Bali. To commemorate the battles, a memorial monument and heroes cemetery were built in the grounds of Margarana Park and tourists are welcome to visit.
Tabanan is famous for its beautiful emerald green sculptured terraces of rice paddy fields which are irrigated by a famous world heritage listed 800 year old irrigation system known as the ‘Subak’. Unique to Bali, the Subak is all across the island and consists of a ingeniously designed complex network of canals, weirs and sluice gates which carry water to every corner of the rice growing areas. One of the best places to see Balinese rice terraces and the Subak is the world-renowned area of Jatiluwih, which sits under the mountains in the Northern part of the Tabanan region.
Finally, what is probably the best known place to visit in Tabanan is, of course, the legendary Temple of Tanah Lot. This temple is known throughout the world, it features a sacred Balinese Pura (temple) built on a natural rock formation surrounded by the sea. Photographs of the temple on the rock, often pictured as a silhouette with a stunning sunset sky behind it, have become the most enduring image of Bali and