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Banjar Settlement Bali

The term of Banjar is a word used to refer the traditional organization of Balinese both physically and conceptually. Physically shows the groups of settlement pattern and conceptually contains the regulations among members of the organization which rules the right and obligation within the members. It is thus this concept that reflects in the physical appearance of Balinese settlement pattern.

Among ethnics of Indonesia Bali is different in the concept of house architecture and living unit. Most of other ethnics have high house built on wooden poles, Balinese house is directly on the land base made higher around 60 cms from the surrounding. Most of Balinese traditional houses have quadrangular base called " bataran " Different from Javanese traditional house which bataran is not made high enough, sometime almost the same level with the environment, some of Balinese houses have even more then 1 meter high base. This is to make the view of the house good besides indeed to avoid water flowing in during rainy season. Today the formation of a totally new village or a group of settlement almost not happened anymore, but a development of existing traditional villages continue to go. Such as a development of urban areas of cities and towns, the villages also experience fast addition of new houses as a result of new wedding couple needs new localization.

Relating to the traditional organization of Balinese there is a rule, if a family has more then one son, and all of them married, only one son can stay with parents, while others have to go out and build new house, and organization obligations are incurred to them, the only one son can inherit or take over parent's obligation to the organization. In most cases the youngest son normally will stay with parent after his marriage. While his older brothers when they build new family got assistant from their parent. Villages in Bali as a unit of smallest traditional settlement is called " banjar " There is no proof that this banjar reflects the unity of resident based on genealogy, yet some banjars do have larger number of their residents having the same genealogy.

Wider then banjar, which can consist more then five banjars called " Desa " But in some banjars on the high land the unit of banjar and desa can not be separated on physical basis, but in the concept of traditional law that continues to regulate the members. So in this case the different between member of Banjar and member of Desa can only be seen from the application of traditional law. Member of the desa has more obligations toward the three temples called " kahyangan tiga ", and so the member have more rights also in the organization and who is usually the original resident of the area or the first member to build the settlement. So they own most of the land. The membership and number of the Desa will remain forever, as they are recorded based on their obligation to the temples belong to the area. Difference can be seen at the lowland areas where water irrigation is exist, a desa can consist of 20 banjars or more. As a member of banjar they are always have less burdens, if for example in an area of desa exist five or more temples, the member of banjars are not given the assignment of committee during rituals conduction. As a member of Banjar or Desa there are obligations come from social and government areas are the same. To mention a few of them such as marriage, environment maintenance, security, family ritual, education and others.

Physically there is no different between the member of banjar and the member of desa. In the past it might that those who own most of the land, and had bigger house more rice granaries would be a member of the desa, but today it is not rare that a member of banjar economically more successful, do not based on how large they have land.

Architecturally there has been a different between houses on the highland and houses on the lowland. On highland the family usually have two houses, one is for bedroom called "bale" and the other one for kitchen called " pawon". Families do not have enough land to build house or economically not enough, the bale and pawon become one house. During Kintamani tour an excellent example of Bali highland house can be visited during Barong dance and Kintamani tour such as banjar Panglipuran where the structure of the organization can be seen clearly by their architectural appearance. In this village the old concept of Bali highland settlement is still well preserved, while other villages have much changes. In the highland houses tend to build in a complex which are closed each other. A layout of a banjar was made in quadrangular which area then divided by one road in the middle or 2 crossing road in the middle of the area. On the left and right sides of the road the area is divided into slots facing the road. In each slot are families building their houses facing each other between bale and pawon. In a slot is found the family having blood relation, which might have been three or more generations already there. His first area of the villages usually owned together by the member of the settlement founders. They measure the area as a settlement area and others as the farming area. So, in case a new family need land to build new house they will be given a part in the slot with no payment. Today this land belong to the member of the founder has been finished, and if one want to build new house have to buy new spot of land.

Houses on the lowland is quiet different from those on the highland. It is built on complex what is known as house compound. A family is usually big size living in this compound. A house compound consist of at least 7 pavilions including house for cows, pigs, and other domesticated animals, and family temple. In the family temple there are at least 5 pavilions for shrines which are also contracted within the family compound area. In the past between one house compound and others there are distance around 100 to 500 meters, so there was not like on highland where a banjar has been a close complex of family houses. A good example that still can be seen and preserved well is at Singapadu village can be visited during Barong dance and Kintamani tour. Most of this type of house compound have been changed, but among the haves, they rebuilt again this compound in more deluxe architecture.


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