Banyan trees are known to have good, strong roots. Considered sacred by Balinese Hindus, the trees are believed to be where the Gods reside. People also believe that natural balance will only be maintained if the banyan trees are taken care of and are presented with daily offerings.
The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hindu Religious Council (PHDI) routinely holds the ritual of nunas sabeh mapag toya (praying for rain) during the summer. Last
year’s long summer affected the farming industry and rain finally came in December.
During the most recent ritual, 120 banyan plants were carried by farmers and volunteers, with the hope that the seeds would grow into big, lush trees.
One of the farmers was Agung Wedha, founder of Bali Organik Subak and the Cool Young Farmers community. He believes that holy offerings can go beyond rituals.
Their last visit was to the Merta Jati forest near Lake Tamblingan.
With its surging population, Bali’s demand for water is also on the rise. Data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showed that there were 3.8 million Balinese people who lived alongside 6 million tourists. For Agung and his communities, preserving water resources is crucial to maintain the Balinese philosophy of life, the Tri Hita Karana, which dictates that all Balinese must live in harmony with their surroundings. (wng)