"Littel Bali" from Kalimantan Island: Basarang

"Littel Bali" from Kalimantan Island: Basarang

People gather during a Hinduism ritual in Basarang, Kapuas, Central Kalimantan. Picture taken before the pandemic.| Photo credit: Komang Kirne

BASARANG is one of several subdistricts in Kapuas Regency, the Province of Central Kalimantan.

It has, physically, a very different charracter to another places in Kalimantan Island.

If you were entering Basarang, the very first thing you will see is residents’ houses that look like ones of Bali Island.

There are, in front of or beside the houses, small temples with frangipani or Plumeria trees and offerings put in certain places.

Many Basarang residents are adherents of Balinese Hinduism, and therefore, frangipani flowers become an indispensable part of their ritual life.

Have you ever noticed a Balinese female dancer? What does she wear behind the ear? What things does she generally use to decorate her (long) hair extensions? Yes, frangipani!

Frangipanis, often combined with other flowers such as Cananga or ylang ylang, red roses and water lily, are used in offerings as prayer components.

I accidentally “found” Basarang couple years ago. I was on my way to Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan.

The street I was passing by, the Trans Kalimantan, is the main road of Basarang. On one side of the street, I saw several tiny shrines and a big temple complex.

There was also a grove of salak (snake fruit) trees on the other side of the street.

I was not just passing through, I also took time to talk to a villager.

From that just-a-few-minutes-dialogue, later I knew that Basarang residents also speak Banjarese language, with a bit different accent to that in many places of South Kalimantan, though.

How did the Balineses come to Basarang in large number?

As it turns out, the first generation immigrants came to Basarang in the 1960s following the transmigration program set by President Soekarno.

Basarang was once still covered with forests. For decades, people worked hard to start new life.

But, lo and behold, their efforts are not in vain. Basarang today has been developed into a unique, beautiful small town just like Bali Island, even though without Kuta Beach.[sahrudin]
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