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Balinese architecture is not only aesthetically impressive with wood carvings, majestic stone gates and ornate Indian influence engravings, Balinese architecture also has strong spiritual symbolism. Many temples, rice barns and other structures are built according to traditional Balinese rules, called Asta Kosala Kosali, which traditionally were written down in lontar palm books and interpreted by traditional architects called Undagi. This leads to very distinctive designs and architectural congruence throughout Bali’s villages, which all delicately interwoven with the natural surroundings.
In Balinese building, one of the most common features is the
Bale, which is an open pavilion with a thatched roof and no walls. The Bale represents the Hindu-Balinese universe. The roof is the 'gods' section, the body is the 'human' section, and the base is the 'demons' section
Other impressively symbolic architectural sites in Bali are its palaces. Since in classical 19th century Bali, the Balinese believes their king was divine, his residence was the puri - a replica of the cosmos and thus a sacred symbol. Balinese palaces are always square, walled, and courts within courts.
In Bali, all buildings have to be brought to life and ceremonially purified in a ceremony called Melaspas before they can be lived in. It is important that all materials – such as the wood, stone and thatch, which have been cut down and killed for the construction, are, as it were, re-incarnated. During this ceremony, many offerings and gifts are made which can include animal sacrifices.