Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island (strictly speaking, the province covers a few small neighbouring islands as well as the isle of Bali).
With a population recorded as 3,891,000 in the 2010 census,the island is home to most of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. In the 2000 census about 92.29% of Bali's population adhered to Balinese Hinduism while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Bali, a tourist haven for decades, has seen a further surge in tourist numbers in recent years.
The Balinese are just one of Indonesian's 250 ethnic groups. Like most Indonesians they are a blend of races, with the accent on the deutero-malayan race of Central and East Java, with traces, of Polynesian and Melanesian blood, as well as Indian and Chinese. This genetic back ground explains the variety of radical types seen on the island most Balinese are small hand some people with round delicate features thick black hair long sweeping eyelashes heart shaped lips and warm brown complexions others are darker skinned and straight haired like pacific islanders, or curly haired with flat noses like Papuans.
The Balinese are an extraordinarily creative people with a highly sensual theatrical culture. Culturally, the Javanese lean more toward refinement and modesty, keeping themselves in check in life and art, while the Balinese prefer the headier, flashier sensations â€“ laugh, terror, spicier and sweeter foods. Balinese are more lavish and baroque in their colors and decorations, with more explosive music and fast, jerky dancing.
The first inhabitants of Bali were Austronesian ethnic from Tonkin in South China, they are known as Bali Mula (the true Bali). Around 8th century the great Sage Markandya and 800 of his followers came from Mount Raung in the Basuki area of East Java to settle in Bali, but a pestilence broke and killed most of the settlers. Some years later he returned, this time with only 400 people, from the village of Aga. They performed the ceremony of burying the Five Metals (pancadatu) - gold, silver, iron, copper and precious stone - at a place on the slopes of Mount Agung. This place is now called Pura Besakih. They are settled in the areas around Campuan, Taro, Tegalalang and Payangan and the present temple area of Besakih. These settlers are known as Bali Aga.
The successful establishment of settlers from Aga in Bali led to constant influx of settlers from Java. The most significant influx of Javanese settlers to Bali was arrived at the time when Bali was conquered by Majapahit Empire of East Java. Many Majapahitân's settlers came to Bali, they are known as Wong Majapahit. Early in 16th century Majaphit collapsed, thousands of Majapahitân's scholars, jurist, dancers, painters, craftsman, intellectual, literati and priests came to settle in Bali. This new settlers brought new breath to the Balinese culture.
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