We recently took a trip to Bangli and dropped in on a very special place. Located on the slopes of a forest-cloaked mountain, Pasraman Gurukula Foundation is unique school where children of all socioeconomic backgrounds live and study together amid nature and immerse themselves in Balinese arts and culture. They also welcome visitors to explore their impressive grounds and watch one of their award-winning performances.
We arrived on a rainy afternoon and were greeted with a warm welcome by beaming students who had just finished their classes for the day and the school’s headmaster, I Wayan Arsada. As the students scurried off to get ready for their extracurricular activities, Pak Wayan gave us a tour of the grounds and explained a bit about the school.
The Pasraman Gurukula Foundation was originally founded in 2003 to provide disadvantaged children in Bangli with an education. Over the years, the school has grown significantly, and the foundation now hosts students from all over Bali and Indonesia. The mission of the school is to teach not only the standard curriculum, but also valuable skills such as agriculture, computer studies and foreign languages like English, Japanese and Chinese. The children also practice yoga and meditation daily and learn Balinese arts and culture like gamelan and classic and contemporary dance.
As we strolled past gardens filled with chilis, lemongrass and ginger, bright and breezy dorm rooms and colourful classrooms, we could hear the melodic rhythm of the gamelan orchestra resonating from the gymnasium. After a quick peek into the library—which was filled with books on everything from hindu dharma to natural history—and the sprawling football field, Pak Wayan and our student guides invited us to watch the orchestra play.
Watching the students play was mesmerizing, as each person had their gong, cymbal or xylophone notes perfectly synchronised to match up with the other instruments, creating the effect of a well-oiled machine. Even more mesmerizing was when a group of students emerged from the back of the gym to perform a traditional Balinese welcome dance for us. This was followed by an incredible yoga dance performance and another traditional Balinese dance where the dancers pulled us up to join them on the dance floor.
We were absolutely blown away by the warm hospitality we received at the Pasraman Gurukula Foundation, the incredible talent of the young people and the amazing work that is being done here. If you’re looking for a unique and interactive cultural experience in Bali that is well off tourist trail, we definitely suggest visiting the school and seeing how these young people are carrying on traditions and forging new futures for themselves.
If you would like more information about Pasraman Gurukula Foundation, you can visit their website at www.pasramangurukula.blogspot.co.id or get in touch with us about arranging a visit or making a donation.