Baliaga, Highland Bali in Indonesia

Joshua Project has identified the Baliaga, Highland Bali only in Indonesia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Baliaga are a small people group residing in several remote villages on the island of Bali. They are considered to be the original inhabitants of the island and were there long before the 16th century arrival of the people group we now know as Balinese (who were actually Javanese Hindus from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java). The culture, language and religion of the Baliaga differ significantly from that of their Balinese neighbors. Historical evidence shows that there used to be Baliaga villages scattered throughout the island. However, many Baliaga villages have since assimilated into the more dominant Balinese culture, especially those located in less remote parts of the island. There is now a movement among the Baliaga to try to preserve their unique culture and maintain their distinctive identity. Baliaga people are found primarily in the mountain villages of Pedawa, Tigawasa, Sidatapa and Sembiran in Buleleng District area of north-central Bali. They are also found in Trunyan village in Bangli District area. In addition they are also found in east Bali in the villages of Bugbug and Tenganan in Karang Asem District area.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Although they are small in population, the Baliaga maintain a strong sense of cultural identity and still practice unique rituals found nowhere else. For example there are many burial rituals among the Baliaga. In the village of Trunyan, the inhabitants do not bury their dead underground, but instead put the bodies in bamboo cages and place them under a massive sacred banyan tree located within the village. The fact that there is no stench from the decaying bodies is attributed to the power of ancestral spirits. In another Baliaga village, the bodies of the dead are cremated in mass cremations of 100 or more corpses. These cremations will often take place long after the person has died. Because of the large number of people being cremated at once, it is not unusual to have thousands of friends and family members attend these events. Another unique aspect of the Baliaga culture is the Banua and Ulu Apad social religious network. Banua are historical geographical areas whose borders usually encompass several Baliaga villages which are clustered around regionally important temples. Traditionally, each Banua is overseen by a council of elders (the Ulu Apad), especially in regards to communal decisions and religious ceremonies.

What Are Their Beliefs?

It is difficult to distinguish between the culture and religion of the Baliaga people because these two aspects are so intertwined. Everything about their culture has religious overtones and meaning; from their dances, to their music, even to the way they farm. Although they practice the Balinese form of Hinduism, they are also animistic in their belief system. They are similar to the Balinese in that they worship at family temples, clan temples and at the Balinese sacred temples such as Besakih and Ulu Danu. However, unlike the Balinese, the Baliaga practice a form of ancestor worship and also incorporate many animistic beliefs into their religion.

What Are Their Needs?

Because of the relative remoteness of the Baliaga villages, they have not profited as much economically from Bali's famed tourism. Also, since most of their villages are located high in the mountains instead of near the fertile rice fields, they are limited in the kinds of crops they can grow. Their mountain remoteness and lower economic status causes them to be looked down upon by most Balinese.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

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Help From Heaven
People Name General Baliaga, Highland Bali
People Name in Country Baliaga, Highland Bali
Population in Indonesia 58,000
World Population 58,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Bali-Sasak
People Name General Baliaga, Highland Bali
Ethnic Code MSY44a
People ID 20285
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Bali.   Source:  IPN booklet, revised June, 2011
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bali: Highland Bali (59,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Bali: Highland Bali 59,000
For Primary Language: Bali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1910-1988)
New Testament Yes   (1978-1989)
Complete Bible Yes   (1990)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: Today's Bali Bible Text / Printed Matter
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Bali Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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