Senin, 24 November 2008

BALI ISLANDS OF BEACH AND TRAVEL



BALI FOR YOU, HOTEL,BEACH,ARTS, TRAVEL, GREEN NATURE







BALI ISLANDS

Bali lies between the islands of Java and Lombok and is one more than 17,000 islands that makes up the Indonesian Archipelago. Bali is small, stretching approximately 140 km from east to west and 80 km from north to south. Slightly off centre, and running east to west, are a string of volcanic mountains. The tallest is Gunung Agung, which last erupted in 1963, and is 3,142 m. at its highest point.

Lying just 8° south of the Equator, Bali boasts a tropical climate with just two seasons, wet and dry, a year and an average annual temperature of around 28° C. The rich volcanic soil and healthy monsoon season make this island extremely fertile and a range of crops are grown here. The wide and gently sloping southern regions play host to Bali's famed rice terraces, among some of the most spectacular in the world. In the hilly, northern coastal regions, the main produce is coffee, copra, spices, vegetables, cattle and rice.

The Balinese people have strong spiritual roots and despite the large influx of tourists over the years, their culture is still very much alive. The main religion is Agama Hindu Dharma, which arrived in Bali with the spread of Hinduism through Sumatra and Java during the 11th century. Although originally from India, the Balinese religion is a unique blend of Hindu, Buddhist, Javanese and ancient indigenous beliefs, with customs that are very different from the traditional from of Hinduism practiced in India today. With the arrival of Islam in neighbouring Java during the 15th century, a large number of courtiers, artists, musicians and craftsmen fled to Bali, creating an artistic renaissance.
Naturally creative, the Balinese have traditionally used their talents for religious purposes and most of the beautiful work to be seen here, has been inspired by stories from the Ramayana and other Hindu epics. The incredibly colourful cremation pyres and the everyday offerings to the gods, placed inside every shop and business, are made with an eye for detail and beauty.
The majority of Bali's 3,000,000 people live, for the most part, in tight village communities with large extended families. The largest towns are the capital Denpasar, population approximately 450,000 and Singaraja in the north. The main tourist area is Kuta, situated near the airport. This small sleepy village became a major attraction during the tourist boom of the 70's, because of its famed white-sand beaches, the surf, and stunning sunsets.
Today, Kuta is a major hustling and bustling resort town, with hundreds of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. Those in search of a little peace and quiet tend to head for the more sedate resorts of Sanur and Candi Dasa, on the east coast,or Lovina in the north. Nusa Dua, another tourist enclave on the southernmost peninsula of the island, caters for the more up-market crowd and is home to almost all of the bigger 5-star hotels. The central village of Ubud, in the hilly region of Gianyar, has also blossomed as a tourist attraction and is now considered to be the artistic and cultural centre of Bali.

Bali Island Villas
Located within the vibrant pulse of Seminyak, is a private complex of 10 self-contained luxury villas. Although very much a part of Bali’s most cosmopolitan district, the villas remain a calming niche ideal for a leisurely break.
Villa Living
Each one-bedroom villa shares a common infra-structure that evokes the sense of residential living within a small community. A fully equipped gourmet kitchen, dining and lounge area is an integrated environment that personifies contemporary Bali.

The spaciously appointed master bedroom is bathed in natural sunlight that filters through full-length glass paneled doors. There is a walk-in wardrobe and spa-inspired en-suite bathroom in cool grey tones with double vanity and sunken tub for two.

Each villa merges seamlessly into a landscaped garden that incorporates a private swimming pool and timber sundeck. A well concealed set of stairs leads to reveal a unique rooftop terrace with traditional Balinese lounging pavilion and ample space to entertain or soak up the sun.
Balinese Art
Artistically, Bali is and has always been a melting pot of cultures and traditions. The Balinese have a natural capacity for absorbing different cultural elements and blending them with their own, to produce dynamic new hybrids. Over the years, Bali has been the recipient of numerous foreign influences, namely Chinese, Buddhist, Indian, Hindu, Javanese, and most recently, Western. For centuries, artists and craftsmen in Bali worked under the patronage of the priests and the ruling classes, decorating palaces and temples. The artists themselves never signed their work and usually lived close together in artists "villages"
Generally the artists did not have much room for personal expression, as their designs followed strict aesthetic and religious guidelines, but with the arrival of European artists at the start of this century, things began to change, and Balinese artists began developing their own individual styles.

PAINTING
The place synonymous with the traditional form of Balinese painting, is the village of Kamasan, near Klungkung. Up until the beginning of this century, and under service of the king of Gelgel and Klungkung, it was only natural that the painters and illustrators, called "Sangging", should settle in this one area. As it was not uncommon for ruling families from other parts of Bali to acquire the use of a Sangging to decorate their own palaces or temples, the Kamasan style of painting quickly spread throughout the whole of Bali.
The style for which the artists of Kamasan are famous is based on the East Javanese "Wayang" art. These were basically two-dimensional, iconographic representations following strict rules and guidelines as to how the characters should be portrayed. For example, a person's characters and status can be seen from the colours used to portray them, a noble man's headdress, or even the direction in which he is facing. Noblemen always have had very refined faces, while coarse characters were depicted with large, bulging eyes and fangs. Today in Kamasan you can still find people who are dedicated to painting in the traditional "Wayang" style.
One of the most famous Kamasan artists is I Nyoman Mandra, who, aside from producing his own paintings and doing restoration work, started a school to try and keep the "Wayang" tradition alive.
It wasn't until the early 1900's, that western influence reached Bali . The use of Asian symbols in the works of, amongst others, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse Lautrec and Camille Pissaro, created a new trend for Asian-influenced art and European painters began to move to Bali. Ubud's fame for art can be traced to the arrival of the German painter, Walter Spies and the Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet. Together, with Indonesian artists such as Gede Agung Sukawati, they established the Pitamaha Group, which encouraged Balinese artists to be more expressive and less bound by tradition.
Aside from the Kamasan school of painting, there now exists a wide range of different styles, the characteristics have been briefly listed below:
Ubud Style
Influences by the western use of perspective and everyday life subject matter, the Ubud style is one of the most 'Expressionist' of all the Balinese schools. Despite this, Ubud art still retains many traditional
features, including the attention to detail and very stylized characters. Among the better known (indigenous) Ubud artists are: Anak Agung Gede Sobrat, Ida Bagus Made, I Gusti Ketut Kobot, Dewa Putu Bedil and Made Sukada.
Batuan Style
Strongly "Wayang" based, this style involves hundreds of intricately painted representations of Balinese life, filling every available nook and cranny of the canvas. Batuan artists like I Wayan Bendi, Ni Wayan Warti and I Made Budi, make much more of a statement about life in Bali, with subject matter that includes everything from traditional village activities to camera toting tourists, & even surfers. Earlier Batuan artists, Ida Bagus Made Togog and Ida Bagus Made Wija, dealt more with the darker, supernatural side of life, with people depicted as being extremely vulnerable to the spirits and powers of nature.
Keliki Style
Keliki art is very similar to the old "Batuan Style" with the one exception being size; Keliki paintings measure 20 cm by 15 cm, and contain scenes of mythical and Ramayanic characters engaged in battle, good versus evil, on sinister backgrounds. Keliki artists also follow the tradition of the "Wayang" artists in that they seldom sign their work.
Pengosekan Style
From this village, on the outskirts of Ubud, a new style sprang up during the 60's that concentrated on just a few natural components such as birds, insects, butterflies and plants. These paintings tend to be more realistic and less expressive than the Ubud style.
Young Artists
A second movement, born of European influence, occurred in the early 60's, with the arrival of Arie Smit to the village of Penestanan. He encouraged the artists in this area to explore & experiment with vivid colours and more simple abstract forms. The paintings in this style are much more 'expressionist', with little attention to detail or perspective.
Among the better known of the "young artists" are: I Wayan Pugur, I Ketut Tangen, I Nyoman Londo and Ketut Soki.
STONE CARVING
Stone carvings were mainly used to decorate temples and palaces and the carvers had much more leeway in their use of subject matter than the artists and illustrators. There is little difference between the iconography decorating temples and that of private buildings. Gateways represent the dividing line between the inner and outer worlds. As well as portraying deities and demons, the carvers included many scenes from public life and there are many temple surfaces enriched with the antics of the Dutch colonists, including scenes of bicycles, drunken parties, car breakdowns and even airplanes.
Bali's modern day centre of stone carving is the village of Batubulan, situated along the route between Denpasar and Ubud.
In the temples in North Bali there would appear to be more creative works in stone (with the exception of Pura Puseh in Batubulan). If touring in the north of Bali, it is worth taking the time to visit Pura Meduwe Karang in Kubutambahan, Pura Dalem in Jagaraga and Pura Beji near Singaraja.
At Pura Sagen Agung in Ubud works by Bali's most famous stone carver, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, and other accomplished artists, are to be found.
TEXTILES
One of the most striking things about Bali is the rich variety of cloths and materials that are to be found in the thousands of shops across the island. However, in actual fact, very few originate here! The myriad of batik clothing and sarongs available across the island are mainly imported from Java, and most of the woven cloth (Ikat) found in and around the Kuta /Legian areas, are imported from the nearby islands of Sumba and Flores.
Bali does however, have a very rich textile industry of its own. The beautiful "Songket" fabrics worn by performers of traditional dance are a fine example. In Songket, gold and silver threads are woven into the cloth to create complex motifs of birds, butterflies and flowers, & sometimes they use so much gold and silver that the underlying cloth is barely visible.
"Endek", or "weft ikat" is another commonly used weaving method in Bali. In "weft" weaving, the "weft" threads are dyed to create the design and then are woven with plain warp threads. These pieces of cloth are recognizable by their abstract designs and bright colours.
The last common form of weaving to be seen in Bali is the "Geringsing", or double-ikat and it is perhaps the most sought after. A creation when both the "warp" and "weft" threads are dyed to their final designs before being woven together. With the exception of certain areas in India and Japan, this weaving technique can only be found in the small Bali Aga village of Tenganan, in East Bali.

BALI ACTIVITIES






Mountain Cycling
This sensational tour commences near the mountain village of Kintamani with spectacular views of the extinct Mount Batur volcano and Lake Batur. The trip takes you through small villages, amazing rice terraces and passes bustling markets and temples. Your tour ends with a marvellous and sustaining lunch in Ubud. The price includes hotel transfers, lunch, gloves, mountain bike hire and insurance.
Elephant Safari
Located in the jungle forest of Desa Taro (20 minutes north of Ubud), the Elephant Safari Park offers you the chance to feed, touch and interact with these wonderful creatures in a natural setting. Elephants can be seen immersing themselves in the cool waters of the park lake or grazing peacefully in the surrounding grounds. The reception centre offers an extensive graphic display. Includes entrance, lunch, and insurance. Departs twice daily.
White Water Rafting
Enjoy the challenge and excitement of an 8 km trip of white-water rafting on the spectacular Ayung river. Over the next 2 hours you will be taken through 25 thrilling rapids, which provides a mix of challenging and tranquil sections. There are 2 departures daily, including transfers, smorgasboard lunch, life jackets, helmets, waterproof camera bags, and personal insurance
Waterbom Park
This park hosts many outstanding facilities suitable for all ages. In addition to the adult swimming pool and children’s pool there is a splash and swim-up bar. The main attraction is the 600 metres of waterslides giving you hours of fun or a game of water volleyball. Relax in the grassy picnic areas or browse in the gift shop. Certified lifeguards are on duty at all times.
Jungle Trekking
During this fascinating 2-hour trek expert guides provide a unique insight into the flora and fauna of Bali’s wilderness. Starting high above the twin lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan, you’ll descend through vine-clad forests and majestic fern grottoes at the temple of Batukaru. Enjoy a picnic lunch by a mountain stream or at a local restaurant. Price includes transfers.
http://bali.sawadee.com/history.htm
The Creation of Bali Island
Perhaps it is too copious if it is said that Bali is an island that is full of uniqueness which distinguishes it with other islands in Indonesia.
As written in the Purana Sada Temple of Kapal Traditional Village, it is said that when the continents and various island had been created on earth, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi/Bathara Pasupati (God), summoned the Gods to gather together on top of Mount Mahameru.
Then Sang Hyang Pasupati uttered to the nine Gods occupying the nine direction, to the six Gods (Sad Winayaka), to the group four Gods (Catur Dewa), to God Rsis, to God Dragon, Gods from Trinayaka group and to Gods in the universe, to make a new island known as Bali Island.

Bathara Pasupati explained to all Gods, that island that is going to be created is a special island for the shrine of all Gods with the leader Bhatara Mahadeva/Putranjaya. In this island, all Gods will be worshipped and dipuja (honored) till the end of the period. In this island the Gods will be awarded with big offerings by the dwellers. The Gods, is then, known as the name of Bali.
When this island was created, the God Dragon Sang Hyang Ananta Boga entered the bottom layer of the earth, and then this big dragon became the support of Bali Island.
After that, Sang Hyang Kurma Gni (turtle) entered the earth and became the foundation of it, and Badawang Nala manifested himself as the bottom layer of the earth of Bali. Sang Hyang Kala, then, created the soil and sky of Bali which is bright with colorful shine.
Finally, a beautiful island was created with the shine of extraordinary holiness. The Gods were very delightful with their successful works, and then selected their everlasting shrines at the new earth (banua bahru) named Bali. From here it is disclosed that Bali is the place of Gods (the Island of Gods). When foreigners came to Bali for the first time, they said this island is the last paradise.

The Corners of Bali are guarded by Gods
The belief of Balinese society on the existence of main temples termed as Kahyangan Jagad of Bali, in Balinese society itself, moreover in spiritual groups, has various and different concept. The difference also happens on the literature of Balinese classic, so there is different perception with different reference.
But with the important role of Hindu Religion experts in Bali, these different views and belief is united in a unity of interpretation and then compiled into a book entitled "Compilation of Seminar Decisions on Interpretation of Hindu Religion Aspects I - XV. This book was published by Local Government of Bali in 1999/2000.
This book stated that Kahyangan Jagad in Bali is divided into two different conception (Rwabineda), such as, Besakih Temple in Karangasem Regency as Purusa (masculine) and Batur Temple in Bangli Regency as Pradana (Feminine).

Sarad (Naga)
Based on the conception of Catur Lokapala (four direction), Kahyangan Jagad consists of Lempuyang Luhur Temple in Karangasem Regency, Andakasa Temple is also in Karangasem Regency, Batukaru Temple in Tabanan Regency and Puncak Mangu Temple in Badung Regency.
Based on the conception of Sad Winayaka, Kahyangan Jagad consists of Besakih Temple in Karangasem Regency, Lempurang Luhur Temple also in Karangasem Regency, Gua Lawah Temple in Klungkung Regency, Uluwatu Temple in Badung Regency, Batu Karu Temple in Tabanan Regency and Puser Tasik Temple/Pusering Jagad in Gianyar Regency.
In classical poetry literature (geguritan) entitled Patijlamit written by Ida Pedanda Ketut Sidemen from Griya Taman Kelodan Intaran Sanur, it is stated the names of Local Gods worshipped in the temples considered as Sad Kahyangan Jagad Bali, such as : Bhatara Sang Hyang Purna Jaya is worshipped in Besakih Temple, with His weapon of Kris (tuwek) located in Karangasem Regency; Bhatara Sang Hyang Ningjaya is worshipped in Lempuyang Temple with the weapon of abet also located in Karangasem Regency; Bhatara Sang Hyang Jayaningrat is worshipped in Batukaru Temple with His weapon of arrow, located in Tabanan Regency; Herjeruk Temple is the shrine of Bhatara Sang Hyang Putra Jaya with sword weapon, located in Gianyar Regency; Luhur Uluwatu is the shrine of Bhatara Sang Hyang Manik Gumawang with spear located in Badung Regency; Puser Tasik/Pusering Jagad Temple is the shrine of Bhatara Sang Hyang Manik Galba with duwung weapon, located in Gianyar Regency
The Legend
Centuiries ago, a holy man from India, Rei Markandya saw a distant light rising from the earth to the sky and returning again. So Rei organized a large group of men and women to find the place which was the source of the light. On this first journey he found what is now the beautiful island of Bali. By the time Rei and the search party eventually found the place of the light in the central mountains of Bali, much of the group had died. So Rei returned once again to Java and formed yet another group of men and women to find Besakih again and this time build a sacred temple on the site.
On the journey, Rei was led to stop and meditate at a place where two rivers met. It was at Campuhan (which actually means two rivers meet) that Rei Markandya received the inspiration he needed on how to build what is now one of the most revered and beautiful temples in all the world. Campuhan has continued to be a source of light and inspiration for many, attracting artists and musicians of worldwide notoriety such as Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Colin Macphee, and Noel Coward.
To mark this place of holy inspiration, a small temple was built on the banks of Campuhan and the surrounding land granted to the royal family of the town near Campuhan, Ubud. Ubud means medicine in Balinese and refers to the healing power of this most sacred ground. Tjokorda Raka of the Ubud Royal family has had a dream of opening up this and sharing the rejuvenating life of this place with visitors of other cultures.
General Information
Bali, one of some 13,000 islands comprising the Indonesian Archipelago, had an auspicious start. According to legend, when the world was formed Bali was put afloat on the back of a giant sea turtle with fragrant skies above. Bali has approximately 3,500,000 inhabitants of which probably 80% are Hindu Balinese. The remaining having come from neighboring islands of Java, Lombok, Madura in search of employment.

Bali lies just 8.67° (965 km) south of the equator. As such the weather is tropical - consistently hot and sunny. Days are almost universally 12 hours long with sunrise is approximately 6:10 a.m.; sunset at 6:30 p.m. depending on the time of year. The daytime temperature averages between 27° C to 32° C (80° F to 90° F) in the southern lowlands (the main tourist venues). Humidity is quite high - a sticky 75% so often times it feels much hotter. Average temperature in the mountains is between 20° C to 25° C (70° F to 80° F). At night the mountains can get downright chilly - so bring a sweater if you plan to overnight there.

Bali’s tropical monsoon climate has two distinct seasons; dry (May to September) and wet (October to April). Monsoon refers to the wind, not the rain. However even in the wet monsoon there’s a better than even chance that it will be sunny for a good part of the day. Weather wise May, June and July are generally considered the best.
A Short History
Bali was first settled by Chinese immigrants sometime around 2500 BC and after working on it for 2,000 years the complex irrigation system that is still the focal point of Balinese agriculture and way of life today was established. Things remained pretty much unchanged until the 11th century. Around 1010 AD a Balinese Prince named Airlangha took over East Java intending to unite it with Bali under his rule. Successful, he subsequently appointed his brother, Anak Wungsu, to rule Bali. As such there was a great deal of commerce between Bali and Java bringing with it an exchange of politics and arts. It was at this time the Bali adopted the Javanese language, Kawi that is still used today.

Airlangha's death brought on several wars waged by Javanese Kings to continue the Javanese control of Bali. Finally in 1343 Bali succumbed to Javanese control when it was defeated by a General by the name of Gajah Mada from the Majapahit Empire, the last Hindu Javanese empire.

When Islam began spreading south from Sumatra into Java in the 16th century, the Majapahit empire collapsed and a large number of aristocrats, priests, and artists fled to Bali. From then until the Dutch arrived in 1597 little changed except the culture continued to be refined - which is where we pick up the story.
The People of Bali
The Balinese were not able to develop and sustain their extremely complex agricultural economy for centuries on end without a very organized community structure. The basis of this community structure is the Subak and the Banjar. Everyone who owns a rice paddy must join the Subak in their village. The Subak controls who will plant rice and when (plantings are staggered so that pestilence is minimized). As well and more importantly the Subak ensures that all farmers receive their fair share of irrigation water since traditionally the head the Subak was the farmer whose field was at the bottom of the hill and water first had to pass through everybody else's field before it was allowed to irrigate his.

The other important community structure, the Banjar, organizes all other aspects of Balinese life (i.e. marriages, cremations, community service, festivals and the like). When a man marries he is expected to join the village Banjar and must participate in community affairs. Meetings are held at a large open air building called the Bale Banjar.
Religion
Although the Balinese are Hindu and worship the Hindu trinity Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, the Balinese religion is very different from the Indian variety. The Balinese do have a caste system but there are no untouchables. The caste system is most evident in the language which has three levels: a low level for commoners, a mid level to address strangers and a high level only used when addressing aristocracy.

The Balinese are an unusual island people in that they have never been sea faring people. They believe that good spirits dwell in the mountains and that the seas are home to demons. Most villages have at least three main temples: one of which is the Pura Puseh or ‘temple of origin’, is dedicated to the village founders and which faces to Mt Agung - home to Pura Besakih the mother temple on Bali. Together with the other two village temples each house may several temples and as well as rice fields, markets etc. etc. etc. Now you can see why Bali is often referred to as the Island of the Gods.

The Balinese are extremely devout and no day goes by without making offerings to the gods. These daily offerings - called Banten are a major part of Balinese life. You will see these offerings nearly everywhere in Bali. Made of flowers, cigarettes, cookies, rice and even sometimes money (the actual items used are not as important as the process of making and offering it to the spirits) these offerings are given to the good spirits in hopes of continued prosperity as well as to the evil spirits as an appeasement.
Simple Etiquette
The Balinese are inclusive by nature and take great pride in their heritage and therefore do not mind visitors observing ceremonies and traditional dances, just as long as you follow a few simple, basic points of etiquette. (After all, how would you like a group of foreign speaking tourists invading your wedding or funeral of a close relative to snap a few photos?). First, dress appropriately - smart casual is appropriate - swim wear is not appropriate. Two, be quiet and respectful. Cameras and camcorders are ok - but do be unobtrusive.

Also do not step in front of anyone to snap a photo and do not sit higher than the local priest presiding over the ceremony. As well, do not touch or pat anyone (including children) on the head.

When visiting temples be aware that you should wear long pants or a sarong with a selendang tied around the waist (men and women). Whilst you can take your own every major temple has selendangs to borrow for a small donation. It is extremely bad form (in fact it’s taboo) for women who are menstruating to enter a temple.

Lastly a word about being stuck in traffic. If you do find yourself stuck in traffic for no apparent reason you may have come up on a Balinese procession on the way to temple. Be patient. No amount of honking the car's horn is going to speed things up and it's rude to try and pass.
In the Ubud, Bali area
Magical mysterious Bali, voted number one island destination for 2004/5 by Conde Naste Traveler Magazine readers. Bali's international airport is easily accessed, either by the many direct flights, or via Singapore. Ubud is some forty five minutes easy drive from the airport in Kuta. Long considered Bali's heart and soul, Ubud is a small town in the foothills of Bali's central mountain range. It enjoys a mild climate with warm sunny days, and pleasantly cool evenings.
Ubud is the artistic and cultural capital of Bali. Prince Gde Agung Sukawati established an artists' colony in the 1930's and it has remained as one since then. You will find several fine shops, galleries, and much more than just souvenir kitsch. Because of its central location, Ubud is a great place to use as a home base for day trips to explore the rest of the island of Bali.
Ubud is famous as an artist's community, with many painters, woodcarvers, stone masons, and batik artists exhibiting their works in the hundreds of galleries in and around the town. Ubud also has many interesting restaurants and bars, from world-class gourmet establishments to interesting local style 'warungs', featuring Indonesian and Balinese dishes.
Monkey Forest is not far from Ubud where hundreds of friendly monkeys wander the pathway to a beautiful temple. Hold on tight to your camera and sunglasses - they have been known to snatch things from unsuspecting tourists!
Besakeh Temple is the largest temple in Indonesia and is located in the southeast of the island of Bali. It dates back to the 11th century and is a place of worship. Goa Gajah, also called the Elephant Cave because of its rock carvings of Ganesha, is the other major temple on the island of Bali which dates to the same period.
Nightlife
Beyond the pubs and nightclubs you'll find many cultural activities in Bali. Wayank Kulit is a puppet show performed late at night with cutout figures against a white screen that tells mythological stories. The Kecak Dance is a show of Balinese art and dance performed at sunset that tells the Hindu story of Rama.
Beaches
Spend a day trip snorkeling, diving near a Japanese shipwreck, or watch dolphins play from the shore. Bali is also famous for world-class surfing and regularly holds competitions in the southern beach city of Kuta.

Jumat, 21 November 2008

Tasikmalaya


Tasikmalaya is a city and regency in southeastern West Java, Indonesia, between Bandung and Purwokerto on the southerly of the two major road routes across Java.

The area is located in the mountainous Preanger region of Java at an elevation of 351 metres (1,151 feet). On April 5, 1982, the volcano Gunung Galunggung erupted about 24 km from the city, causing major damage through lahar and ash projection, and forcing a temporary evacuation of the area.

The population of the entire regency (the city and rural area around it) is about 1.58 million. Like most of West Java, it is mostly populated by Muslim, ethnically Sundanese people, with a small Chinese Indonesian minority. The city is sometimes called the "City of a Thousand Pesantren," for its many Islamic religious schools.[1]

The area is known for producing silk goods printed with batik, paper umbrellas, and handbags woven by hand from bamboo and pandanus leaves. The production of handicrafts for domestic and international consumption is an important local industry; in 1998 and 1999, export of handicrafts earned 2.6 billion rupiah for the region.

The regency was a major centre of early support and organization for Darul Islam, a resistance group formed in 1948 to resist Dutch attempts to retake Java after World War II, and, after the Dutch were defeated, to establish a state in Indonesia governed by Islamic law.[2]

The city of Tasikmalaya was the site of a widely-reported riot in late December 1996. Four people were killed and several churches and dozens of mostly Chinese-owned businesses were destroyed in the violence, which was triggered by allegations of police brutality, and over frustration with allegedly corrupt local government officials.[3] The event was among the earliest of many riots with religion- and class-based undertones that occurred in Java during the late 1990s.[4]