There are various kinds of buildings in Bali, and one known to all is the umah (a building in which you live). For the
Balinese umah doesn't mean one building. The building itself consists of several bales. One umah consists of
several bales which occupy the entire plot of land on
which the house is built.
The proportioning of an umah is called karang sikut satak. That is, a
single plot of land which measures 14 x 13 depa, one depa being equal to the length between the two hands of an adult man when he stretches them.
This karang sikut satak is divided into three parts. The division is based on
the concept of tn mandala, which divides a plot of land into zone utama, madya, and nista. Zone utama is for "parahyangan"
a place where the family pray, zone madya is for "pawongan" - a place where members of the family do their daily
activities, and zone nista is for "palemahan" a place for animals, cages, plants etc.
Around the umah are built confining walls with 4
paduraksas, pillars on the walls having four angles. The names of each angle are sri raksa, aji raksa, rudra
raksa, and kala raksa. The entrance to the yard of the umah is called angkul-angkul. The simplest angkul-angkul
is called lelengen and the most complicated is called bintang aring and kori/gelung kori.
After you enter the angkul-angkul, you will see a wall called
aling-aling facing you. Aling-aling is a wall which limits and at the same time guides so as to prevent
people from viewing from and into the yard (natah of the house through angkul-angkul).
Natah is an open space in the middle of the house.
The Balinese's activities, including all kinds of ceremonies, take place here. Another place where they
can do their religious activities is the sanggah (a place of worship for family) with its several pelinggih
(holy buildings). While a place of worship at a parahyangan is called a sanggah, at a pawongan it is
called a pelangkiran (a place of worship for each bale),
and at a palemahan it is called a penunggun karang.
The number of bales in one umah varies according to
the concepts of desa, kala, patra (place, time, situation) and desa mawa cara (local
customs/traditions). However, in general there are four to six units of bale, the names of each being based on
their position or the direction of compass such as the bale daja (balai in the north), bale dangin (balai in
the east), bale delod (balai in the south), and bale dauh (balai in the west).
The naming of a bale is also based on the typology of the building.
The simplest bale daja is called meten. The meten which has a veranda with four pillars in front is
called meten bandung. If another four pillars are added in front as if it looks like a two-floored veranda, then it is called meten gunung rata.
The same applies to the bale dangin which is based on the number of its
pillars : bale dangin saka enam ( six pillars), saka kutus (eight pillars), and saka roras (twelve pillars).
A bale delod is not so common in Bali. At the puri (In the past a
house for kings), the bale delod is known as the bale sumanggen or bale mundak, and the bale dangin is called bale singasari.
Other building which form traditional Balinese houses are the paon (kitchen) and jineng (rice barn).
The interesting thing about the paon is its shape which is called kong kampiah. The shape enables the air and
the sun's rays to flow freely into the kitchen.
A topo (a big container which is made of sedimentary rocks) to
keep water in is usually put in front of the paon. Based on its typology, a jineng is often given different names
: kelumpu, gelebeg and kelingking. Next to the jineng are the lesung and alu (mortar/rice pastle for pounding race).