The banjar is a community organization based on the smallest neighborhood unit. This ancient system of local government is found throughout Bali, in both rural villages and towns, and it orders much of daily life.
The members of the banjar are all the married couples of that particular neighborhood. The banjar has its own rules, called awig-awig, which govern customary law and social sanctions that regulate the life of its members. When a village member dies, all members of the banjar help carry out the funerary rituals. The leader of the banjar is normally elected by its members at regular intervals.
Each banjar has its own centrally located meeting place, called the balé banjar. This can also be used for other community activities, such as the celebration of the anniversary of the banjar’s youth organization.
In earlier times, the balé banjar was an open pavilion of wood with a pyramid-like roof. Now, many bale banjar are adopting modern architecture. Some even have two stories to accommodate more members. Even a modern balé banjar, however, will have an associated shrine and a kul-kul drum tower, the hallmark of a bale banjar.
At Komaneka at Tanggayuda, the Bale Banjar is a handsome old Javanese joglo building of teak timber, a comfortable space where guests can relax, read, and enjoy light refreshments.