About 20 kms odd from the wellness hub of Ubud in Bali lies the small village of Petulu. Ubud makes a great base for exploring the beautiful countryside set in the central foothills of Bali – the ever smiling people, the relaxed lifestyle, the spirituality which lingers in most parts of Bali. I hired a scooter from Ubud to escape from the scores of people who arrive in Ubud and never seem to leave. That is when I chanced upon Petulu. As I drove away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud, the enchanting rice fields kept pulling me increasingly toward the heart of this tiny village. Petulu’s artisans specialize in wood carving.
“Home to some really talented artisans, Petulu is a charming little village”
What I didn’t know was that Petulu transforms into a home to thousands of herons as dusk descends. Almost a heron sanctuary. There are three types of herons that you can spot in the village: little egrets, cattle egrets, and Javan pond herons – and their numbers have been estimated to total up to 20,000. After spending the day time in the nearby rice fields, these herons flock to the tree tops in Petulu during the evening. Folklore also has it that the herons represent the souls of the Balinese locals who were massacred by the Communist Party back in the 60s. They are believed to be guarding the village from the evil spirits.
“I would highly recommend visiting the village around dusk to witness the magic”
There is a community temple in the village which offers a great opportunity to witness the birds. As I was driving past the temple, I was greeted by the resident priest and invited to the temple. Playing ping-pong with the villagers at the temple was a bonus!