The Bengkala village, a place where silence is King - Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd
The Bengkala village, a place where silence is King

The Bengkala village, a place where silence is King

Mar 14 2024

The Bengkala village is located in the north of Bali, in the Singaraja region. Apart from the beauty of the landscapes that surround it and the traditional culture that persists there, Bengkala surprises with its inhabitants and their way of life. Here, speech has given way to body movements and facial expressions: sign language has become their daily life. A very particular daily life, which only travelers passing through the region for several days will be able to understand. Zoom in on their story.


In Bengkala, the number of people who are hard of hearing or deaf is 15 times higher than the world average. Surprisingly as it may seem, its inhabitants have developed their own unique sign language, which seems to have been passed down for centuries. There is nothing abnormal about being deaf, quite the contrary: we are talking about a gift from Dewa Kolok, God of deafness. Physically stronger, enduring, patient, persevering, or even more loyal and honest, these deaf and hard of hearing people are recognized in the village as having undeniable qualities which combine with those of able-bodied people. Everyone is then complementary and evolves in harmony, uniting their abilities to improve their daily lives.


These specificities are recognized beyond Bengkala and surrounding villages flock to ask for the protection of their community. Nyoman Santiya is recognized as the leader of the deaf and hard of hearing people in the village. He tells passing travelers how his son's deafness has brought him and his family: “After he was born, I stopped drinking. Little by little, I was able to save money and repair my house.” A handicap which he then describes as an opportunity. Although a few deaf or hard of hearing children can go to school today, they can still be counted on the fingers of one hand. The acceleration of the development of Bali and the acculturation sometimes felt on the island may be harmful for Bengkala. The residents then redouble their efforts to preserve their unique history, which is the beauty of this community. Based on Hardiman’s text “Bali’s Silent Village”, published in Latitudes magazine (July 2001).


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