Bali is called as an island of Gods and has many temples where Gods reside. Temples in Bali, like temples in Bharat, have many functions other than just worshipping Gods. These temples have not only preserved the culture of Bali but have contributed to the social texture of the place. Tri Hita Karana concept of life in Bali is one such notion which has survived only because of the presence of temples in Bali. Importance of harmony is emphasised through this concept, which is possible with threefold connections of human beings – human connection with human beings, human connection with nature and human connection with the creator. These are the “three causes of well-being” or “three reasons for prosperity.” Thus, Tri Hita Karana is credited for the island’s prosperity as a whole.
Artistic expressions of temple design with intricate carvings, sculptures, paintings and detailing is the manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana concept. All the religious beliefs of the Balinese are interwoven with the art and rituals of the place.
One of the most important types of paintings found on the walls of Balinese temples called Niskala is narrative art- painting; telling stories related to religion, cosmology, mythology and day-to-day life. These paintings illustrate the entire universe of the people of Bali. Stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Jataka Kathas are predominantly demonstrated through these Niskala paintings. There are no names or signatures of painters of these paintings. Creators of these paintings have preferred to remain unidentified. These paintings are not meant to express personal viewpoints of artists as is the practice of Western artists and Western world. These paintings showcase the basic difference between individualistic approach and collective harmony of the place. Creation of these paintings is more of an act of devotion rather than showcasing the individual talent. Thus, perfection is directly related to the amount of devotion, Bhakti. Any act performed in Bhakti leads to beauty, spreading love and harmony. Temples become the medium for it.