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Dokar (Horse Cart) Festival  

by on Monday, 25 February 2008One Comment | 2,367 views

Keeping alive the art and culture of Bali is not only the responsibility of the government, though government has programs to preserve the cultural heritages. Balinese youth have their own way in participating and supporting those programs.

Commemorating the Denpasar’s 16th anniversary, some Balinese youths who are affiliated to the KMHDI (Hindu’s youth association) held a ‘dokar’ festival on Saturday (February 23th 2008) at Puputan, Denpasar. ‘But before we proceed “what is a “Dokar” anyway? Horse cart or Dokar is fairly simple structure that is created from timber upon a metal base with two large wagon wheels. Passengers sit sideways behind the driver on padded bench seats and the entire contraption is attached to a small horse with a sturdy leather harness and set of reigns. Depending on the weigh of the load, the cart travels along at a slightly tilted angle. Since Dokar does not use any machine it does not produces any dangerous residue and the air will keep clean.


Nowadays, dokar is a rare means of transportation as well as endangered cultural heritage. “Trough this festival we hope that ‘dokar’ can exist as traditional transportation,” said I Dewa Putu Wira Jaya, the chairman of festival committee. Unfortunately, the news of this festival were not sent to many people. On the day of the festival the people which attended the festival were not as many as expected by the committee. “I admit it. We are cooperated with Denpasar government but there is miscommunication about the date,” he regrets.

38 dokars with their drivers participated on this festival. The driver decorated his dokar beautifully. Some of them decorated his dokar like a golden chariot. It was so creative. However, there was a dokar which was adorned so simple; only using withered leaves. Poor! Puputan on that time was fulfilled by dokar; consequently the smell of the festival venue was not good. Many horses urinate at there. Yeak!!

Winning the decorated horse cart (dokar) competition was not just about the decorating a horse cart as fancy as possible but also managing the cart skillfully. The competition consisted of two parts: first, maneuver test in which the driver of the cart was required to do some maneuvers such as moving forward and backward, and circling some obstacles, the second part was a ride around the town, in which the cart was driven around Denpasar Municipality.

While, the juries counted the total score of each dokar, the committee invited a Balinese young girl to sing and dance Balinese together with the audiences. The driver also enjoyed it. One of drivers who was in the crowed said that he hoped that dokar can be more popular than before. Nengah Pulisudana has been a dokar driver for 15 years. He feels how difficult to find people who want to use the service of dokar nowadays.

Then time to announce the winner came. There are two categories. The first is Beauty, Healthy, Cleanness, and Qualified to use. Another category is having long legs and ability to pass the obstructions. The first winner who has biggest score is the winner in general. The lucky one is Nyoman Gelik with his horse named Gading. Totally, the winner got Rp 3.000.000 and trophy. If you want to try travel by dokar, you can find them around Badung market in Banjar Pemeragan. Try it!

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