By , Chief photographer of The Christian Science Monitor

Bali is only one of more than 3,000 islands in Indonesia - the fifth most populous nation in the world. But this island must be one of the world's loveliest. Rich in dramatic scenery, ancient temples, and graceful people, it is a paradise for the fortunate photographer.

An immense nation covering a total land area of 741,000 square miles, Indonesia is still growing. One-fourth of its 400 volcanoes - two of them in Bali - are still active, changing the country's contours to new scenes spectacular in their contrast.

Bali remains one of the few places left where the traveler can still explore and discover untouched places and witness exotic rituals that have not diminished with the passing of time. Every back road is a gateway into the heart of the Balinese people.

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The roads of Bali become the sidewalks, the playgrounds, the meeting places, the cargo routes, and the paths for ceremonial processions.

Temples are everywhere - large and small, plain and elaborate. In addition to private temples in each compound, every village must have at least three temples to be considered a complete village community. Most are covered with intricate hand-carved decorations.

At dawn the men set out for the rice fields accompanied by flocks of ducks that are brought to bathe and feed all day in the flooded paddies. The cascading terraces of rice fields are the most striking feature of the landscape - one flowing into the next like a rhythmic pattern on green silk.

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