With centuries of hindsight, it seems perhaps rice was not the ideal choice as the most popular food staple. Growing rice is, for a fact, water and labor-intensive, and it needs a flat field that farmers can saturate with water during the planting season. So how have mountain dwelling folks dealt with this? Highland farmers need to create a flat field by carving floodable terraces into the hillsides. If we sit down and think of the work involved, a single rice terrace requires overwhelming labor and it typically is done by hand. Therefore, to behold multiple rice terraces, stacked atop each other as if to form a colossal staircase, is truly magnificent. This is perhaps the reason why Sarawut Intarob’s images of rice terraces has nearly two-million views on his 500px page.
Intarob has snapped pictures in New Zealand, Thailand, Nepal and Tibet, but the paddy fields he took in Vietnam really stand out as a landscape phenomenon. The hazy blue sky and the fine looking rice stalks give off a graceful, elegant aura. It is a collection of relaxing and scenic views for any visitor. One can only imagine that it truly must be a hardy lifestyle for the farmers, a role they have passed on from generation to generation.
In order to make the most out of poor soil, lack of water, and mountainous topography, terraced farming was introduced by numerous cultures around the globe. Extremely laborious to build, terracing allowed the land to support communities’ rising need for crops, livestock as well as poultry.
Erosion was circumvented, rain and runoff water was preserved, and otherwise idle mountainsides turned into arable land due to terraced agriculture. Not only do these terraced fields deliver vital goods for the local people, they are also some of the most remarkable landscapes in the world.
Rice is a staple of half of the world’s population, but these terraces offer not just functionality but breathtaking beauty. They are filled with indescribable majesty that one should see at least once in a lifetime.