• Villagers of Tenganan

    The Bali Aga in Tenganan have profited from the lush landscapes surrounding their village.
    Rice fields as far as your eyes can see are owned by them.

  • Trunyan at Lake Batur

    Along the lake of Mount Batur you can find another Bali Aga village named Trunyan. Unlike
    other villages in Bali, it is known that travelers are not greeted with a smile here.

  • Keeping the fighters tame

    The Bali Aga might live their life somewhat different then the majority of the Balinese, but
    the many baskets show that they participate in this ancient tradition too

  • Fast food in Bali

    Little stalls along the road or at a square are very common in Bali. Here you can buy candy
    or a snack that is prepared on the spot such as chicken ball soup, fried tofu etc.

Fascinating facts about the Bali Aga

Most of Bali's inhabitants today are descendants from those who fled Java island when Islam was introduced. The Bali Aga people are those who didn't fall under the rule of post-Majapahit kings and their Hindu-Javanese court culture and are therefore seen as the original inhabitants of Bali island.

Their religion comes from the Indra sect in India and unlike the rest of Bali, they are casteless. They have a council of elders ranked by seniority instead of elected representatives.


bali aga villages in bali
Bali Aga are built differently then most villages in Bali


There aren't many Bali Aga villages on the island and those which are still existing today are tucked away in forests, mountains or on scenic locations in East Bali, especially on the stretch between the coconut village of Candi Dasa and the capital of the Karangasem Regency, Amlapura.

Of these villages Tenganan near Candi Dasa is most open to foreigners while Trunyan on the edge of the Batur crater is one of the isolated places on the island.

The roads in most Aga villages run in a straight line from mountain to the sea while the small alleys run from east to west. Within one village there might be several banjar operational.

In the centre of every Aga village you'll find a big open building which is called the 'bale agung'. This building is sacred and the council of the village comes here to talk about the most important affairs.


bale agung at a bali aga village in bali
the Bale Agung


You'll also find other pavilions in an Aga village where villagers come together to perform certain rituals such as the Rejang Dance or playing the Gamelan Gambang.

The Rejang Dance is one of Bali's most sacred dances and is performed only in the inner courtyard of the temple. Its derivative is called the 'penyembrahma' dance and this one is the opening dance for tourists which you can see at the Budaya Arts Center in Denpasar.

Just like their dances their instruments are also sacred to varying degrees. For instance at the village of Asak, southeast of Tenganan, the Gamelan Gambang instrument plays an important role in their rituals and it is composed of four wooden keyed xylophones played with Y-shaped mallets in each hand and there is a pair of seven-keyed bronze xylophones to carry the melody.


bali aga village tenganan
Quiet life in Tenganan village


The Bali Aga do not have the same ceremonies as the other Balinese on the island, Nyepi, Galungan, Caka New Year and Ngaben are not part of their rituals. They don't cremate their dead but bring them to the cemetery after the sun has reached its highest point. Here they undress the dead and bury the corpse facing the sun.

The Aga at Trunyan don't cremate their dead, nor bury their dead. They bring them to a special spot outside the village, place them in bamboo cages and leave them to the elements.

If you like to have a look at the structure of Bali Aga villages you can go to Taro (famous for their albino cattle), Bug Bug, Bebandem, Asak, Bungaya, Timbrah, Penglipuran (famous for their bamboo skills), Tenganan (famous for their double weaved dyed ikat cloths) or Batur (famous for their directional temple and volcanic lake).

Home > Bali Sights > East Bali Sights > Bali Aga

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