• Heading to the temple

    It isn't uncommon to see the Balinese nicely dressed on a motorcycle. In most cases
    they are heading to the temple.

  • Dry slopes of Mount Batur

    The dry slopes of Mount Batur makes life hard in this area, especially if the land
    surrounding it is barren too.

  • UNESCO World Heritage

    Not surprisingly one of the rice field terraces in Bali has been appointed as an UNESCO
    heritage site. This one is located in Ceking, near Ubud.

  • One of the many village temples

    Besides the big and important temples scattered throughout the island, each village in
    Bali has several temples as well.

Skulls & Bones at Trunyan village


The Bali Aga of Trunyan are the original Balinese and have lived on the island for thousands of years before the mighty Majapahit empire from Java started to colonize the entire island just like it did with other parts of Indonesia.

To stay out of the hands of the Majapahit they retreated to inaccessible areas such as the hills of Tenganan and at the edge of lake Batur, which the latter is located inside the still active volcano Mount Batur (1,717m). Here they have their own ancient rules, regulations and customs, which are different from the rest of Bali. They are very traditional, speak a different language and even the slang between the two villages is different.

 

mount batur bali
Mount Batur with its clear lake

 

At Trunyan village they are less accommodating than the Bali Aga at Tenganan and some can be money-hungry street hawkers but it has its reasons when you think about it.

The Bali Aga at Tenganan are one of the richest Balinese on the island because they own huge fertile plots of land where others grow rice for them while the Bali Aga at lake Batur are one of the poorest on the island because they hardly have any land. If you see anybody begging in the streets at Legian or Ubud they are most likely from Trunyan.

How to get there?

The village of Trunyan is located on the eastern side of Danau (lake) Batur against the steep walls of the crater with Abang Mountain (2,151 m) towering high above. Inside the crater you'll also find Kedisan village, Toya Bungkah village, Buahan village and Abang village.

The best views can be had from Batur village, Kintamani village and Penelokan village which are all situated on the 1500 m high crater rim. Many tourists stop here and have buffet lunches in one of the many restaurants along the road where you can admire the beautiful panorama of volcanoes.

In the old days if you wanted to visit this Bali Aga village you either had to take a four kilometer footpath from Abang or take boats from the shores of lake Batur with some annoying boat men. Fortunately there's a proper road now and after a small fee you'll get access to the village.

 

trunyan village at lake batur
The Bali Aga village is located right at Lake Batur

 

The village is home to the sacred Pura Pancering Jagat (navel of the universe temple) with its 4m high god statue of Bhantara Da Tonta, also called Ratu Gede Pancering Jagat, which is overlooked by the 1100 year old banyan tree. This statue is the largest sacred statue in Bali and believed to have magical powers; the temple has withstood several earthquakes adding to the mysteries of this village. Unfortunately travelers are not allowed to enter the temple and see this statue.

A very old tradition of the villagers here is to leave the deceased in the open air instead of cremating the dead in a ngaben ceremony such as in the rest of Bali. They are very ceremonial and even when there's a funeral in the village only men carry the deceased to the last resting place while woman are prohibited in joining because it could mean bad luck for the rest of the village.

There are actually three graveyards where the local villagers keep their dead and they are called Sema Nguda where they have buried young people in graves such as children, Sema Bantas, where they bury those who have committed suicide, died in accidents or from diseases and the Sema Wajah, destined for villagers who have died from natural causes and which attracts all of the visitors.

This mysterious cemetery can only be reached by taking a small boat to Kuban where you'll find the Kuburan or Sema Wajah cemetery. Here the Bali Aga put their deceased in a pit covered with white cloth and leave them in woven bamboo cages so birds and the elements have free play. A maximum of nine dead bodies are kept in these bamboo cages as final resting places and once nothing is left of the villagers collect the bones and skulls and place them on a macabre looking altar.

You would think that this place must smell like hell with unwelcome odors because of the rotting flesh but strange enough there's no stench at all. The reason for this is the Taru Menyan (the incense tree or fragrant tree) which watches over the corpses and neutralizes the foul smell.


Home > East Bali Sight Seeing > Trunyan

Bali Aga Tenganan

Most travelers go to meet the Bali Aga in Tenganan. It easy accessible and the villagers are more used to receiving visitors. Ideal stop when traveling through East Bali.

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Mount Batur

Every day hundreds of visitors head to this active volcano to admire the view, which is just gorgeous on a clear day. Stay at the rim of the crater or head down hill to the lake.

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Hiking in Bali

There are many trails you can take in Bali to experience the diverse landscapes and amazing views. Mount Batur and Agung are probably the highlights.

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Bali History

If you read more on the history of this island you will be amazed of all the major events that have taken place. Find information from the first inhabitants until the first tourist...

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Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!