Secret place in Bali

Category : Adventure | Posted On Apr 11, 2018

In the Trunyan village in Bali the dead are brought out

There is one atypical village full of mysteries just at the foot of the Abang volcano in Bali. This is the Trunyan village which unlike most of the villages in Bali is well known for performing neither cremation nor burial to the dead people. Its population is considered as Bali Aga and limits the contact with the outside world as much as possible in order to protect itself from the influences that come from it and to protect its traditions. Its population lives from agriculture and fishing, but not from rice. If you are wondering what the inhabitants of this village could do with the dead people, if they are not burned or buried, we suggest you to read the rest of our article which will surprise you with the funeral ritual they are performing.

The Trunyan village is an old village populated by the descendants of the first Balinese, the Bali Aga. This community lives in a very different way compared to the rest of the Bali population. The Trunyan village temple is called Puser Jagat which means spaceship and its architecture is anything but ordinary and is erected in the protective shade of a massive banyan tree. The Trunyan villagers have a specific way of treating their dead. Instead of cremating or burying the dead bodies, they place them just below the banyan tree and the smell is mysteriously covered by the Taru Menyan tree perfume, growing next to it. Taru means "tree" and Menyan means "to smell good/perfume". The name of Trunyan village also is derived from this. In the Trunyan village not only that the dead are not cremated/buried but they are simply placed on the ground and surrounded by bamboo cage in order to protect them from animals. Very often the bones would disappear because of the monkeys that live in the forest. A morbid collection of skulls and bones is aligned on the stone platform nearby. The Trunyan village women are not allowed to enter the cemetery when a body is brought in. According to the belief, if a woman gets in there at the time when the dead body is brought, the village will be hit by a disaster such as landslide or volcanic eruption. They also believe that if the dead bodies are burned, it would also provoke the volcano to erupt. The village is dominated by merus that are mirror to the 11 bodies exposed in the cemetery. The number 11 has an important meaning in Hinduism and that is why there are just 11 bamboo cages with bodies in them. When all the cages are filled with dead bodies, the villagers then remove the oldest ones and they move them in an altar where they depose the heads of the dead.
There are 3 cemeteries which are accessible by boat in Trunyan: one is intended for dead people who were married or who died of natural cause and their body is covered with white fabric and is placed at Semah Wayah and after the body is surrounded by the famous bamboo cage.
Those who have died of unnatural cause like an accident or a suicide go to Semah Bantas and the children or those who were not married go to Semah Muda. These dead are buried.


There is another tradition that exists only in the Trunyan village: it is a ceremony that consists of a parade of teenagers dressed in dried banana tree leaves with a sacred mask on their faces. This dance is not accompanied by music. These young men who are specially selected would spend 42 days in quarantine so they could purify themselves. This Berutuk ritual represents the legend of the migration of Trunyan villagers from other Balinese Aga from the east of the island. This performance requires a purification of the teenagers, sacrifice and appropriate prayers that will enable them to be possessed by Beraha Beturuk. The young people run all around the temple and the spectators try to steal their banana leaves which after that would become their protective talismans. The dancers meanwhile repel them by a whip for which they say that any person being whipped would be cured of illness. This Berutuk ceremony lasts 3 consecutive days.
The King and Queen Berutuk engage themselves in a seduction dance inspired by the movements of a bird from the Trunyan surroundings and the Queen must get successfully caught by the King to ensure the Trunyan Village and dancer`s fertility. The young men are officially ready to get married only after performing this ritual.
The ritual ends when the Queen gets caught and the dancers bathe in Batur Lake. This ritual takes place at irregular intervals and depends on the needs of the village. However it cannot take place when there are diseases or not successful harvests in the village.
The dancers are not trained for the Berutuk dance purposes but for the necessary prayers. The dance technique is not important. What is important is the selection and ritual of the preparation of the dancers since they temporarily become the spaceships of Bethara Berutuk: Ratu Gede Pancering Jagat. (read more about the famous Ratu Gede Pancering Jagat)


The Trunyan village has always worshiped the ancient god connected to the Batur volcano and the village guardian, Ratu Gede Pancering. A huge neolithic statue of this god who would be the husband of the goddess Danu Batur can be found in the forbidden zone of Trunyan. During the special initiative rituals of the village the flowers are offered and the statue is ritually cleaned with rainwater and special oil, as it is shown on an old bronze tablet (911 AD) found in the Tegeh Koripanconstruit temple in the form of a Neolithic pyramid at the Mount Penulisan, the second highest hill at the Batur volcano crater.


MYTH # 1

At the beginning there was nothing in Trunyan except from a big tree called Taru Menyan, a kind of a benzoin tree, which emitted a strong and impetuous perfume. Attracted by the perfume, a goddess came down from the sky and settled near the tree. One day, working in the fields, she was impregnated by the sun and later gave birth to twins: the first born was a hermaphrodite with masculine characteristics and the second born was a girl. The goddess then returned to the sky and the twins remained all alone on the earth.
At the Trunyan village temple neither the goddess nor the sun has an altar that is dedicated to each one of them.

MYTH # 2

The king of Solo, in Central Java, had four children: three sons and a daughter who was his youngest child. All of the four children came to Bali, attracted by the benzoin tree`s perfume. They landed on the east coast of Karangasem and then traveled to north towards Gunung Batur. When they arrived in the Batur area, the little sister decided to stay in Pura Batur, where she still resides under the name of Ratu Ayu Mas Maketeg. Her three brothers continued traveling to the lake shores. The youngest brother stayed in Kedisan and the middle one in Abang Dukuh. The eldest brother continued to where the benzoin tree grew. There he saw the goddess` daughter and they fell in love under this tree. He then went to see the hermaphrodite brother to ask for his permission to marry his sister.
He was allowed to marry his sister but under 2 conditions; the son of the king of Solo had to move from there with his wife and become the head of the Trunyan foundation. The couple accepted these conditions and got married. The Javanese prince became the king of Trunyan having the title of Ratu Sakti Jagat Bali "the mighty root of the Bali world" and the little sister became the goddess of the lake having the title of Ratu Ayu Pingit Dalam Dasar: ‘’the sacred source/the sacred interior origin."As for the hermaphroditic elder brother he continued his reign as the ancestral laws and customs` creator.

MYTH # 3

This myth explains the origin of the Ratu Sakti Pancering Jagat statue (also known as Batara Da Tonta), which is placed in the main altar in the original temple of the village. According to this, Trunyan used to be located more south where Cimelandung is actually today. We then knew the site where the Pura Desa is now standing as Dalem, the place where the old spirits go after the last purification rituals performed after death, although the myth does not mention any temple, just the tree tantan buni, which is nowadays used to hang placenta and other substances connected with giving birth.

One day there was an inhabitant who was hunting at Dalem with his dog who found a small statue coming from the ground. The statue then began to grow up, soon reaching its actual four meters height. Finally a sacred place was built there. Firstly, the sacred place had a roof with eleven merus which represents the Balinese society`s highest status, but according to the myth the growing statue pierced through the roof and destroyed four merus leaving only seven. At the time, the temple Pura Bali Desa Pancering Jagat Bali was built around the sacred place which is nowadays standing in the sacred assembly together with the wife of the creator Ratu Ayu Pingit Dalam Dasar.

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