Leisure & Tourism

The mystery of the ancient Trunyan village

Mountain village of Trunyan is located at the foot of Mt. Abang, at a remote and isolated place on the eastern shore of Lake Batur. The Trunyanese are often called Bali Aga (mountain Balinese), which refers to a conservative, pre-Hindu way of life with ancient customs and a rigorous avoidance of outside influences.

The Bali Aga have always occupied their ancestral villages performed their traditional crafts and trades. But on an island where most Balinese Hindus cremate their dead, Trunyan is unique. Bali Aga villagers leave their dead to decay in the open air. They place them under the magic, ancient tree that is said to stop the corpses from smelling. When the forces of nature, particularly the wind, has dissolved the body tissues, the skulls are placed on a stairs-shaped stone altar. The cemetery in Trunyan where villagers sail their dead in canoes to rot in the open air, is super isolated. Shielded by steep and jungled slopes, it rests on the shores of a vast highland crater lake. Because villagers were afraid of enraging the volcano – now identified as the Hindu god Brahma – the dead were left to rot. Since the number 11 has rich significance in Hinduism, there are just 11 arched palm and bamboo cages in the cemetery; once all are filled, villagers move the oldest remains to an open-air ossuary. Bali Aga people, who live in typically remote and isolated villages mainly in northeast Bali, are some of the island’s oldest inhabitants. You can take a private tour to witness these fantastic traditions. The guide will pick you up at your locations, you will get the ride in the traditional fishermen boat (pedau), and insights into local beliefs about the corpse and funeral processes in Trunyan. Just make sure to choose the skillful and experienced guide.

Bali Pocket Magazine