Mysteries of Trunyan Village – Bali, Indonesia



The village of Trunyan, or Terunyan (pop. 600), is located on the eastern shores of Lake Batur, just on the foot of the Mount Abang, Kintamani district of Bangli regency. Trunyan village is believed to be found during 882-914 AD (referring to the founding of a temple to Batara Da Tonta), inhabited by descendants of the native Balinese – the Bali Aga, the people who predate the arrival of the Hindu Majapahit kingdom in the 16th century. It is famous for the Pura Pancering Jagat temple, but unfortunately visitors are not allowed inside. There are also a couple of traditional Bali Aga-style dwellings, and a large banyan tree, which is said to be more than 1,100 years old. At Kuban sub-village close to Trunyan is a mysterious cemetery that is separated by the lake and accessible only by boat – there is no path along the steep walls of the crater rim. Culture in Kintamani is the existence of a unique tradition , the tradition that only the bodies lay leaders / traditional leaders whose natural death under a tree Taru . Trunyan village is an ancient village on the shores of Lake Batur . This village is a village bali religion , bali beginning with the life of a unique and interesting people bali aga , meaning the mountains of Bali , while still very primitive society that Trunyan people perceive themselves and their identity in the two versions .the first means bali bali original . Trunyan reflect the culture of the cultural patterns of the conservative peasant.


The village of Trunyan itself is situated at the edge of Batur Lake. This location is inaccessible except by boat, and it takes around half an hour across the calm waters. Getting to Lake Batur takes around two hours drive to the northeast of Denpasar along the main road to Buleleng and through Bangli Regency.

Unlike the Balinese people, the people of Trunyan do not cremate or bury their dead, but just lay them out in bamboo cages to decompose, although strangely there is no stench. A macabre collection of skulls and bones lies on the stone platform and the surrounding areas.

The dead bodies don’t produce bad smells because of the perfumed scents from a huge Taru Menyan tree growing nearby. Taru means ‘tree’ and Menyan means ‘nice smell’. The name of Terunyan was also derived from these two words.


The women from Trunyan are prohibited from going to the cemetery when a dead body is carried there. This follows the deeply rooted belief that if a woman comes to the cemetery while a corpse is being carried there, there will be a disaster in the village, for example a landslide or a volcanic eruption. Such events have been frequent in the village’s history, but whether women had anything to do with it is a matter of opinion…

You can visit both the village of Trunyan and the Kuban cemetery by chartered boat from Kedisan. Sadly, nowadays the boat trips are now blatant tourist traps, as touts and guides strongly urge you to donate your cash to the temple project or leave a donation for the dead. These touts ruin an otherwise fascinating experience.

1 . The first version , the Balinese Trunyan is derivative , because they believe that their ancestors ‘ fell ‘ from heaven to earth Trunyan . Related to this version , the Trunyan have a sacred myth or fairy tale about the origin of the population Trunyan is a goddess of the sky .

2 . The second version Trunyan people live in ecological systems with Taru incense tree , the tree spread fragrant scents . Of perdaduan word ” taru ” and ” incense ” said Trunyan used growing village name and the name of the village population .

Eve Trunyan air is very cool , the average temperature is 17 degrees Celsius and can go down to 12 degrees Celsius . Batur lake with a length of 9 km and a width of 5 km is one of the water sources and agricultural livelihoods Balinese south and east .

Pohon Taru Menyan

In the north there Trunyan Kuban , a village where the tomb , but the body was not buried or burned , but put under the tree after an elaborate funeral ceremonies . Pemakamanan place is filled with the bones , and so we can find a corpse that was still new . Trunyan community has a strong tradition in burying the dead . There are buried but some are not buried but just put under a big tree . The tree is a tree of incense . But there are certain requirements about the funeral in the village Trunyan . There are two ways Trunyan funeral in the village .

1 . Corpse lay on the ground under the open air which is called mepasah . People who buried their way mepasah is that at the time of death , including those who have been married, those who were still single and young children who had dated his milk teeth .

2 . Buried / interred . The people who died were buried after they were deformed body , or die when there are wounds that have not healed , such as occurs in the body of people with smallpox , leprosy and others. People who die unnatural as killed or committed suicide also buried . Small children are milk teeth have not dated well buried when he died .

There are three kinds of graves :

1 . Sema ( cemetery ) Wayah for citizens who natural death . Located at the North.

2 . Sema Muda to bury infants and small children or people who have grown but not married .

3 . Sema Bantas for residents unnatural death , such as accidents or suicides .

The first two graves , Sema Wayah and Sema Muda located rather far apart in the village , while Sema Bantas located near the village of Trunyan.

img00365-20100325-1503 Human_skulls,_Trunyan,_Lake_Batur,_Bali Human_skull,_Trunyan,_Bali DSC_0727abc img_1950 30681284

Trunyan village has been famous for their Pura Pancering Jagat (meaning ‘temple of the navel of the world’), but unfortunately visitors are not allowed inside. There is also a traditional couple Bali Aga-style housing and unique ‘Bale Agung’, where the council of elders makes their decisions. The great hall (as its meaning) is one of the largest traditional buildings on Bali. Other traditional architectural oddities include special boys’ and girls’ clubhouses (“Bale Truna” and “Bale Daha”), a pavilion where married women meet (Bale Loh), and a great wooden ferris wheel put in motion during ceremonial occasions.

The people keep hidden the 4-metre-high statue of ‘Ratu Gede Pusering Jagat’, the powerful patron guardian of the village. This megalithic statue is fiercely guarded and attributed with magical powers, and only viewed at the time of the temple ‘odalan’, the anniversary ceremony that takes place in Trunyan around the October full moon.

trunyan1 travelslide2_63

But it is a mysterious cemetery that is separated by the lake near sub-village Kuban that attracts the biggest attention. Only accessible by boat, the ancient site has no path along steep walls of the crater rim at all. There, the air is clammy and the atmosphere is heavy and eerie. Spectacular view of this green mountain backdrop and deep blue lake with Mt. Batur to the east was a treat: not many people get to see Bali’s most active volcano.





3 responses to “Mysteries of Trunyan Village – Bali, Indonesia

  1. Another fascinating view into an indigenous culture, its beliefs and ritualistic customs. I was unaware of site and its history when I visited Bali. But to your remark, I can see how it has become a “tourist trap.”

    My question for you, JS, is: Hailing originally from a country half way around the world, what do you see in this tradition/experience now that you live in Indonesia?


    • it is really hard to describe Indonesia in few words but i can tell you that i have been living here in Indonesia for 2 years and i have experienced hundreds of cultures and ethnic groups, start from black magic until wonders of the existing universe over here, and still thousands of undiscovered mysteries lying in this land.. Indonesia – is an unique world…. Time by time i will write up my experiences which will shock you 🙂


  2. Pingback: Trunyan (Met de bus naar de barbaren…) | Advocaat van de Duivel

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