a cultural microcosmos

Tenganan Village - a cultural microcosmos

In and around Tenganan

On the east coast of Bali, surrounded by high mountains, lies an ancient fortress village called Tenganan. Dating back to at least the 11th century, Tenganan preserves certain ways life lost to the rest of Bali. It is regarded by the Balinese as a ‘senior’ village.The uniqueness of Tenganan is evident the moment of stepping through one of the four gates in the wall that encloses the entire the village - Tenganan has a feuding past. Grey stones pave the roads and wall off the houses, each with exactly the same layout as the next. Gentle giants, the beautiful Balinese buffalo, loiter freely in shady spots.

The culture of Tenganan is similarly unique, based on a philosophy of interconnectivity. This philosophy is reflected in the design of the ‘gringsing’ weaving, practiced in only two other places in the world outside of Tenganan. Gringsing uses natural dyes painstakingly made from products collected from the forest.

Around Tenganan is one of the most intact tropical forests in Bali. Tenganan’s residents have their own environmental management laws based on sustainability and the aforementioned interconnectivity. The locals explain that they actively conserve biodiversity partly because such a wide variety of plants are needed for Tenganan’s regular rituals and ceremonies.

Many other local beliefs and rulings distinguish Tenganan from the rest of Bali, such as equal land rights between women and men, and the forbidding of marriage outside the village.

What the Tenganan villagers offer to visitors

Each trip to Tenganan is different, depending on your interests and the activities of the villagers at the time of your booking. A tailor made plan will be made in consultation with you, prior to departure. Activities you may choose from in Tenganan include:

  • A guided stroll around the village (recommended). As the layout of the village is tied in with cultural beliefs, this is the best way to get an idea of what makes Tenganan 'tick'. Pat the buffalo, visit the temples and hear about the system of rule in the village and what it means to worship, as Tenganan does, "Dewa Indra", the Hindu deity of war.
  • Sit down with a Tenganan woman or man and learn the craft of weaving. The teaching of Tenganan's double weave is forbidden (and in any case too difficult!), but there are other forms that can be learned. No doubt you will gain a new appreciation for the skill of Tenganan craftspeople.
  • Forest trekking. The locals know the forest around Tenganan intimately. A trek into the mountains will take you past many small hidden temples. Your guide will tell you about the tress used for building, for foods and for medicines. You'll also learn about local rulings for the use of the trees- for example certain fruits (such as durian) which can only be collected after they fall from the tree naturally. At the top you'll get a birdseye view of Tenganan and a refreshing forest drink straight from the heart of the sweet enau fruit.
  • For the more intrepid, a 4-5 hour trek from the border of the village to the village of Tenganan is also possible. The trek will take you through forest and proffer amazing views of the volcano Mt Agung and the distant ocean. There is plenty of resting, eating and chatting about the forest to be done on the way until you begin the decent to Tenganan in the afternoon.
  • A tasty Balinese lunch is provided on all day trips to Tenganan.
  • Note that you are more likely to bump into other visitors in Tenganan than in the other JED villages.

Accommodation in Tenganan

Tenganan does not offer visitor accommodation as the village's law not allow outsider to stay overnight in Tenganan Village even other Balinese. We will accommodate you in simple accommodation around Candidasa or you can arrange your own accommodation as you like based on your budget at Candidasa.