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The Myth of Origin

Until this modern time the influence of myth in Balinese society is still can be found. Great epic from India such as Ramayana and Mahabharata must have inspired most of the myth preserved on manuscripts that are found in Java and Bali which are originated or written between 10th to 17th century. The myth including the role of priest, the origin of place, king, and relation between priest or king with god. The influence of myth to Balinese is great in two sides. One side is the formation of good personality, tolerant, and hospitability, but the bad side is the superstitious attitude of the people. Since in the past most of the people were illiterate, they were unable to comprehend their knowledge, while most of literate people must have enjoyed the tradition of writing myth and consider their story as historical fact. The worse myth that influenced the thought of the people come from manuscript called " babad" or lontar which describing the supernatural power of a priest, ritual and chronic of kingdom or dynasty that rules the kingdom without logical element on the description.

One of the myth very interesting is about a role of a priest from east Java who migrated to Bali and brought 12.000 people to open a settlement and live in Bali. The myth described by a manuscript called Rajapurana, that is the role of Rsi Markandeya to the opening of settlement in Bali and putting spiritual foundation of Besakih temple. Seeing from the content and style of the language the manuscript is not older then 16th century, so compared to the existence of Besakih temple, it must be much later.

The story about Rsi Markandeya is started when the priest was making a hermitage at Dieng mountain, central Java. During his contemplation, every night he was visited by supra natural beings. Those beings live on the ravines, big stones, and old age trees. The priest felt so annoyed by the presence of the supra natural beings, and decided to move to mount Raung to continue his meditation. In his contemplation he prayed to god for the guidance of how to make the people's welfare. On a night strong light was shining from the east felt on the chain of mountain on both sides of the foot were scenes of heavy and pristine jungles. On the far distance on the east the peak of mount Agung was also visible. The extinguishing light was followed by frightening torrent with deftning thunders. The priest did not show a glimpse of fearness of the terror, filled with confidence that not so long he waited for the god's blessing and will come. A mysterious advise was heard immediately that he was allowed to own land which he saw in his hermitage with the guidance of the light. Around mount Raung was said some villages which people was called Wong Age, skillful in cultivating land for farming, diligent and ordered society. With the presence of Rsi Markandeya at the village, social condition were getting more and more developing under the guidance of the priest and consider him as the leader. To this people the priest told his vision of the east land which was said still unpopulated and the land was better then gunung Raung. The people were interested with the proposal of the priest and a number of 8.000 persons departed to cross Bali strait in search for the dream land. When the group arrived on the area with many water spring the priest ordered to stop and open the land, build tents or simple shelters.

The clearing of land was faced with great hindrance and some of them were attacked by tigers and snakes, and the most distressing was said the infection of fever. With many members were died, causing the rest were discouraged anymore to live on this new land. The priest thought that this obstacles were caused by the supra natural being that was angry with the action of this new comer. The priest then giving an advise to stop the work, calm and patient. He further preaching that no human effort is free of hassle, and is the obligation of human being to take into account what they have faced and use it as learning to firmly step ahead to the objective, while patience and self control are the foundation of the success, said the priest. He then back to mount Raung and back again to the land with more 4.000 persons, and bring them together with the first group. The priest continued his trip to the slope of mount Agung and entered a hermitage. This time he revealed an omen that he must plant 4 metals called " Panca Datu " as the charms for the good luck of their people in opening the new life. On the place where 5 metals were planted called " Besakih". The ritual of Panca Datu completed, the priest ordered the people to start working. The meaning of Besakih is a sacred place which must be worshiper's place to adorn the gods. Their people such as given a new spirit and never feeling tired with noisy shout of combining energy together, noise of axes cutting trees and the thundering sound of falling trees made all animals took a hundred flees to save themselves, furthermore the thrusting power of the burning fire made everything cleared out and all animals run away. The Age people like over spirited within short time they were able to open a wide area for settlement and farming.

The People

This is the story about the origin of Bali Age people who are now known as the older villages of Bali. Such as Tenganan Pegringsingan, Sembiran, Trunyan, Pedawa, Sidatapa, and Tigawasa villages. If we see carefully these villages have nothing to do with Besakih temple, they even do not have the tradition what peoples around Besakih and south Bali do and even showing no influence of Hindu - Java tradition such as shown on south Bali. The used of Hindu-Java calendar was just reached them and also the cost and time consuming Ngaben ceremony even is not known among them, only recently they imitate lowland Bali tradition, not more than a decade. Vague physical traits can be seen among the people of these villages. Detail comparison on their traditional organization put them on great similarity and put away from the rest of Balinese on the lowland.

It is clear that the claim of Rsi Markandeya for Bali Age is totally unacceptable, as the facts have shown that the Bali Age has been in Bali before 882 AD, and the manuscript of Markandeya 700 years later. If the name of Besakih claimed by the priest is the Besakih temple that we know today, it will not again make sense as the temple seems older then 16th century with the finding of ancient sculptures around the temple. This is a fact that the writer of this manuscript did not know the correct history. It is clear that this myth emphasizing the role of a priest in the society as the super human can be a mediator between human being and gods. The type of manuscript like this is called " babad " or " lontar ". There is one more famous babad which claims the important of role of the priest that is the manuscript of Dang Hyang Nirarta, who claimed that Dang Hyang Nirarta had upgraded the life of relgion, social and construction of many important temples such as Rambut Siwi, Peti Tenget, Uluwatu, and Silayukti. Even this priest also known in Lombok according to this manuscript. It was correct that priests during ancient Bali kingdom around 882 AD to 1343 AD also involved in the palace which was usually honored with the position as consultant called " bhagawanta" for the priests with broad knowledge and historically related to the palace having various knowleges, not only religious rituals. Various ancient Bali king's edics mentioned this role of the priests group which is called " pakira-kiran i jro makabehan".

Other Interesting Places

Judul Bali Age People and Villages
Bali Artists and Works
Bali Coffee
Bali Cuisines
Bali Double Ikat Clothing
Bali Fruit Salak
Bali Museum
Bali Painting Art
Bali Holidays
Bali Temples Others
Bali War Dance
Bali Writing Craft
Balinese House
Balinese Kinship
Balinese Naming Tradition
Banjar, the smallest Settlement Unit of Bali
Banten, the offering of Bali
Batukaru Temple
Beaches of Bali
Besakih Temple
Castes, the Social Layer of Bali
Dialect of Bali Language
Chinese Early Trace
Gua Gajah Temple
Gua Lawah Temple
Healing, the traditional medicament of Bali
History of Bali island
Kamasan Painting Style
Keris a long dagger of magic weapon
Kulkul Bali traditional bell
Leak witch craft known in Bali
Mariage of Bali a long process of ritual
Ngaben and Cremation ceremony of Bali
Ponjok Batu Temple
Sacred dance of Bali
Subak the organization of rice irrigation
Tajen Balinese Tranditional Gambling
Taman Ayun Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Tirta Empul Temple
Ubud Painting and carving Art
Ulun Danu Temple
Uluwatu Temple
Yeh Pulu Temple

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