Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Death of Terunyans - Lake Batur, Bali, Indonesia

Human skulls lined on higher ground
We hired our boat from the counter at this jetty
The Terunyan village is one of the oldest village located on the edge of Lake Batur, Kintamani. Teruyans are the original Bali descendants. What attract tourists to this village is the way they treat dead bodies.  We hired a private boat for 600,000 Rupiah to Terunyan Village to see how dead bodies are treated. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to reach there. We could hire a shared boat but considering we might not want to stay that long, we decided to take a private boat and our guide Eduardo came along. 
Our boatman waiting for us

As our boat approaches the rustic jetty, the ambiance was spooky. We alighted and was guided by the man who is a Terunyan himself to the 'Cemetry located slightly up the hill.  Eduardo had told us, "Don't be surprise, the corpses have no smell." We were wondering if that is possible! Surprisingly the dead bodies were not buried but placed on the roots of the huge Tarumenyan tree and the tree absorbed the smell of the corpses  perfectly that we smell nothing.
The entrance of the graveyard

Not every Terunyan can be placed on this ground, only those who are "purified", married and young are chosen to be here.  Each time only 11 corpses can occupy the space and with some of their personal items used during their life time, they are laid on the foot of the Tarumenyan tree to rest. After the corpses perished, their skulls are arranged on higher grounds. From the conical bamboo casing we could see that some of the bodies were rotting but amazingly, there was no smell.  Looking at the condition of the body, we felt eerie and decided to leave the cemetery.
Tarumenyan Tree
Tarumenyan Tree
The bodies are placed on the burial grounds 
Their personal items are laid with them
Their personal items includes cooking utensils, plates and cups
The rotting body in the bamboo cage
The teeth of the corpse was visible
Another dead body
Closer look at the dead body
Picture of the deceased
The cemetry
Lines of conical bamboo cage filled with dead bodies
Visitors scattered coins on the graveyard
Just before we left a group of visitors came

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