If you have a promenaded to Sangeh Monkey Forest tourist attraction, do not just go to the central and eastern areas of the forest. Try to take a walk to the west, specifically in the Banyan Tree area near the river. It exudes a different aura and it feels mystical because behind the big tree sits a grave of monkeys who live in this Nutmeg Forest.
So, when you come here, ask the officers to take you there. If you look closely, there are no signs if the area is a monkey grave. Its appearance is almost the same as the forest area next to it. However, the Sangeh people believe there is a monkey grave. On that account, there is a mystical story, that if these monkeys carry out the ritual of burying their dead friends, it is carried out at night, so that no one knows about this feat.
The existence of monkey graves is related to mystical matters. In plain sight, we never found the monkey’s grave. “We once looked for the source of the truth about the monkey’s grave from our grandfather who worked at Pucak Bukit Sari Sangeh Temple. According to him, the existence of this monkey’s does exist. However, based on his statement, the monkey’s burial ceremony was actually carried out at night,” said the Head of Management of Sangeh Monkey Forest Management, Ida Bagus Pujawan, recently.
Even though it is believed, in reality no one has directly ever seen the burial procession of a dead monkey. This is very believable. Our grandfather probably knew that the procession took place at night, so it exudes a mystical aura. “The grave is not visible, but we believe that this is proven by taking pictures in the grave area. There are often no pictures, aka it is empty. Moreover, having taken the picture of the selected object, the result is still empty,” he explained.
The corpses of monkeys that died due to age or baby monkeys were never found. If a monkey dies as a result of being hit by a car or an accident, the officers will not dare take it. The monkey’s body will be only moved to a forest area, then his friends will take him somewhere. If when the officer holds the monkey, a group of monkeys will have shown a strategy to attack. They are aggressive, and even suddenly gather together.
Apart from the rituals carried out by monkeys, the Sangeh people also perform ceremonies according to Balinese Hinduism during Tumpek Kandang. The ceremony is set up at Pucak Bukit Sari Sangeh Temple. “On the Tumpek Kandang falling around July, there is the Sangeh Culture Festival as an expression of gratitude to nature. Young people make a gebongan (fruit arrangement) and then carry it from Taman Mumbul to the nutmeg forest. Ultimately, it is presented at the temple and then the fruits are distributed. The fruits can be consumed for health,” he explained.
The nutmeg forest spreads across an area of around 13 hectares. Then, local residents divide it into three areas. In other words, they have their own three hamlets (banjars), as found in human life. They are East, Central and West Hamlet. When monkeys of West Hamlet pass to Central Hamlet, there will be attacks. “Each hamlet has its own leader, just like our life. There is one leader who can go to East, Central and West Hamlet. He can go anywhere without being attacked,” he said.
The leader, who in Balinese life is usually called chief of customary village, in which this leader can marry others from three hamlets, and each hamlet has around 15 female populations. This means that by nature they look after the population, there are elders who are considered to be large and having powerful body. These three hamlets have the same population. The westernmost is near the river, while the easternmost is near the settlement. “If you’re walking through this forest route, do not touch the monkeys or stare at the monkeys because they will turn aggressive,” he concluded. (BTN/015)