Become a Tourist Magnet, The Mystery of the Giant Tree in Tabanan

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

The information written by the manager mentions the number 700 years as the age of the tree with whitish bark at Babakan Temple, Tua Village, Marga District, Tabanan Regency, Bali.

The tree, which is estimated to be more than 50 meters high and several meters high, is like a fashion stage because it is a point for taking photos of various styles. One of my favorite spots is the root crease which seems to envelop the person underneath.

In plain view this eucalyptus tree looks majestic and still fresh. The color of the bark is still brilliant. The roots continue to pierce the ground and then pop back up to the surface. In fact, the roots are wrapped around the temple building beside it.

The location of this tree can be reached in about an hour’s drive from Denpasar. The usual tourist routes are Jatiluwih and Bedugul. Both, rice terraces and mountain tourism are in Tabanan.

For example, what are the nutrients in the soil that make it so tall and big, how does it feel to block rainstorms and lightning for hundreds of years? This village is blessed with the presence of a giant tree that provides a lot of oxygen and protection.

Roots are especially beautiful, folding into giant hiding places or blankets. Humans look very small compared to this tree.

Residents sacred this tree. Part of the temple complex managed by the local community. However, the splendor of this temple is misused by a number of tourists. There is a Russian tourist, Alina, who was deported in May 2022 for posting a half-naked photo and posing like a model in this tree. Before being deported, he made a religious ceremony to apologize spiritually to the caretakers and those around him.

Wayan Bagia, one of the caretakers and tour managers of the Eucalyptus Tree, said that there had been two times when tourists posed half-naked for the benefit of their social media content. Needless to say, the manager finally made a special announcement in Russian containing a warning.

Section only smiled slightly at the incident that sparked public outrage. “We are not on duty 24 hours. 

It was difficult for him to control closely because this area was open and there were two entrances. From the direction of rice fields on the south side and settlements on the west side.

There are only trees and temples. At the west post there is a guard and a donation box. Around there are a number of stalls.

There is no history of this tree, only the manager’s verbal explanation. Local residents believe it is 700 years old because there are no eyewitnesses who can deduce its real age. “The oldest resident in this village has found this big tree,” said Bagia.

This tree tour is managed by Pura Babakan, from Komutas or Dadia Pemaksan. Busy tourist visits encourage the presence of cafes, stalls around. This quiet village becomes bustling at the point of the tree which is easily visible from a distance.

Because the size of the width and height are very dominant, from a distance of hundreds of meters, you can find the location. Online maps can also guide, titled ancient tree or eucalyptus tree.

Looking at the shape, this tree can also be found near water sources or rivers but there are not as big as eucalyptus in this old village.

The characteristics are the same, there are protruding roots, folded roots as if branches, and gripping strength of the cliff area. In fact, sticking as if hugging concrete or brick if it grows near the wall.

The action of tourists posing semi-naked in trees and mountains in Bali prompted the governor to make new regulations.

Wayan Koster, the Governor of Bali again issued a circular letter to regulate tourists in Bali through Circular Letter 4/2023 concerning the New Order for Foreign Tourists While in Bali, issued last May 31.

It’s quite long. Among other things, it obliges foreign tourists to glorify the sanctity of temples, pratima, and sacred religious symbols. Seriously respecting the customs, traditions, arts and culture, as well as the local wisdom of the Balinese people in the processions and ceremonies that are being carried out.

Prohibit foreign tourists from entering the prayer area ( utamaning mandala and madyaning mandala ) holy places or sacred places such as temples, pelinggih, except for the need to pray by wearing traditional Balinese prayer clothes, and not having menstruation (menstruation).

Prohibition from climbing sacred and immoral trees that desecrate holy and sacred places, temples, pratima, and religious symbols, such as climbing sacred buildings and taking photographs in immodest or naked clothes.

Foreign tourists who behave inappropriately and violate other provisions will be subject to strict action in accordance with laws and regulations, namely deportation, administrative sanctions, criminal penalties and other harsh sanctions.

Purify the tree

Traditions and rituals of tree purification are easily seen in Bali. Many temples are protected by large trees such as banyan, pule, kepuh, and the surname Ficus. Besides playing an important role for ecology, it also has social and cultural significance. Usually the trees in this sacred place are marked with a cloth winding, black and white or red, white, black.

Not only temples or sacred places are marked by the presence of large trees, graves (setra) are also marked.  It is so shady that it often becomes a public space such as a trade center or a place to hang out.

A major public space in the past, the royal era was marked by the presence of the largest tree so there was no need for buildings to provide shade, just trees.

Adi Mahardika, a biodiversity researcher at the Indonesian Conservation Foundation hopes that tree care is truly more concerned and science-based. According to him, this tree is a form and heritage of living art, a masterpiece of nature.

In addition, ecologically large trees (including ficus ) in urban areas are sanctuaries for other plants and wildlife. “We appreciate the ancient architecture of ancestral heritage, we see it as a cultural heritage. A similar perspective needs to be applied to living giants like this, big trees in our urban areas,” said Adi.

He did not examine this eucalyptus, but from two visits there, seeing from the character of the stems, leaves and fruit that fell or was observed to be rather low, it was probably a species of Ficus albipila (Miq.) King .

This tree is characterized by very conspicuous buttresses (buttreeses ), wide and tall relative to the height of the tree. Spiral leaf sitting. Leaves and twigs have very fine white hairs. Leaves fall before they turn yellow or dry.

The old fruit is red to purplish, like many other Ficus fruits which are also liked by birds.

Common ficus spread from South Asia, Indochina, Malesia, to northern Australia. “I don’t know the specifics of the habitat, it seems more ‘happy’ with slightly moist substrates, such as near rivers,” said this tree devotee.

Bamboo Species Discovered in Flores

Flores is an area that has an abundant population of bamboo. So far, only 18 species of bamboo have been identified.

“The research was conducted on May 31, 2022, before President Jokowi visited Ende and Bajawa. In August, we went to Flores again to explore East Flores,” explained Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Anita Widjaja , bamboo taxonomist to Mongabay Indonesia , Thursday [20/7/2023].

Elizabeth explained, of the two new bamboo species, one species had been given the scientific name Fimbribambusa jokowii Widjaja [Poaceae: Bambusoideae]. This type of bamboo is found in Boru, Wulanggitang District, East Flores Regency, East Nusa Tenggara [NTT].

“Local people call him Ron. Meanwhile in Kringa Village, Sikka Regency, the local people nicknamed Oran,” he said.

This type of bamboo is still wild, it must be conserved immediately because it grows on roadsides, fields, and there is a possibility of being cut down by residents.

Scientific name 

The Head of the Sustainable Bamboo Foundation [YBL] Program, Nurul Firmansyah explained, one more type of bamboo will be named Laiskodat, after the name of the Governor of NTT. 

Regarding the name Jokowi for the name of the first bamboo, according to Nurul, it was found the day before President Jokowi visited the Turetogo bamboo campus, Ngada. The President has great concern for bamboo, especially in NTT.

According to Nurul, scientific names are important to protect the diversity of bamboo so that it is recognized as a new species. The hope, can be developed in the future. For this reason, it must be identified and investigated so that there are protective measures.

Bamboo knowledge center 

According to Nurul, there has not been much attention on knowledge about bamboo. Especially, as a future commodity, alternative materials other than wood.

Nurul admitted that the science of identifying bamboo [taxonomy] was rare, so YBL took the initiative to share Professor Elizabeth’s knowledge with academics and government staff in NTT.

YBL has collaborated with Nusa Cendana University [Undana] Kupang, for the development of bamboo. The independent learning activity has been carried out at the Bambu Turetogo Campus, involving 15 students from the Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Forestry, Undana.

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