5 fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about Lombok Island, Indonesia
Some time ago the travel360.com team had the opportunity to visit Lombok before heading to the Gilis for a 4D3N stay, which we really enjoyed – even though we couldn’t swim.
Aside from the beautiful islands, there is also a lot to see on the island of Lombok itself. It is filled with history and culture, as it has been one of the Dutch shopping centers for over 200 years.
Our guide, Hery Setyawan, was a traveling encyclopedia in the sense that he had a treasure trove of facts about his beloved island, some of which we found very interesting such as:
1. There is a temple where all religions come together: the temple of Lingsar
In a world where religious disputes are frequent, even wars, it is refreshing to know that there is a space, somewhere (read: Lombok, Indonesia) that welcomes people from all walks of life who have all kinds of religions and backgrounds. beliefs. Built in 1714 by Balinese Hindus, Lingsar Temple is a symbol of religious harmony in Lombok as it blends both Hinduism and Wektu Telu, a religion practiced by the natives of Lombok, the Sasak people.
Although the Wektu Telu consider themselves Muslims, they have adopted other Hindu and animist beliefs as well. Hence the symbol of unity and harmony. Inside, you’ll find the Hindu section to the north, while the Wektu Telu section is located to the south.
The temple is also famous for its water basin which is sacred to the deity Vishnu, and is home to a family of sacred eels. You can buy eggs from the nearby stalls to feed them!
During the visit : Wear a belt or sarong. If you forget, there are vendors outside who can rent you temple-appropriate clothing.
2. A seaworm festival (Bau Nyale) takes place every February
Now here is an interesting story: one of the biggest festivals in Lombok is celebrated to pay homage to the legend of Putri Mandalika. The princess, who was the daughter of the King of Tonjang Beru, was known around the world for her wisdom and kindness. When she came of age, many suitors and princes asked for her hand in marriage, which caused tensions and threats of war between the kingdoms.
Fearing to start a war, Putri Mandalika said she loved her kingdom and her parents too much to choose just one suitor. She then threw herself into the sea from the cliff above Seger Beach and vanished into the waves in an act of “giving herself to all”. People searched for her, but only found masses of colorful seaworms, called nyale.
The local priests then said that the body of the princess had been transformed into these sea worms, and that it became the symbol of the Sasak people. Now, once a year, the nyale come ashore for a few days, and thousands of people come to participate in Bau Nyale – which means “catch seaworms” – and see shows, competitions, games and dramas around the legend.
During the visit : Plan before February, jot down dates and book your flights in advance before heading to Seger Beach.
3. Traditional houses are made of a material you least expect
If you’re the type to sit in the passenger seat and look out the window as the car drives through Lombok, you’ll notice one very obvious thing: almost all buildings are designed to have bell-shaped shapes. From traditional Sasak villages to more modern concrete buildings, they have the same type of architecture. However, you would be intrigued to find that older buildings are made from the most unpredictable material around – buffalo dung.
With a mixture of straw, thatch, clay and buffalo dung, you will get the basic materials of a typical traditional Lombok house.
It is believed that besides being an excellent polishing material, buffalo dung cleans the house of evil spirits and can also be used as a natural mosquito repellant. There are, however, more modern imitations!
During the visit : There is a traditional Sasak village called Sasak Sade just a little after the airport, so feel free to drop by.
4. “Elopement” is part of the culture here
We say romance is dead, but it’s clearly still alive here in Lombok. In fact, they still see running away as a way of life, and it’s even ingrained in their culture. It is a rite of passage, and if a couple has run away, the man is considered “worthy” of respect, honor and marriage itself.
A slightly more unusual culture that is accepted here is the ‘bride kidnapping’, where once a man decides on a bride, negotiations will take place between the families of the bride and groom. Once all scruples and questions are settled, the bride-to-be will meet the bride-to-be at an agreed location, after which she will be “kidnapped” from his house.
For the next three days, she will remain there under the careful supervision of the groom’s parents. A representative from the groom’s side will then inform the bride’s family of the decision to marry, and after a civilized discussion, the wedding planning will take place. Pretty interesting, don’t you think?
During the visit : Maybe consult your guide or local friends if you want to attend a local Sasak wedding!
5.Lombok is known as “the island of 1000 mosques”
Certainly, there are cities that boast of having a thousand shopping centers, but Lombok has its specialty: its mosques, which are numerous! You can easily count to more than 10 on the way from the airport to where you are staying.
This is not so surprising, as Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Although Lombok has one of the best beaches in the world, it is also teeming with Islamic heritage in its places of worship and shrines dedicated to renowned former Muslim preachers.
While some of us prefer pristine sands and azure blue waters, others can find their own form of blossoming here, so there really is something for everyone in Lombok.
During the visit : There are tourist packages specially designed for Muslim pilgrims.
PREMIUM: They take Ketupat Very seriously here
We don’t know about you, but ketupat It’s something we know to be considered a highlight at Raya festivals and is deliciously mouth-watering. But, for the people of Lombok, ketupat is a very serious matter.
The Lingsar Temple (mentioned earlier) hosts Perang Topat every December, where representatives of the Hindu and Wektu Telu communities don their finest costumes for a parade and “fight”. The weapon of choice? Ketupat.
Another time ketupat made its VIP appearance is a week after the celebrations of Aidil Fitri (Idul Fitri in Indonesia), a time called Lebaran Topat. Muslims here still fast six days after Aidil Fitri, and visit friends and family, bringing with them ketupat, which is more than a delight for them. Our tour guide, Hery, told us that ketupat is a combination of the words ‘aku lepat’, which means ‘I will let go of my mistakes’. So, during this time, family members and friends offer ketupat to their loved ones, as a peace offering.
During the visit : Plan your vacation a week right after Hari Raya and witness the spectacular parade!
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