Alas Kedaton is situated at Kukuh Village, Marga Subdistrict, or some 4 km from the town of Tabanan. This temple has two kinds of uniqueness. Firstly, it has four entrances into the temple, namely the entrance from the west functioning as the main entrance, then from the north, east and the south. All the entrances lead to the middle courtyard. Secondly, the courtyard becoming the sanctum sanctorum is even lower than the middle and outermost courtyard. The sanctum is surrounded by a forest becoming the native home to a group of monkeys considered sacred. Besides, there also live a group of flying foxes suspending on the branches of large trees. When they are flying together, it generates a very interesting attraction for domestic and foreign tourists.
Piodalan or anniversary of this temple is celebrated on Tuesday (Anggara Kasih) or twenty days after Galungan. Uniquely, the ritual should be commenced at noon and should be completed before sunset. The temple is often called Alas Kedaton or Dalem Kahyangan Temple.
Alas Kedaton, known as Kedaton Monkey Forest, since within the small spot of forest of high trees live dozens of wild monkeys and fruit bats, enclosing a temple characterized with old tradition of monolith which is supposed to originated from megalithic period.
The location of this forest is just 2 km from a settlement or village which is belong to the area of Kecamatan Kediri Tabanan, or located around 5 km from the town of Kediri. From Denpasar this place is around 17 km, and from Kuta is shorter, around 14 km. The environment of this forest with temple is a rice field and a small river on the east border.
Along the way from Denpasar or Kuta one will pass the villages and towns which is densely populated as the area relatively closed to the biggest city of Bali, Denpasar and very close distance to the capital city of Kabupaten Tabanan that is Tabanan city. Between Denpasar and Tabanan one passes cities such as Kapal, Mengwi, and Kediri which is now has no clear border between them along 21 km length.
The reason of preserving the forest in the populated area of Bali is the existence of a temple. A temple must have an area that is to be preserved either in the condition of natural or a rice field or dry field considered as the wealth of the temple itself. A tradition of Balinese that to preserve a forest or nature, a temple is built, so the relation between temple and nature is two aspects that must be co-existence. It is not only for nature but for any natural heritages such as animal.
For example see Goa Lawah, to preserve the existence and life of the bats, a temple is constructed on the mouth of the cave where the bats live, monkeys habitat can be found many in Bali other then Alas Kedaton, such as Sangeh, Uluwatu, Grokgak, Ubud, and others. At each of this animal habitat a temple were established, so people will not trouble the life of the animal. At every places that have dense forest a temple also constructed to warn people not to trouble the forest.
Only later after the independence of Indonesia with the formation of forest rangers some permits to cut the trees in the forest has been issued. This permits have caused most of the trees were cut including clearing for a new field of farming. To strengthen the traditional technique of preservation by Balinese, even a myth of frightening has been also created.
For Alas Kedaton a myth of monkey’s culture has been developed, and to protect the National Bali Barat Nature Reserve a myth of invisible town also has been created, and still many myths to protect places in Bali which is in the main idea to deter the people to trouble the preserved object.
For Alas Kedaton with its wild monkeys it is a story of the smart monkey life, like a human being the monkeys will burry their died member. That is the reason that from hundreds of years the farmers around the forest never find any dead monkey. A spot of land south of the forest which is look like a cemetery with dozen of small domes is considered the cemetery of the monkeys. This group of monkeys are more diligent compared to other monkeys as it is belong to the holy spirit that abide the temple, and any one who gives trouble to the monkey will be encountered with problem.
This is the believe of the people living around Alas Kedaton. This story was created to preserve the forest and its wild monkeys and fruit bats. The way Balinese preserve the nature sounds superstitious, yet so success so far. The only government side did not understand how to adjust this good traditional technique to shift it into scientific way of preservation, as it is realized that superstitious way will sooner or later will be re-considered by the people themselves in the pace of their knowledge.
A partial solution to the effort was done by Department of Archaeology of University of Udayana in 1982, only just to discover the truth of the myth by organizing an excavation to the spot supposed as the monkeys cemetery, but without the adjustment of the preservation ideas laid out behind it. It was lucky that Alas Kedaton has developed into tourist object and by this, the people were given advantages, if not the lost of believe on the story of the monkeys ability to burry their died member will fade the believe of the people to the holy spirit that abide the temple and at last will harm the spirit of preservation.
The number of monkeys live until today is believed more then a hundred which are become so tame due to the tourists always giving them souvenir for feeding such as peanuts, banana, and any kind of fruits. On the high tree also dozens of fruit bats which is called flying foxen can also be seen during the day.
At the front of the temple where buses and cars of visitors first arrive now have been built many shops, especially souvenir shops from handicrafts, garments, accessories, and any other goods. The shops are expected to interest the visitors to buy small souvenirs at their shops. This is indeed giving bad impression to the guests, just like Tampak Siring Temple that the guests are forced to walk among the shops to see the object.
Such errors almost happened also with Besakih temple, but with the new Bupati, the head of the region it can be re-located. A visitor to Alas Kedaton arrive at the parking area then walk around the temple or can also walk further through the shadow of big trees. Yet the monkeys already presence at the parking area waiting for gifts.
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