Monkey Forest ubud
The presence of sacred forest is a demonstration of the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. In Bali, sanctuaries such as the Monkey Forest are usually in sacred village areas, often surrounded by temples. These cultural sanctuaries are not only an important part of Balinese heritage, but also an important part of everyday live. Temple festivals are regularly held for the villagers and the gods in such areas.
A Balinese temple is more than just a collection of pagodas and pavilions. The area enclosed by temple walls and the forest area surrounding it is sacred. These temples and the forest are essential for renewing contact with the spiritual world. The activities associated with these areas are essential in maintaining harmony between humans, nature and the cosmos. Not only are ancestral spirits and gods given offerings and prayers, but also the spirits of trees and statues in the Monkey Forest are given offerings and prayers by the Pemangku and local villagers
The Trees of the Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest, in conjunction with Udayana Univeristy in Denpasar have identified 115 separate species of trees.
Some of these trees are considered holy and are used in various Balinese spiritual practices. Examples include the Majegan, which is used exclusively for the building of shrines; or the Berigin, whose leaves are used in cremation ceremonies.
Of special significance is the Pule Bandak, a tree that embodies the spirit of the forest, and is used in the making of powerful masks. These masks are only used inside the temple, and the trees are not killed to make them. An auspicious day is chosen and the Priest asks permission of the tree spirit to cut a small piece of its wood. The spirit thus remains embodied in the mask.
The following provides English as well as Latin botanical names for the trees within the forest.The Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is owned by the village of Padangtegal. Village members serve on the Sacred Monkey Forest’s governing council (The Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation). The Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation has historically strived to develop and implement management objectives that will both maintain the sacred integrity of the monkey forest and promote the monkey forest as a sacred site that is open to visitors from around the world.
In 1986, only 800 people per month (on average) were visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal. Today, it is not uncommon for the monkey forest to host 10,000 visitors per month. Although the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation welcomes the fact that a growing number of tourists are choosing to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation also recognizes that tourism can have negative impacts on the monkey forest’s natural and cultural resources. As a result, some of the primary objectives of the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation include:
Educating people about the importance of conserving the Sacred Monkey Forest’s natural and cultural resources.
Maintaining a team of highly trained staff members that are responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the Sacred Monkey Forest.
Monitoring and whenever necessary restoring the integrity of the Sacred Monkey Forest’s natural and cultural resources.
The Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation would like to welcome you as a visitor to the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal. If you have any questions or need assistance, please ask a Wenara Wana staff member (identified in green uniforms). Currently, the entrance fee that visitors pay represents the primary source of funding for Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation natural and cultural resource management projects. The Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation requests that you help keep the visitor entrance fee nominal by respecting the sacredness of the Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, obeying all posted rules, and following the instructions of Wenara Wana staff members. In addition, if you enjoy your visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest, the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation hopes that you will consider providing an additional monetary contribution (which will help the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation to fund projects associated with the conservation of of the Sacred Monkey Forest’s natural and cultural resources). Contributions can be made at the monkey forest’s main office (located at the monkey forest’s main entrance).
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