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.
Kedaton Temple and Village
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 created, 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 troubling the object being preserved.
For Alas Kedaton with its wild monkeys has been created a story of the smart monkey, like a human being the monkeys will burry their died member.
That is the reason why 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 encounter 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. Proofing living myth in the society by bringing scientific action will be very dangerous without extensive study about the effect of the truth discovery because it can damage the traditional values if not prepared to live in scientific life. 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
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.
- Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting see description
- Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century see description
- Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. see description