Kintamani is a small town located on the west rim of Batur crater which length is around 3 km starting from the village of Panelokan to the border of north Kintamani with Panulisan area. Kintamani town itself is 57 km from Denpasar city, 65 kms from Kuta, 80 km from Nusa Dua area. So far what is known as Kintamani is actually consist of 3 villages these are Panelokan, Batur, and Kintmani. Sightseeing tour to Kintamani will stop at Panelokan, the southernmost of west crater rim. There are many restaurant on the right and left sides of the road starting from Panelokan northward up to the southern part of Kintmani town. Tour program do not stop at Kintamani town, as it is only a town with usual market. From Panelokan downward across lake Batur is the old village of Trunyan which is known for it's unique burial tradition. Kintamani and its' surrounding such as various villages both below on the bank of the lake such as Kedisan, Trunyan, Songan, and at the Northern part such as Bayung, Balingkang, and to the far west such as Blantih are already exist since AD 900. Many Balinese king charters mentioned the villages and the obligations of its' people. But Kintamani 1100 years ago was named Cintamani, and Songan called Air Tabar. This is especially the village of Trunyan mentioned in many inscription to have been maintaining a temple and symbol called Bhatara Da Tonta, and the fact that Bhatara Da Tonta can still be seen at the temple belong to Trunyan village, a wooden simple statue preserved in a small pavilion, can not be seen everyday, except during the temple ceremony. As the prove that Kintmanai and its surrounding has been attracting people from very ancient time below are king record :
When tourism started to develop in Bali around 1965 one tour package called " Barong dance and Kintamani tour " was the most popular day sightseeing. The highlight of the tour which is until now still exist are Bali artist's colonies, Tirta Empul Temple, and Batur Caldera. According to some senior tour guides who have been working in the industry for more than 2 decades some tourists from Europe and U.S.A regularly come to Bali, for more than 5 times since 1960s and every times they come they always repeat to see this tour package. It might be the real spirit of Balinese nature and culture are mixed here which can give various inspirations, probably from business of small handicrafts until 5 stars hotels or restaurants for those who saw this as an opportunity. This has been proved by the tremendous development of tourism facilities in Bali from 1980s to 1995. The writer believe very much that what is the value of this trip has been triggering other area of Bali to be known in tourism industry. Below is described shortly how these 3 areas had been attracting people from immemorial times.
Kintamani and Batur Caldera. Kintamani are with it's magnificent view of Batur caldera have been recorded on king's charter's as follows:
- Inscription dated 911 AD, mention about the king envoys to pray at Trunyan village, the local people were asked to serve the envoys to prepare the meals and facilities during this religious trip. The people requested to his majesty to be exempted from certain taxes in lieu to the services rendered to the philgramage.
- Inscription dated 911 AD, the regulation for village member between Abang village and Trunyan village was issued by the king to protect their interest.
- Three inscriptions found at Kintamani dated 967 AD mentions a lodging ( pesangrahan ) at Air Mih, licensed by the king Tabanendra Dharmadewa. Here is mentioned also the influx or might be traffic of priests ( bhiksu ) that came to that area and wanted to settle. It was regulated that the new comers must not exceeding 10 families
- Just around 1 km north to Kintamani have found various stone sculptures carved in 1011 AD by master sculptor " Mpu Bga", dedicated to the king and ancestor's spirits
It is a prove that Kintamani area is the oldest area to have been recorded in history of Bali. It was probably due to it's very inspiring natural scenery and magical view. One of famous Indonesian novelists Sutan Takdir Alisyahbana also built his lodging on the foot of Mount Batur, where he produced many litteraire creations in the form of romance or novels.
Interest of Kintamani
As already mentioned above that the the name of Kintamani is often refer places such as Panelokan, villages around Batur lake, and Kintamani town itself. The crater of Batur is the central interest of the place which is estimated to have 13 square km size. The main interest of this area is the beautiful panorama of nature. In Indonesia there are only 2 places claimed to have the most beautiful vista. One is here in Kintamani dan second is Lake Toba in North Sumatra with it's island in the lake called Samosir island.
Penelokan is a vantage point at the southernmost of the crater rim. There is no traditional village on this area, but it was the people from Batur and Kintamani started to build small restaurants and art shop during 1970s to offer the visitors with tour break for snack or lunches. Later big restaurant and hotels were also constructed on the area including many souvenir shops. From Panelokan is the best view one can find over the crater and the active mount Batur. Lake Batur which lies far below the crater looks very beautiful with blue water color enclosed by massive wall of mountain such as mount Abang ridge and Mount Panulisan on the north, while in the middle is active Mount Batur. Mount Agung can also bee seen far away in the east. From Panelokan is the road downward to reach the villages below on the bank of the lake such as Kedisan, Trunyan and Songan. Big restaurants can be found in Panelokan is Lake View restaurant, Maharaja Restaurant, Gunawan Restaurant, Batur Restaurant, and many small restaurant serving a la carte menu. Good place to park the car is also located here. Tour program visiting Kintamani area will stop here to enjoy the breathtaking view of the panorama, then continue to upper area where again many restaurants can be found to have meals or lunch.
Lake and Mount Batur
Lake Batur which is estimated 10 square km has always been attracting people to live around its' bank. This is proved by the inscriptions mentioned above, despite the deadly explosion of Mount Batur in 1963, the people around it have been insisted to live there. Kedisan, Songan and Trunyan villages are believed as the oldest residents of Bali which is the same as Toraja and Batak people. In some aspects the have the same similarity in their basic words to mention objects close to daily life. But in term of ritual they are closer to Batak village, while the Toraja is closer to current Balinese on lowland which is bound to deep by rituals, people around Batur lake do not bound by such a complicated ritual. Their daily life is much depend on the fishing and cultivation of onion, corn, and vegetable. They are not able to grow rice as their land is not favorable for it beside the structure and topography of the land is very difficult, elevating to sharp. They speak Balinese, although subtle difference can still be heard such as the intonation and shifting of meaning. People of Songan village pronounce the strongest and a very distinct pronunciation which makes other Balinese laughing. But in general can be said that Balinese say / e / at the end of their word, while these people say / a /. Balinese in general pronounce a word plainly, while they giving strong emphasize on syllable, so if a word consist of 2 syllables there will be 2 different sound, and if a word consist of 3 syllables then they give 3 different sound. For adventourous, Mount Batur trekking for 4 hours is very popular starting early morning around 4 am.
Trunyan village can be reached from Kedisan or west bank of the lake only by boat. Today there are dozens of motorized boats stand by at the pier of Kedisan. A boat can transport 6 people crossing the lake 45 minutes from the pier to Trunyan village. On an inscription issued by one of Balinese king mentioned the name of Trunyan Village as Turunan meaning descendant. As the people of Trunyan believed that they were originated from the mountain on the back side of the ridge and Bhatara Da Tonta was the god who generated them, so they called themselves as " descendant of Bhatara Da Tonta " The location of the village is just on the narrow land between the lake and steep drop of southern crater wall which elevates around 75 degrees, even more at some places. Yet the people of Trunyan is familiar with this steep region and laid out paths to reach their farming area on the side of the wall. Like other Balinese at the lowland, they also have cemetery, but not one or two, there are 3 cemeteries. One is normal cemetery for those who died normally, due to the age, second cemetery is for those who died abnormally such as accidents, strange disease, and others, and the 3rd cemetery is for infants. The corp is not buried or cremated, but just laid down on a spot of land enclosed with bamboo fence wrapped with cloth or pandanus math. To bring the died to the cemetery the people using canoe as there is no road or path can be laid out on the steep drop of the wall. It is strange that the decaying corp does not spread bad smell. The people believed that big tree grows on the cemetery absorbed the bad smell, so people could not sense it.
Pucak Panulisan or known also as Gunung Panulisan is a temple erected on the top of a high hill north of Kintamani town. To reach the top of the hill from the main road it is ascending around 300 steps. The current temple on the top of the hill is probably not soo old, but the stone sculptures that are collected on the temple are really having great value to the history of Bali. Some of the sculptures bearing the dates of its creation. The oldest are a couple of spouses with the date of AD 1011 mentioned the artist named Empu Bga. It is believed that the couple is representing the famous king of Bali with his wife, the Majesty King Udayana with Princess Mahendra Datta. See from the style of the sculptures, it seems that not all of them originated from the same dates, there are some quiet late and it is believed also that all of them do not from the same site, and as the character of Balinese it is usual to preserve the old heritages of art in a temple. Closet to the site of this temple is found a strange temple called the Temple of Balingkang. This temple is assumed to have relation with Chinese of Chung Dynasty. This vague relation is mentioned on a manuscript that Balinese king married Chinese Princess which is now symbolized with the dance of Barong Landung or tall Barong. The female Barong is made in white color showing visage of Chinese and the male barong in black color. If we see from the word Balingkang it is no doubt that the word come from Bali + kan meaning king of Bali. The fact that the resident of Kintamani are in big part are Chinese second no one in oldness of period to other part of Bali. Most of the Chinese in Bali trace their origin in Kintamani. It might be assumed that the first Chinese society in Bali must be around Kintamani or probably around what is now known as Balingkang. Archaeologists thought that the king of Bali who married Chinse was Sri Asta Sura Ratna Bumi Banten, whose charter was found around the area with the date of 1265 AD and is most probably the last king of ancient Bali before it was annexed by the kingdom of Majapahit of Java, and who ironically described as king Bedahulu in the story written after the rule of Majapahit known as the manuscript of Usana Jawa.
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