The founding of Tenganan in East Bali

longhouse110904.jpgTenganan is one of the Bali Aga villages. The Bali Aga are the original inhabitants of Bali and Tenganan is located close to Padangbai in East Bali. The story of the founding of Tenganan is told in a famous legend. Before the Majapahit invasion of Bali, King Bedaulu ruled the island. One day his favorite horse went missing, and the king offered a large reward for anybody who found it. The horse was eventually found dead near Tenganan and the king decided that he would give the local people the land near where the horse was found; in fact he would donate the area within the smell of the horse. One of the kings ministers was sent to the village to adjudicate and planned to lay out the boundaries. Unbelievably the smell of the dead horse could be detected over a very large area, which meant the area of land donated was also very large. The kings minister left right away the headman of the village pulled a rotting piece of horseflesh out from under his cloak. In typical Balinese fashion someone got hood winked and the area marked out was an area of 10 sq km.

Nowadays the locals in Tenganan rent their land for outsiders to farm and focus on making and goods or tourists. A visit to Tenganan is interesting because of the layout of the village and the longhouses. Do not attempt to discuss their history with them as they are in a state of denial.