The village of Trunyan is squeezed tightly between the
lake and the outer crater rim of Batur, an almighty volcano
in Kintamani. This is a Bali Aga village, inhabited by descendants
of the original Balinese, the people who predate the arrival
of the Hindu Majapahit kingdom in the 16th century. It is
famous for the Pura Pancering Jagat temple, but unfortunately
visitors are not allowed inside. There are also a couple
of traditional Bali Aga-style dwellings, and a large banyan
tree, which is said to be more than 1,100 years old. At
Kuban sub-village close to Trunyan is a mysterious cemetery
that is separated by the lake and accessible only by boat
- there is no path along the steep walls of the crater rim.
The village of Trunyan itself is situated at the edge of
Batur Lake. This location is inaccessible except by boat,
and it takes around half an hour across the calm waters.
Getting to Lake Batur takes around two hours drive to the
northeast of Denpasar along the main road to Buleleng and
through Bangli Regency.
Unlike the Balinese people, the people of Trunyan do not
cremate or bury their dead, but just lay them out in bamboo
cages to decompose, although strangely there is no stench.
A macabre collection of skulls and bones lies on the stone
platform and the surrounding areas.
The dead bodies don't produce bad smells because of the
perfumed scents from a huge Taru Menyan tree growing nearby.
Taru means 'tree' and Menyan means 'nice smell'. The name
of Terunyan was also derived from these two words.
The women from Trunyan are prohibited from going to the
cemetery when a dead body is carried there. This follows
the deeply rooted belief that if a woman comes to the cemetery
while a corpse is being carried there, there will be a disaster
in the village, for example a landslide or a volcanic eruption.
Such events have been frequent in the village's history,
but whether women had anything to do with it is a matter
You can visit both the village of Trunyan and the Kuban
cemetery by chartered boat from Kedisan. Sadly, nowadays
the boat trips are now blatant tourist traps, as touts and
guides strongly urge you to donate your cash to the temple
project or leave a donation for the dead. These touts ruin
an otherwise fascinating experience.