The Jakarta Post
'A tranquil stopping point on the road to Singaraja'
Words and Photos Eka Juni Artawan
The locals call it Gelung Kori Agung, literally the crown of a grand door, but for visitors it is popularly known as Bunut Bolong, a huge tree with a large hole in its trunk that a car can easily pass through; in fact, there is indeed an asphalt road going through the hole.
The road connects Pekutatan, a small town in Jembrana, a regency known for its agricultural produce, with the coastal city of Singaraja, the island's second-most populous urban center.
An additional road was constructed around the tree to accommodate the local beliefs that hearses, cars carrying brides, bridegrooms, or cremation ash are not allowed to pass through Bunut Bolong as they may contaminate the sanctity of the place or, even worse, incite the wrath of its guardian deities. Without doubt, no Balinese would deliberately tempt the anger of any deity.
Bunut Bolong lies in the hilly region of Manggissari, around 90 kilometers west of Denpasar. The long drive from Denpasar takes visitors past the pristine beaches of Jembrana, where black sand and wild waves team up to create an intriguing challenge for swimmers and surfers, to the scenic rural villages with lush paddy fields, tranquil cocoa plantations and rows upon rows of tall coconut trees.
Unlike the 'villages' in Badung and Gianyar, the villages here rarely see large groups of foreigners, thus offering visitors a more authentic glimpse into daily life in rural Balinese villages.
The tree with a hole is obviously the main attraction here. But patient visitors who give themselves adequate time to sit at a nearby warung and order a cup of local coffee, will be treated with another interesting sight: a stunning vista of seemingly boundless undisturbed forest that gently rolls into the valley. There is no summit, but several hills provide a beautiful backdrop for the indigenous eagles that soar around the sky at an unbelievable speed before gliding lazily below the tree line.
It is certainly a place of natural tranquility, where one can be forgiven for taking hours to finish a cup of coffee and letting the mind wander to ancient times when stoic hermits roamed the lush forest in search of inner peace.
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