Foreign tourists enjoying coastal view in Lombok. (Shutterstock/File)
One day after Independence Day, Lombok has officially kicked off Lombok Sumbawa Charm Month slated until Sept. 16.
The opening of this eventful month featured a Sakeco performance from Sumbawa.
Among the activities presented at the event are food street festival, tourism rally, crops exhibition, coaching clinic for Lombok traditional dances, art and music performances and Ampenan Old Town Cultural Festival, which will be held for two days from Aug. 25 at Ampenan Old Town.
“This festival aims to promote the tourist areas of Old Town and Ampenan Beach, as well as preserving the art and culture of Lombok that is starting to fade away,” said West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Tourism Agency head, Mohammad Faozal.
Some attractions that visitors can enjoy at the festival include creative industry exhibition, coffee festival, culinary exhibition, Kota Tua Tempo Doeloe (Old Town in the Past) photo exhibition, Cross Ethnic parade, sampan racing and bazaar.
“There are also other attractions such as Peresean Exhibition and Wayang Kulit Sasak [leather shadow puppets] performance,” Mohammad added.
Peresean is the local version of gladiator, a very sacred traditional martial art of Sasak tribe that pits two people, called pepadu, from different tribes. Each fighter is equipped with a penjalin (rattan stick), that is coated with asphalt and broken glass at the tip of the stick, and a shield called ende that is made of cowhide or buffalo leather.
Meanwhile, Wayang Kulit Sasak is a shadow puppet tradition that also comes from Sasak tribe.
“You can call this a minimalist theater performance because only 10 people are needed. These people consist of a puppet master, two helpers and seven gamelan performers. The story being told is Serat Menak, which main character is called Wong Agung Menak. The show is different from shadow puppet performances in Java that highlight the Mahabarata and Ramayana stories,” he told.
Ampenan Old Town has dozens of historical buildings from the Indian-Dutch era, all adorned in Chinese and Dutch house designs.
Ampenan also hosts a very heterogeneous village compound consisting of Chinese village, Bugis village, Malay village, Banjar village, Arabian village and Balinese village.
The city used to serve as one of the country's economic and trade centers and it can be seen from fleet ruins scattered at the Ampenan beach.
The city is the best departure point for those who want to sail across to Bali as it only takes one hour to reach Karangasem regency in Bali from Ampenan. Meanwhile, traveling from Padangbai in Bali to Lembar in West Lombok takes five hours.
Apart from Ampenan Old Town, events for Lombok Sumbawa Charm Month will be located in several places, such as Mandalika, Sembalun and Gili Tramena Begawe. (kes)