When people hear Lombok Island most of them will immediately remember the beautiful beaches or the Mount Rinjani. Well, Lombok is actually more than that.
Lombok is also a special place for cultural tourism. The native people of Lombok – known as the Sasak Tribe – have traditions and culture that are no less unique than other places in Indonesia.
A moment to blend in with the Sasak Tribe is when the Bau Nyale Festival celebration is held. Usually it carried out once a year.
However, if you go to Lombok when Bau Nyale is not in progress, you still can visit several traditional villages in Lombok and to know more about the Sasak Tribe’s simple living habits.
Here are 6 Lombok traditional villages you can visit to get to know the Sasak Tribe.
1. Sade Village
Sade Village is probably the most famous traditional village in Lombok area. Although its location is right on the edge of a highway and has been affected by modern technology, this village has never lost its identity as a traditional village. People in this village still live based on local wisdom passed on by their ancestors.
Sade itself is a small village located in the village of Rambitan, Pujut District, Central Lombok. This village is managed as a tourist village initiated by the local tourism official. The houses in Sade Village also look very simple with a dry leaf roof.
This village contains 150 houses built in the traditional Sasak style, with wooden pillars, woven-bamboo walls and thatched roofs crafted from alang-alang grass. About 700 Sasak live in Sade, all of them are working together to keep the cultural flame alive.
The old ways live on in Sade, such as the coconut-oil lamps; the lumbung(rice granaries) that tower over the houses; and the persistence of weaving as a life skill for Sasak women.
People there call these houses “bale”. The “Bales” in this village are distinguished based on their function.
2. Segenter Village
Segenter is a village located in the Bayan District, North of Lombok. It is also the village where Sasak Tribe lives. You can find traditional houses with dried-leaves roofs here.
The traditional Sasak people house has long-squared shape with measurement of 6 x 7 meters. The wall is made from bamboo slices weaving but now there are few houses using walls from bricks. The roof has pyramid shape made from alang-alang, and all houses have ground floor.
In Segenter, a generation usually build house in one area. The parent dwell a house in east side, while their children live in the house in front or in the west side of the parent’s.
There are approximately 81 houses in this village in which resides 101 families. There are very common cases of these traditional houses unmaintained due to poor economy of the tribe. However, the atmosphere in this village is a bit modern. Buildings with concrete walls start to be built. Segenter Village location is also on the edge of a highway and can be easily accessed when you are heading Mount Rinjani to climb via the Senaru area.
3. Ende Village
Ende Village referred here is not the same as Ende in Flores. But it is a village located in Rambitan Village, Pujut District, Central Lombok Regency. The location of Ende is not too far from Sade Village but the community that lives in this place is smaller.
The number of people who live in Ende Traditional Village is only around 30 family. If you visit Kuta Beach as well as several other beaches in Central Lombok from Mataram City then you will pass this village.
Not much different from other Lombok traditional villages, in Ende Village you will also have a chance to views dried pottery-roofed traditional houses.
4. Blek Village
The Traditional House of Blek Village is located in Sembalun Lawang Village, Sembalun District. Sembalun itself is one of the main gateways before starting to climb Mount Rinjani. The history of the Sembalun area cannot be separated from Blek Traditional Village.
There are seven traditional houses in the village which are believed to be the origin of Sembalun. According to local residents, seven houses were built in mutual cooperation by their ancestors.
Standing in the Sembalun valley makes the Traditional House of Blek Village have cool atmosphere. The houses are made of natural materials. The roof is made of dried leaves. If there are special guests visiting this place, then a traditional dance accompanied with gamelan will be performed to welcome the guests.
5. Beleq Village
Beleq is truly a pure traditional village which has not been touched by technology. There is no electricity in this village because it is banned. Beleq villagers which are part of Sasak Tribe live with traditions handed down by their ancestors.
Nevertheless, they are also quite flexible with life transformation. Usually they will only adjust for a change if the entire village community has been able to accept it.
Beleq itself is a small village located in Karang Bajo Village, Bayan District, North of Lombok. The scope of the traditional village is limited by a fence with an area of around 2 ha. There are around 76 families live in this traditional village.
6. Bayan Village
This traditional village has a unique icon which is an old mosque built by Sheikh Gaus Abdul Razak. He is one of the figures who spread Islam in Lombok. The old mosque building which is said to have existed since the 16th century uses dominantly bamboo material.
Sasak Bayan tribe located in Bayan Village, North Lombok has a very strong custom and culture although they do not close themselves to modern culture. Various types of customs and traditions are still very thick there. One of them is the tradition of engaging in activities with people outside the nuclear family who are specialized in the home area called Berugaq. Berugaq is an open building similar to a gazebo in the home area that is used to perform various activities with people outside the nuclear family. The building is outside the house building but still in the same area. In addition, the tradition of customary clothing is still preserved there, so if we visit Bayan Village and participate in various activities, we must use their customary clothes: headband, songket and songket for men, and for women using kembenserta sarung . Nyirih culture is also still very thick in this tribe.
Basically the Bayan tribe is part of the Sasak Lombok tribe that inhabit the village of Bayan so that customs also thick with Sasak customs, so often called the Sasak Bayan Tribe. One of the things that is quite thick with the life of the people of Bayan Tribe is the existence of noble philosophy in it, namely called “Wetu Telu”. This philosophy is very closely related to the people of Bayan Tribe is because it has existed from the time of King Bayan. What Wetu Telu means is the belief that all kinds of processes of life in the world can not be separated from the three main things that are important, namely “appropriating”, “hugging” and also “mentiuk”, or in Indonesian means to give birth, lay eggs and also seed . Philosophy and belief is still firmly held by the people of the Bayan Tribe there.
RELIGIUS TEMPLES IN LOMBOK
01. Islamin Center Hubbul Wathan of West Nusa Tenggara Province
This glamorous Mosque is located in the heart of Mataram city – the capital city of West Nusa Tenggara(NTB) province. With total land size of 6,7 hectares, Masjid Raya Hubbul Wathan or often also called “NTB’s Islamic Center” looks absolutely out of the ordinary compared to the buildings around it. Moreover, the top ornament of the Mosque is painted with Sasambo Batik’s motif of the Sasak Samawa and Mbojo tribes.
Four huge towers are surrounding the corners of the building, these towers are 66 meters in height! The main tower as high as 99 meters functions as the entrance of this modern-designed architecture. The 99 meters high tower is a symbol of 99 names of Allah (God in Islam) or Asmaul Husna. This main tower is open for public or tourists who wished to see Mataram City’s wonderful landscape from above, or even better, all the big mosques scattered around the city that can be clearly seen from far distances.
This Mosque is the pride of NTB people, especially the people of Lombok. Almost every religious Islamic events are being held in this Mosque, the Ramadan festival from 2017 and 2018, and very likely to repeat every year – are being held in this Islamic Center, and the four high Imam(Islamic priests) of the world attended the event.
02. Masjid Raya Nurul Bilad, Kuta Lombok Tengah
Nurul Bilad Mosque that is built in the entrance of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kuta Mandalika, Central Lombok is named one of the most spacious Mosques after the Islamic Center Hubbul Wathan in Mataram. The Mosque was built two storeys with total building area of 7,200 m2 and approximately can fit 1,500 people in it. The design concept was taken from the ancient Bayan Beleq Mosque in North Lombok, although antiquely structured, you will not spot an inch of this Mosque that isn’t modern. The area around the Mosque is also well-decorated environment, making it a popular spot for photography lovers.
Nurul Bilad Mosque was officially declared at 20th October 2017 by Indonesia’s President Mr. Joko Widodo, alongside with the official planning of Mandalika Special Economic Zone. Nurul Bilad means “Lightray for the Country”, this name was given with hope that it will give light not only to the Muslims, but also to light up every aspect of Mandalika’s SEZ project
This Mosque was built in a land area of whopping 8 hectares, in which 1,5 hectares are allocated for small and moderate business shopping zone, which now called the Bazaar Mandalika, just 500 meters from the Kuta beach.
03. Masjid Al Akbar Masbagik, East Lombok
Located in Masbagik village in Selong, this golden-clad magnificent Mosque is a gem of the city, pulling domestic and international tourists alike by how it very much stand out in East Lombok. This 2,800 m2 big, three storeys Mosque can fit more than 1,500 people. The 9 towers surrounding it symbolizes 5 Islamic fundamentals and 4 mazhabs in Islam.
04. Masjid Darussalam Kopang, Central Lombok
Darussalam Mosque is located in the heart of Kopang district, in Central Lombok. Built on a 4 hectares land area, this 580m2 mosque been erect since the colonial Dutch era in Indonesia, to be exact, on the year 1800, a beautifully structured artifact of Lombok. This Mosque was built exactly next to the colonial administration office of that era.
This Mosque is considered very uniquely designed as it looked like a typical Buddhist temple instead of Mosques. It also very much resemble old historical sultanate forts/residences, still a mystery as of why was this designed and built this way instead, if you are big into cultural and historical aspect of tourism in Indonesia, this one is guaranteed to pique your interest.
To be the only Mosque that have Garuda encraved monument (the garuda bird is the national symbol of Indonesia) on the outer garden of the Mosque, this old artifact can be seen easily as you pass by, don’t forget to visit if you’re in the area.
05. Masjid Agung Praya, Central Lombok
The term “Agung” in the Indonesian language means something in high position or “great” or “noble”, simply describe that this Mosque is the center/biggest Islamic facility in Praya city. This Masjid Agung was built around 1979 was only a small Islamic prayer/gathering room on a local government-owned area of 4 hectares.
The construction of this Mosque took a few generation of Praya city’s governmental period, started with Lalu Sri Gede regent back in the 1970s until today’s governor, finished with tons of greeneries in its huge open yard, this Mosque also have area for children to play with complete public facilities, making Masjid Agung Praya an option for the locals to spend family-friendly time.
06. Masjid Jamiq Al Mujahidin Selong, Lombok Timur
“Al-Mujahidin” Mosque in Selong is located in TGH Abdul Majid No. 110 Sandubaya, Selong, East Lombok. This 1,540m2 Mosque was built on a 1,2 hectares land since 1960s. Was built and given “Al-Mujahidin” to give appreciation and respect of the people who fought and died in the late Dutch colonialism era. This colorful Mosque was designed based on modern middle-eastern architecture, at night time, there will be colorful light decoration that make it stand out as an attraction for tourists.
This Mosque can contain up to 5,000 people is always packed with people especially during the “5-time prayer” under Islamic rule, people also often come here to take pictures due to the pretty and colourful decoration on the outside, yet elegant and spacious on the inside.
The Indonesian island Lombok has mostly Muslim residents. However, there is – due to history – a Balinese minority on Lombok that belongs to the so-called Hindu-Dharma religion. It’s a special kind of Hinduism that you can only find in Indonesia and that is very different from the Hinduism in India etc.
Most Lombok visitors don’t know about the many Hindu temples. Especially in the west of the island you can find some very beautiful temples and only few of them are being visited by tourists. Hence, you don’t even have to go to Bali if you wanna see some beautiful Hindu temples in Indonesia.
01. Narmada Park
The Narmada Park (also called Narmada Water Palace or in Indonesian Taman Narmada) is located about 10 kilometers east of Mataram city. It’s a huge park complex where you can find small lakes, steplike green areas and of course a Hindu temple with a small shrine and holy water. The water that flows here is supposed to keep you young when you drink it and wash yourself with it. You can also get small snacks, fruits and beverages from the local vendors.
There is also a swimming pool in the Narmada Park, if you need a cooling.
The swimming pool of the Narmada Park. A beautiful and quiet place for a half-day trip or to escape the hectic of Mataram city.
02. Lingsar Temple
The Lingsar Temple is located in the small village of Lingsar near the Narmada Park and is one of the most famous temples of Lombok. The special thing about this temple is that supporters of almost all religions come here for praying or making sacrifices.
These include, in the first place, Hindus and followers of the Waktu Telu religion (a particular form of Islam, which also has animistic influences and is only present on Lombok), but also Christians and Buddhists, who are mostly part of the Indonesian-Chinese population of Lombok. On special days sacrifices are made in the form of buffalo or goat heads.
The Lingsar Temple houses sacred Rinjani stones and a well with water that comes directly from the mountain springs. The water is pleasantly cool and offers you a nice refreshment.
Even if the outer and inner temple itself is not the most spectacular, it has a beautiful little former temple entrance with a decorated door and the obligatory two temple guards, which are typical for Balinese Hindu temples.
03. Gunung Sari Temple
A true insiders’ tip and certainly one of the most beautiful Balinese temples of Lombok, though one of the most unknown ones. The Gunung Sari Temple is located somewhat remote in Gunung Sari, a few kilometers north of Mataram.
The temple has several separate areas and looks very unspectacular from the outside.
After entering the main gate, you can see the impressive complex on the right. Particularly outstanding is certainly the Ganesha statue on the left.
The highlight, however, is the beautiful small garden, which is located further back. Here, too, there is a shrine and various statues surrounded by a small artificial pond.
If you are interested in temples, the Gunung Sari temple is in my opinion a mandatory visit and a must-see! Also, totally away from any tourist mainstream.
04. Suranadi Temple
The Suranadi Temple is also one of the more unknown Balinese temples on Lombok. It is located in a forest area about 10 kilometers east of Mataram and about 5 kilometers northeast of Narmada Park. The Suranadi Temple is a very beautiful temple with a very special atmosphere.
Almost no tourists come here and you can visit the entire temple, depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Please note that the upper main area behind the stairs is not allowed to be entered by tourists (which is also the case with many other Balinese temples). Apart from that, you can go anywhere in the temple.
05. Gunung Pengsong Temple
The Gunung Pengsong is a small mountain, about 10 kilometers south of the center of Mataram. On the summit there is also a small Hindu temple (Gunung Pengsong Temple), which is not really spectacular, to be honest.
But the special thing is the outlook on the west coast of Lombok, Sekotong, Mataram and some parts of Senggigi. When the sky is clear, you can also admire a beautiful mountain panorama. In front of the stairs to the summit, you will meet a few wild and playful monkeys.
06. Meru Temple
The Meru Temple is one of the most famous temples on Lombok and it is located in the Cakranegara district (“Cakra”), a place with many Balinese inhabitants and influences. It was built in 1720 for the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
The three pagoda-like wooden towers (= Merus), which stand for the trinity of these gods, are remarkable. These Merus have 11 or 9 roofs, depending on the God to whom they are dedicated. In addition, the 3 Merus are allocated to the holy volcanoes Rinjani on Lombok, Agung on Bali and Bromo on Java. Around the large Merus there are still more than 30 smaller shrines, which are also very rustically made of wood.
Across from the Meru Temple is also the Mayura Water Palace, a large garden with an artificial lake in the middle.
07. Batu Bolong Temple
The Batu Bolong Temple is located just before Senggigi and you can see it already if you come from the airport or the port in Lembar. It is one of the water temples of Lombok.
The temple itself is not the most spectacular one, but still worth a visit if you are already in Senggigi. What makes it special is a small cave, which leads to another beach (“Batu Bolong” means by the way as much as “pierced stone”).
Please note: For almost all temples you will need a temple sash or Sarong, sometimes both. As good as always you can borrow these at the temple entrance free of charge. As in Bali, there is a guestbook in the temples where you need to register. You can also make a voluntary donation. In my opinion, 10,000 – 20,000 Rupiah should be sufficient, but only as a small reference point.
For some temples, a guide will ask to accompany you, but it is not always necessary. In some cases (for example in the Lingsar Temple) a guide is highly recommended as he can tell you some exciting details. The payment or the tip is also voluntary here. It may also make sense to negotiate the price beforehand so that there are no misunderstandings and unpleasant situations.