West Nusa Tenggara


The Islands

The Wallace Line, named after 19th century naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, marks a point of transition between the flora and fauna of Western and Eastern Indonesia and acts as the western boundary of West Nusa Tenggara, which includes the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa.

Lombok is noticeably different than its close neighbor, Bali. The northern part of the Island is mountainous and lush with tall trees and shrubs. The south on the other hand is arid and covered by savannas. Large Asian mammals are absent and replaced Instead by marsupials, lizards, cockatoos and parrots. The difference becomes more pronounced as one moves further cast, where dry seasons are more prolonged and corn and sago are the staple food, instead of rice.

At around the time Islam first came to these islands in the 16th century, four Hindu Kingdoms co-existed in apparent peace in what is now West Nusa Tenggara. Lombok experienced strong Balinese influences, but has retained a unique identity. The indigenous people of Lombok, the Sasaks, are predominantly Moslem and have a strong, distinguished tradition, as do the people of neighboring Sumbawa.

Soft, white sand, virgin beaches are typical in Lombok, where the motto is: "You can see Bali from Lombok, but not Lombok from Ball". Famous for its ikat hand-woven textiles, the island has exceptional charm and is relatively undiscovered, except for the town of Senggigi, which is becoming a major resort area.

Regular shuttle flights from Bali and Surabaya as well as ferries provide excellent transportation links between the islands of the province as well as the rest of the country.

Other places of interest:

Mataram and Cakranegara Narmada
Pura Lingsar Pura Agung Gunung Sari
Sukarare Sengkol, Pujut and Rambitan
Batu Bolong Beach Taman Mayura
Pura Meru Kuta Beach
Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan Sengigi Beach
Mount Rinjani Tepas, Sumbawa
Mount Tambora, Sumbawa Bima, Sumbawa
Sape,Sumbawa Hu'u Beach (Dompu Regency)
Wane Beach (Bima Regency)

Mataram and Cakranegara

Mataram is the capital of the province, which has in the past decades joined with Ampenan, the port, and Cakranegara to become the province's biggest urban complex. At the beginning of the 18th century, Mataram was the residence of the crown prince of Karang Asem, a kingdom in southern Bali. The ruler had his seat in Cakranegara. The royal palace no longer exists, but many of the old temples and pleasure gardens are still there.

Lombok's biggest Balinese temple is the Pura Meru in Cakranegara, it was built in 1720 by Anak Agung Made Karang. Dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, it has three courtyards. Three pagoda-like places of worship stand in a line from north to south in the innermost courtyard. The one on the north is dedicated to Vishnu and has a roof with nine tiers. The central one is dedicated to Shiva with 11 tiers on its roof, and the southernmost one is for Brahma with a roof of seven tiers.

Nearby is Taman Mayura. Once part of the royal palace, It has an artificial lake set in the middle of a park. A raised path leads from the side of the pond to a pavilion built in the middle of the lake. In former days justice was meted out and religious rituals were performed in this open-sided pavilion.

Other Places of Interest

 

Narmada

Taman Narmada, 11 kilometers east of Mataram, was built in 1727 by King Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Karang Asem as both a pleasure garden and place to worship Shiva. Its big pool is said to represent Segara Anakan, the crater lake on the volcano Rinjani, where they used to make offerings by throwing valuables into the water. As the king became too old to make the pilgrimage up the 3,726-meter high mountain, he had Narmada constructed to represent the mountains and the lake. Near the pond is a place of worship and a spring whose water is believed to give dedicated pilgrims eternal youth.

Other Places of Interest

 

Pura Lingsar

This may be the only Hindu shrine in the world where both Hindus and Moslems come to worship. About 7 kilometers west of Narmada, it was built in 1714 and rebuilt in 1878 to symbolize harmony and unity between the Hindu Balinese and Moslem Sasak population of the area, especially those who adhere to Lombok's unique Wektu Telu school of Islam. The Balinese temple is built on higher ground, behind the Moslem section of the compound. In the lower yard is a spring near which pilgrim's stage a mock battle between Hindus and Moslems, hurling rice cakes at each other.

Other Places of Interest

 

Pura Agung Gunung Sari

This great temple on a hill at Gunung Sari, about four kilometers from Mataram, was the site of the infamous Puputan battle, fought on November 22, 1894, between Lombok's last Balinese ruler, Anak Agung Nengah and followers, and the Dutch troops under General Van der Vetter's command.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sukarare

This is a village of traditional weavers south of Cakranegara. Lombok is known for its brightly Patterned songket cloth. The techniques, patterns and motifs have been handed down through the generations.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sengkol, Pujut and Rambitan

Time seems to have frozen in these three villages in southern Lombok on the road from the capital to Kuta Beach. All the houses and barns are built in the age-old traditional style and life continues daily here as it has for centuries.

Other Places of Interest

 

Batu Bolong Beach

Located 9 from down Mataram, this beach has a huge rock with a hole in it. At Hindu temple lies on top overlooking the Lombok Strait to majestic Mount Agung of Bali. After sunbathing, relaxing and frolicking on this beautiful beach front, stay till the end of the day to watch one of the most stunning sunsets you have ever seen when the sun slowly begins to disappear behind Mount Agung.

Other Places of Interest

 

Taman Mayura

The Mayura Park is all that remains of the Karang Asam kingdom of Bali, whose King, A.A. Ngurah, built it in 1744. In the middle of a large pond is a structure called Balai Kambang once functioned as a legal court of justice and a hall for important meetings. Curiouslly its architecture shows both Hindu and Islamic influences, adorned with Stone statues in the form of a Moslem hajji.

Other Places of Interest

 

Pura Meru

Another relic of the Karang Asam Kingdom is the Meru 'The temple at Cakranegara, close to Mataram. The temple was built in 1720 as a symbol of Hindu Unity of Lombok Island. Several engaging structures are found in this complex.

Other Places of Interest

 

Kuta Beach

Also known as Putri Nyale Beach, Kuta, on the south coast of central Lombok, is one of the most scenic and unspoiled beaches in this art of Indonesia. From Kuta to Tanjung Ann, five-km away stretches an unbroken expanse of clean white sand lapped by waves of the India Ocean. Kuta is safe for bathing and swimming. Further to the west are the surfer and wind surfer's beaches.

Each year, on the 19th clay of the tenth mouth of the Sasak lunar calendar, Kuta Beach is the site of great festivity. Fishermen sail out to sea while young men and women gather along the beach to join in the merry making, tease each other and perhaps meet to build a more lasting relationship.

Other Places of Interest

 

Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan

Gili, in Sasak means, "island". These three are clustered together just off the northwest coast of Lombok. Coral gardens abound in clear waters around the island, can be reached 10 to 15 minutes by outrigger boat from Bangsal harbor, near Pamenang.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sengigi Beach

Sengigi, north of a Bangsal, is one of the most scenic and popular beaches on the island of Lombok. Excellent snorkeling and good accommodation facilities.

Other Places of Interest

 

Mount Rinjani

Mount Rinjani, a 3,276-meter active volcano, is one of the tallest mountains of Indonesia. In the basin of the volcano's huge caldera lies the sickle shaped Crater Lake, Segara Anakan, surrounded by steep walls. The mountain is popular with hikers. Sembalun Bumbung and Sembalun Lawang are two traditional Sasak villages on the slopes of Rinjani.

Other Places of Interest

 

Tepas, Sumbawa

A charming village on the slopes of the mountain Batu Lante, 60 kilimeters south of Sumbawa Besar. The houses are built in the local traditional.style, and a visit here is a return to an earlier, simpler way of life.

Other Places of Interest

 

Mount Tambora, Sumbawa

Not active at present, the 2,820-meter Tambora is notorious for its savage eruption on April 5 - July 15, 1815. Falling debris, hot gases and lava stream killed more than 12,000 people. Some 44,000 more perished of hunger in the aftermath of the explosion. The top now an immense caldera, has two distinctly colored lakes. From die rim of the crater, the breathtaking view over time rest of Time Island includes Mt. Rinjani and the island of Lombok rising out of the sea.

Other Places of Interest

 

Bima, Sumbawa

The former palace in the town of Bima has been turned into a museum devoted to the ancient kingdom of Bimna. Dara, a village two kilometers from town, is believed to have been the seat of this once -powerful empire.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sape,Sumbawa

Shipwrights still make sailboats the traditional way in this port town on Sumbawa's East Coast. Sape is a convenient point of departure for trips to Komodo Island across time strait, home of the prehistoric Komodo lizard.

Other Places of Interest

 

Hu'u Beach (Dompu Regency)

This gorgeous white sand beach is one of Indonesia's surfing meccas. On the shore of the Indian Ocean, it is 37km. From Dompu and has modest accommodations for visitors.

Other Places of Interest

 

Wane Beach (Bima Regency)

60 km from Bima, this is another of Sumbawa's surfing beaches with good-sized waves and an ideallic tropical.

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