Down to the Mertajati Forest Tamblingan

Down to the Mertajati Forest Tamblingan

Adat Dalem Tamblingan, October 4, 2022

Re-Glorification Program of the Mertajati Forest Tamblingan has been carried out since 2018. Together with the Indonesian Dedicated Grant Mechanism managed by The Samdhana Institute, the program is aimed at developing the Costumery Adat Dalem Tamblingan Four Villages forest in Buleleng Regency as a tradition-based learning center for sustainable forests, to restore the sanctity and function of forest areas, and Tamblingan lake as Alas (forest) Mertajati.

Previously, in 2017 a cooperation agreement was made between the Wisnu Foundation and the Four Villages of Adat Dalem Tamblingan. The most important thing about the agreement is that the Wisnu Foundation and Adat Dalem Tamblingan (ADT) will work together in developing a Customary Information System development program based on the results of Spatial and Socio-Cultural Mapping in Catur Desa (Gobleg, Munduk, Gesing and Umajero village) in the form of a Customary database to restore sustainability. Mertajati Forest, Source of Life for the ADT community.

The first thing to do is to provide understanding to the ADT community, especially the younger generation about the importance of knowing the boundaries of the village area and all the potential in it, both potential resources and problems. One way to achieve this is through regional mapping and participatory socio-cultural research. The data collected is then processed digitally.

The expected result of the Re-Glorifying Alas Mertajati Tamblingan program is that the ADT community will receive recognition of customary forest management rights and the Dalem Tamblingan Customary Area is ready to be developed as a tradition-based learning center for sustainable forests. There are many activities carried out, including mapping regional boundaries and collecting data on the potential of customary areas, holding a Gumi Banten (offering plants) Park to meet the needs of ceremonial plants, processing natural resources, especially food sources, and compiling a tradition-based sustainable forest learning package.

Apart from learning packages, this program also produced four books, namely Profile of the Indigenous Peoples of Dalem Tamblingan, The Wealth of Vegetation and Fauna of Mertajati Forest, and Traveling with Putu Cening to Mertajati Forest and coloring book the Story of Mertajati for Elementary School students. Documentation is also made in the form of videos, namely The Source of Life and the Support Campaign for Mertajati Forest. All of them can be seen on and the Wisnu Foundation Youtube page. As a Tradition-Based Sustainable Forest Learning Center, Bale Melajah Alas Mertajati (learning center) was also built, whose energy comes from solar panels. Bale Melajah was inaugurated on June 26, 2021.

Enjoying the Richness of Oxygen Alas Mertajati
The Indonesian DGM team, Samdhana, and the World Bank arrived and were greeted at Bale Melajah at around 9 am. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing quite cold. Munduk coffee and secang tea are enough to provide warmth, accompanied by klepon, taro chips and banana chips, while getting to know each other and listening to explanations about the Alas Mertajati area which is sanctified by the ADT community. The most important thing is that the request to return Alas Mertajati to a customary forest will continue to be fought for, and it is hoped that the Indonesian DGM team and The Samdhana Institute will continue to support the efforts made.

The journey to get to know Alas Mertajati starts from Lake Tamblingan, along the lake using a bicycle, from Gubug Temple to Dalem Tamblingan Temple. The sunlight that is not too hot gives the impression of a past life, especially because the journey is carried out by paddling. One thing is for sure, all participants get excess oxygen, thus creating calm and peace.
Dalem Tamblingan Temple stores megalithic remains, there are archaeological remains in the form of a yoni phallus made of andesite rock. Then the journey continues to Endek Temple through a path in the forest. Endek Temple or Kentel Gumi is a “Mother” temple, where the Gobleg inscription was found. This temple also stores megalithic remains as a medium for worshiping the natural power of Alas Mertajati.

From Endek Temple, along the edge of the forest, the team returned to Bale Melajah. Because it was already lunchtime, just as it was raining heavily, we left Bale Melajah for the Gobleg Village Arena. Lunch is ready, all dishes served are waiting to be eaten. yummm…

  1. Reflection on “Glorifying Alas Mertajati Tamblingan”
    The visit of DGM Indonesia, Samdhana, and the World Bank this time was intended to see firsthand the results and discuss the processes that have been carried out in the program, as well as the lessons learned. The team was welcomed by Dane Pengrajeg (Head of ADT), the Chairman and Management of the Nine Adat Dalem Tamblingan Team, Village officials, BRASTI administrators and members, and the women’s group.
    Some lessons that can be learned are:
    1. The Dalem Tamblingan Indigenous People designed Alas Mertajati as a sacred area, but the government designed it to be a TWA-Taman Wisata Alam (Natural Tourism Park) area. Each region has its own conservation science, while the government wants to make it uniform. In fact, the strength of the archipelago lies in its diversity.
  2. The signs of the Adat Dalem Tamblingan culture are clear, there are many artifacts and temples, but management rights have not been obtained. There is a discrepancy between policy and the reality on the ground, legal matters become very complicated. There needs to be a way for the government to take it seriously.
  3. The sustainability of the program is determined by the young generation involved. The involvement of the younger generation needs to be carried out through activities that attract young people, while providing an understanding of Alas Mertajati.

In closing, a poem from Mr. Lalu Prima, SC DGM Indonesia:

Mertajati Pledge
Hi you, what do you want…
Do you want us to not recognize the country if the country doesn’t recognize us
If so…
We will take care of our customary territory if the state doesn’t want to take care of it…
Let you know, We are not masters of nature…
Nature of flesh and blood in our bodies
Nature is a loyal friend, not a slave who is traded
Nature is not a poor woman who can be raped at will
Nature is a mother as a representative of God giving love as wide as the universe
Nature teaches us the way to worship the creator
Nature prepares us a source of life so that we avoid extinction
We have left this nature enough
You never understand how to take care of it
It’s not about My Life – Your Life – Our Life
But about life
Then return it to us to take care of it…

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