Explore Indonesia: West Nusa Tenggara

West Nusa Tenggara

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. 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 move further east, 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 island in the 16th century; for Hindu Kingdoms co-existed in apart 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. Famous fo its ikat hand-woven textiles, the island has exceptional charm and is relatively undiscovered, except for the town of Senggigi, which become major resort area.

Places of Interest

Mataram and Cakranegara.
Mataram is the capital of the province, which has in the past decades coined with Ampenan,  the port, and Cakranegara to become the province’s biggest urban complex. At the beginning of the 18th century, Matram was the reseidnece of the crown price of Karang Asem, a Kingdom in southern Bali. The ruler had his seat in Cakranegara. Lombok’s beigest Balinese temple is the Pura Meru in Cakranegara. Anak Agung Made Karang built in 1720. Dedicated to the Hindu trinity of shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, it has three courtyards. Three pagoda-like places of wordship stand in the line from the 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 or Brahma with a roof of seven tiers. Nerby is Taman Mayura. Once part of the royal palace, its 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.

Pura Pingsar.
This may be the only Hindu shrine in the world were both Hindus and Moslems come to worship. About 7 kilometer 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 was built on higher ground, behind the Moslem section of the compound. In the lower yard is a spring which pilgrims take a mock battle between Hindus and Moslems, hurling race cakes at each other.

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

Sengkol, Pujut and Rambitian
Time seems to have frozen in these three villages in Southern Lombok on the road form 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.

Batu Bolong Beach
it is located 9 km from Mataram. This beach has a huge rock with a hole in it. A Hindu temples lies on top overlooking the Lombok Straits to majestic mt. Agung of Bali. After sunbathing, relaxing and frolicking on this beautiful beachfront, 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 mt. Agung.

The Mayura Park
It is all that remains of the Karang Asam Kingdom of Bali, who’s King A.A Ngurah, structure called Balai Kambang, which one functioned as a legal court of Justice and a hall for important meetings. Curiously, it’s architecture shwos both Hindu and Islamic influence, adorned with stone statues in the form of a Moslem Hajji.

Kuta Beach
It is also known as Putri Nyale Beach. On the south coast of Central Lombok, it is one of the most scenic mid-unspoilt. From Kuta to Tanjung Aan (cape Aan) is 5 km away, stretches an unbroken expanse of clean white sand lapped by waves of the Indian Ocean. Kuta is sfe for bathing and swimming. Further to the west are the surfer and windsurfer’s beaches. Each, on the 19th day of the 10th month of Sasak lunar calendar. Kuita beach the site of great festival.

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

Senggigi Beach
In the north of bangsal, this beach is one of the most scenic and poplular beaches on the island of Lombok. Snorkeling and good accommodation are available.

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