The Grave

The Bali Aga prefer exposing their dead in the open air rather than cremating them. Valuable land cannot be given over to the burial of the dead. After complicated rituals, the naked body is first wrapped in white cloth, then placed in a shallow pit, protected from scavengers by a triangular bamboo fence and roof. Those who have committed suicide or who have died of horrible disfiguring diseases are buried.

The eerie cemetery, full of skulls and bones and bush, might have a fresh rotting body in it. Those selling boat-trip tickets might accost you in Kedisan, screaming “A new body at Trunyan!” Bizarre. Curiously, there is no stench of decomposing flesh-because, it is said the bodies are placed near a taru menyan tree, which smells of incense. But with the scavengers, the maggots, the scattered bones, the cans, plastic, bottles, and other garbage, you may wonder why on earth should you pay to see such a morbid sight.