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Friday, November 24, 2017

Kampung Naga (Naga Village)

Publish 01-02-2010 09:51:34 by Admin
Rating : 1 ( 1 )

A. Brief  Information

Have you ever imagined that in the middle of modernity and global influence which corrupt local culture little by little, there is a community which maintains its traditional customs and practically resistant to any modern touch? If your answer is yes, you are absolutely not day dreaming. Indeed, there is such community which insists to maintain the traditional way of life and live in simplicity without any single sign of modernity in their daily life. The community is better known as Kampung Naga villagers.

Kampung Naga is a traditional village located near the Garut-Tasikmalaya highway. The villagers are traditional because they are loyal in maintaining their local custom, which they inherit from their ancestors. You will see that they are completely different from any community living outside their village. One of the foundation of living in Kampung Naga is simplicity. For the villagers, maintaining local custom is homage for the ancestors (karuhan). Everything from outside what the karuhan have taught them is considered as taboo, which would cause misfortune and great disaster if violated.

Total population of Kampung Naga is not more than 311. All villagers live in their peaceful and fertile land near Ciwulan river. As a village, Kampung Naga is divided into several areas such as wood, river, race fields, and houses, each of which has borders which should not be violated because the villagers believe that each border is kept by a supernatural creature. If any single person dares to violate a border, the supernatural keeper will be offended and get angry, and it will cause the disaster comes. Therefore, the villagers should not build houses in race fields area or in other area except the houses area, because if they do, it means that they are violating the tenet of karuhan.

There are 111 buildings in Kampung Naga, consist of 108 houses, 1 public hall (bale patemon), 1 mosque, and 1 rice barn. The mosque, the public hall, and the rice barn are built in a row, facing east-west. In front of those buildings is a wide yard which the vilagers usually use for traditional ceremony. Houses are also built in a row, facing north-south.


The architecture of Kampung Naga
Source: http://hancurmina.blogspot.com

The houses in Kampung Naga are built on stilts. The main materials are wood and plaited bamboo laths.  The roofs are made of thatch palm leaves, palm fibers, or tall grass. The architecture and interior are designed in such a way so that air and natural light are well circulated. In addition, the structure of buildings in Kampung Naga is earthquake proof. It was proven on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 when a 7,3 RS earthquake shook Tasikmalaya. There was no single building in Kampung Naga broke down or had a serious damage. It becomes the basic for Green Building Council of Indonesia (GBCI) to make Kampung Naga as a sequential for green and energy saving architectural design certification.

B. Distinctive Features

The main interest of Kampung Naga is the calm and peaceful ambience, in which local traditional customs are well maintained—in contrast to recent modern villages. To reach Kampung Naga, you should walk down through hundreds steep stairs (sengked). Therefore, you need to be careful especially on rainy season. However, your struggle will be paid off when you reach the village and see these panoramas lie right in front of your eyes: refreshing green rice fields and the winding Ciwulan river all composed in a beautiful harmony with birds‘ chirps, the sound of flowing water and the fair zephyr which will make you instantly forget the difficult way that you‘ve been through to set your feet on the village.


The stairs down to Kampung Naga and its beautiful panorama
Source: http://ekorisanto.blogspot.com

The rules in Kampung Naga do not have any exception, including for the visitors from outside the village. If you come to this village, you also have to obey some rules such as not saying whatever comes to your head, not annoying animals, and not breaking tree branches or twigs. For the villagers themselves, they have even many more rules and taboos they call pamali, such as they are not allowed to paint their houses except with lime, not building their houses using bricks and cement, carrying out art performances only for local arts—meaning that no arts from outside the village are allowed, and many other rules. Those rules maybe strange for us, but indeed, the villagers are succeed in maintaining their traditional tenets by obeying the pamali.

Another special characteristic of Kampung Naga, like the Badui, the villagers do not allow any single modern thing entering their village. They do not even use electricity. Therefore, it is very dark when the night comes. The villagers use teplok or lantern to light up their houses while for the paths in the village, they use torches. It makes the experience of spending a night in Kampung Naga is worth trying and will be an unforgettable moment in your life.


The beautiful view of Kampung Naga
Source: http://timuran151.multiply.com

Near Kampung Naga, there are two waterfalls which are too beautiful to miss. In the waterfall you can enjoy the fresh water and the natural view which will make time as if stops for you. However, you must be aware to leave the waterfalls when the sun sets, because the villagers of Kampung Naga believe that whoever stays in the waterfall until evening, he or she will be possessed by a supernatural creature who keeps the waterfalls.

The villagers in Kampung Naga also held some traditional ceremonies which usually hold on the months of Maulud and Syawal (Islamic calendar). If you want to attend the ceremonies, you must obey the rules along the ceremony.


Traditional art performance in Kampung Naga
Source: http://discover-indonesia.com

C. Location     

Kampung Naga is located in Neglasari village, Salawu sub regency, Tasikmalaya regency, West Java province, Indonesia.

D. Access

Located near the Garut-Tasikmalaya highway, Kampung Naga easy to reach by personal or public transportation. The village is on the valley of Ciwulan river, about 500 meters down from the highway. It is 30 km from Tasikmalaya, 26 km from Garut, and 90 km from Bandung.

E. Ticketing

Visiting Kampung Naga is free. However, it is recommended not to come on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, because on those days, the villagers of Kampung Naga are doing a ritual called menyepi or avoiding any conversation about their village and customs.

F. Accommodation and other facilities

Although very popular in West Java, there is no electricity in Kampung Naga. The tourists who want to spend  a night or more in this village should ask for permission from kuncen (the elders of the village) several days before. Without electricity, the facilities are minimal. On the other hand, you can feel to be really close to the nature and feel the uniqueness of living among well maintained traditional customs.

Most of the villagers in Kampung Naga speak Sundanese. Therefore, it is recommended for you who don‘t speak Sundanese to hire a guide. Kampung Naga has many villagers who can be your guide with flexible tariffs.

Right on the gateway into Kampung Naga, there is a wide parking lot for your personal vehicles. Around the parking lot, there are many kiosks selling souvenirs made by the villagers of Kampung Naga and some food stalls.

Elisabeth Murni (trans/14/01-10)

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