On the north west of Bali, separated from the island, Menjangan Island nestles humbly surrounded by crystal clear waters. The island is teeming with vegetation providing home to various fauna, including the native Menjangan deer. The little island is part of West Bali National Park, and is not only home to ecotourism sites, but also a sacred zone where old, ancient temples can be found. The sanctity of the island has attracted visitors to experience a natural atmosphere and breathe-in the fresh, seaside air.
To visit the island,you must be willing to take a 4 hour journey from the south to the tip of north west. From there, there are two piers, Labuan Lalang and Banyu Wedang, where visitors can rent an outrigger and sail to Menjangan Island. However, the long journey is worth it. White sand flows like soft powder on the shoreline of the little island. Underwater, a plethora of fish live in the colourful collection of coral reefs. As if to reinforce the sanctity of the island, no one actually lives there. It sits there silently, gracefully, with its back to Mount Rawung, a towering mountain in East Java.
There are four major temples in this remote island, which are Klenting Sari Temple, Kebo Iwa Temple, Gajah Mada Temple and Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple. The templeshave attracted devotees not only from Bali, but also from Java. A Chinese styled temple to worship the Goddess Kwan Im -Goddess of Prosperity – stands next to the temple of Gajah Mada-the warlord of the Majapahit Kingdom. History tells the story of the great Gajah Mada coming to Bali to conquer Kebo Iwa a warrior of the Bedahulu Kingdom, who harnessed magical powers.
Next to the Gajah Mada temple, is a stunningly huge Ganesha Statue, a deity who has head of an elephant and has four hands, believed as the Lord of Success and the destroyer of evils. Ganesha is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. According to the priest who tends to the Gajah Mada and Kwan Im temples, the statue was built after he received a holy voice during meditation. The sacred voice also told him that the Lord Ganesha would come to save the earth from downfall.
Menjangan Island is also a wonderful dive destination,offering numerous types of dives from deep diving alongside the island’s wall and drift dives, pelagic marine life can also be spotted.
NOTE: There is word that a company plans to build a resort upon this sacred and natural island. This has angered not only local Balinese, but also many environmentalists, who believe the island should be preserved. #savemenjangan
Text by Kartika D. Suardana | Photos by Angga Amerta