Trunyan Village Cemetery in Bali was a challenging experience for me. We rarely see dead bodies in the western world, and we have a very finite view on death. Trunyan village is located deep in the centre of Bali, nestled beside a crater lake and mount Batur, and is quite hard to get to.
Here, they still follow a tradition that was set in place over a thousand years ago. They place their dead under a Terumanyan Tree, supposedly the last of it’s kind, to mask it’s beautiful scent.
The legend says that the smell of the tree was so sweet, that people from all over the island would come to try and find its source. The village of Trunyan was overrun with travellers. A man arrived and met a woman, he wanted to marry her. She insisted that before they were to be wed, the man has to find a way to stop the smell of the tree. The man found a very unique way to do so, and so began the tradition of placing dead bodies under the tree.
Now, we can visit the cemetery and see death face to face. There are 11 exposed graves beside the famous tree. The people living here are the descendants of the original Balinse people called Aga, and both the village and the tree derive their name from their language. Taru meaning ‘tree’ and Menyan meaning ‘nice smell’.
There are a lot of poor reviews of this place. The locals are having a hard time appropriately managing the travellers that arrive. It’s also quite small, and depending if anyone has died recently, there may or may not be a decomposing body. I have Yansu’s contact below. I highly recommend you contact him.