Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex, situation approx. 3km from the town’s centre. Its official name is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary and its name as written on its welcome sign is the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The Ubud Monkey Forest is a popular tourist attraction and is often visited by over 10,000 tourists a month.
The Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it. The village's residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village.
The focus of The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is conserving the area based on the concept of Tri Hita Karana. Tri Hita Karana is one of the philosophies in Hinduism and is derived from the word of “Tri” meaning three, “Hita” which means happiness, and “Karana” which means the cause or manner. Thus, Tri Hita Karana means “Three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being”.
The substance of doctrine of Tri Hita Karana is how to make people maintain a harmonious relationship in this life. Those three relationships comprise of harmonious relationships between humans and humans, humans and their environment, and humans with The Supreme God.
The implementation of Tri Hita Karana, in addition to the ritual performed in the temples, can be seen as a special activity related to the animal, called Tumpek Kandang, and Tumpek Uduh, where the animal and plant is the subject of the ritual. The conservation of rare plants and plants for ritual purposes, and as a natural laboratory for educational institutions make it one of Bali’s most visited places.
The type of monkeys that live in the area are known as the Balinese long-tailed monkey or Macaque. There are about 600 monkeys living in this area. They are divided into 5 groups consisting of infants (0-1 year), juvenile 1 (1-2 years), Juvenile 2 (2-4 years), sub adult male (4-6 years), adult females (> 4 years), and adult males (> 6 years).
Because of the considerable population, the conflicts between groups of monkeys cannot be avoided. Sometimes in certain circumstances such as to bath in the river in the dry season, certain groups must cross the other groups territory.
It is very important to treat the monkeys with respect as the forest is their home and you are guests visiting. Always try to stick to the paved paths wherever possible. You can often see the monkeys cracking open coconuts. For your safety and convenience please read and follow the “Monkey Forest Tips” that had been placed around the area. If you bring a bag (plastic or paper) or plastic bottle, we recommend that you leave it at the ticket counter.
In general, the monkeys will not come to you if you do not bring bananas or any other food. If you want to interact or feed the monkey, please do it carefully. If you are giving bananas or food to the monkey and they approach to take it, do not ever try to pull it back. To maintain the monkey’s health, please do not feed the monkeys peanuts, biscuits, bread or any other human snacks.
If you have any questions or should need assistance, please asked the Wenara Wana personnel, identified by their green uniforms, or a member of the research project.
Based on the analysis of the Pura Purana (a holy book made from palm tree leaves as a historical document of the temple), temples in The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Monkey Forest Ubud) area were built around the middle of the 14th century, when the kingdoms in Bali were ruled by Dynasty of Pejeng or can also be around the the beginning of Gelgel Dynasty.
There are three temples in the area of Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary:
• Pura Dalem Agung (The Main Temple), located in the southwest area. In this temple, people worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as Shiva, ”The Recycler” or “The Transformer”.
• In the northwest area, you will find Pura Beji (Beji Temple). In this temple people worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as the goddess Gangga. This temple is a place of purification before conducting the ceremony (piodalan). Pura Beji is often used for ”melukat” as spiritual and physical cleansing.
• The third temple is Pura Prajapati (Prajapati Temple). This temple is located in the northeast area. This temple is adjacent to the cemetery. In this temple Hindus worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as Prajapati. The cemetery is used temporarily, while waiting for the day of the mass cremation which is held every 5 years.
Research and Conservation
The Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary serves not only as an important component in the spiritual and daily life of the villagers, but is the site of several research and conservation programs. The maintenance and management of this special place attracts researchers from all over the world, especially the interaction between human beings and the monkeys.