Article published by : Kristoforus on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - Viewed 828 times


Category : Destinations

Indonesia Sightseeing - A Tour To Flores

Many travelers seem to think that Flores attractions consist of nothing but exotic traditional villages and genuine culture from the one region to another region surprisingly enough, this tiny territory has also some lovely nature sceneries and old villages, where life still flows at a gentle pace.

This article will take you to Indonesia trip to unique Flores attraction that is well worth visiting.

Flores is actually one long, narrow island in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Flores is part of the island chain between Lombok and Timor, directly south of Sulawesi. Beautiful but rough around the edges, Flores is the epitome of just how diverse language, religion, and culture can be in Indonesia.

Labuan Bajo Flores, Indonesia

Labuan Bajo turns out to be the only place in Flores that many travelers visit. Located on the western tip of the island, Labuan Bajo is a slightly more convenient port of entry than other towns in Flores.

Ruteng Flores, Indonesia

Ruteng is more or less just an excuse to get off the bus for a night. Aside from lush, green setting amid rice fields, Ruteng is short of real attractions. The traditional Manggarai village two miles outside of town and Gunung Ranaka - a small, active volcano - are worth a visit.

Bajawa Flores, Indonesia

About five hours east of Ruteng and ten long hours from Labuan Bajo, the town of Bajawa is a good representation of everything that is Flores. The lack of glamour is offset by beautiful surroundings; small, green volcanic peaks rise up around town. Thing to do in Bajawa Flores, Indonesia such as visit traditional villages; Bena village, Belaraghi Village, and Wogo village

Bena Village Flores, Indonesia

Bena, a community that is situated about 16km from Bajawa at the foot of Mount Inerie, is the most famous and also most visited village in the Ngada district. With its impressive stone formations and ancestral shrines, as well as traditional houses, Bena has turned into a signpost for Ngada culture.

The village consists of two parallel rows of traditional, high thatch-roofed houses. Highly visible in the center of the village are ngadhu and bhaga, pairs of shrines – one for each clan of the village – representing the clan’s ancestors. The ngadhu is an anthropomorphic umbrella-like pole embodying the male ancestor of a clan. The trunk is decorated with carvings and is topped with a warrior-like figure. The ngadhu symbolizes fierceness and virility. After a new ngadhu has been carved out of a special tree, the men of the village carry the pole in a ceremonial way into the village.

The bhaga, a female ancestral clan shrine, is a small hut with a thatched roof that resembles a miniature of a traditional house. It symbolizes the sanctuary of the house and the female body. The bhaga offers enough space for one to two persons to hold rituals for female ancestors.

Another distinct feature of Ngada culture, of which Bena offers an awesome sight, is the megalithic formations in the village center. Megaliths are a means to connect with the supernatural realm and to communicate with the ancestors, often by animal sacrifice. As with the ngadhu and bhaga shrines, there is also a stone altar to every village clan. Additionally, a massive pile of flat stones, called lenggi, represents a court where the different clans of the village settle their legal disputes. If you look closer at the houses in Bena, you often find them decorated with skulls and horns of water buffaloes and pig jaws which were sacrificed at different ceremonies.

Visitors can buy locally crafted ikat, or tie-dyed woven cloth, in Bena. The sarong, which is a large tube of woven cloth, is often worn wrapped around the waist, both by men and women.

At the end of the village, elevated on a small hill, a viewpoint with a Virgin Mary shrine gives you the opportunity to have a bird eye’s view over Bena and a wider view of the beautiful surrounding landscape, including Mount Inerie and the Savu Sea. The visit to Bena can also be combined with a hike that passes the villages of Tololela and Gurusina before ending at the Malanage Hot Springs.

Belaraghi Village Flores, Indonesia

If you want to experience Ngada culture beyond the more popular Bena and Wogo, and if you are ready to invest a little time and physical effort, you should dare to hike to the extraordinary village of Belaraghi and spend the night in this amazing place.

The sixteen beautiful traditional houses stand tidily in two parallel rows in a secluded forest clearing, exuding natural harmony. They are renovated in the traditional Ngada architectural style on a regular basis and are therefore in very good condition. Five of the sixteen houses are so-called sao pu’u, first or original houses, which are indicated by a miniature house on the roof; the other five distinct buildings are Sao Lobo, ‘last houses’, which feature a miniature human figure on the roof.

Five is also the number of clans living in Belaraghi at present. Besides the buildings mentioned, the Belaraghi clans are also affiliated with another house type: the sao kaka. These houses are considered ‘children’, the descendants of a clan’s sao pu’u and sao lobo. Some of the sao kaka is even located in other villages. The kaka inhabitants support their families in the sao pu’u and the sao lobo financially, materially, and with labor.

At the back of the village there is a ritual site with five bhaga-like houses called loka – one for each clan. The loka face the watu lanu, a construction consisting of an elevated stone court framed by ijuk-covered poles. This site is mainly used by the Belaraghi people for the ‘bui loka’, a ceremony to initiate Reba, the Ngada-wide New Year festivities.

To the Belaraghi people, visitors from abroad are guests, not tourists. Therefore, guests are traditionally welcomed with a ceremony called ti’i ka ebu nusi, which translates as ‘give food to the ancestors’. It is about introducing the guests to the host’s ancestors, to ask for their blessings so that no obstacles may come in the way of the traveler, and to ask the evil spirits in the mountains not to cause any harm to them. The ritual takes place in the ‘sao one’, the most sacred inner part of an Ngada house.

Wogo village Flores, Indonesia

Wogo village is another picturesque village which features all the richness of the traditional Ngada culture. The village of Wogo is actually a new comer in the Ngada landscape. Indeed, it has been inhabited only since 1932, when the inhabitants from the ‘Old Wogo’ decided to leave their original village with their ancestral megaliths behind.

As in Bena, Wogo’s vivid ceremonial and ritual life reflects the interplay of the animistic belief system with the Catholic religion. If you are lucky enough to take part in one of the lively house-building ceremonies, you will experience the Ngada house as a space divided by seniority and gender, which expresses itself clearly in the order of seating at ceremonial events.

A characteristic of Ngada culture, the village hosts impressive ancestral stone altars called ture lenggi. In the center of the village you can also see the well-known ancestral shrines Ngadhu and Bhaga, a pair that is owned by each clan. These shrines depict the symbolic status of the community. Thus, a massive and expensive ceremony has to be held for the construction of each one of these shrines.

Riung Marine Garden

Riung Marine Garden is an optional, three-hour side trip from Bajawa. The Seventeen Islands Marine Park, just off the coast, is an excellent place to take a break. Nearly-empty beaches and great snorkeling beat the winding roads any day.

Ende Flores, Indonesia

Five winding hou

Keywords: Flores, Indonesia, villages

By: Kristoforus

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