Tipped to be one of Bali’s most precious natural treasures, the sacred Monkey Forest is a one of a kind nature reserve in the holiday Mecca. Officially dubbed the ‘Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana’, this sanctuary is operated by appointed village members in Padangtegal who form the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation. Drawing well-over 15,000 visitors monthly this sprawling natural sanctuary devoted to the Crab Eating Macaque Monkey species is also a sacred site in Balinese Hinduism as the creatures and the land on which the nature reserve is located in is of religious significance dating back centuries.
Spread out across an expansive area of 27 acres, this breathtaking attraction in Ubud is home to nearly 340 monkeys that occupy the area of the forest in four groups. The entire populace includes 77 females who are adults, 122 adolescents, nearly 54 baby monkeys with the remaining being adult males and male sub adults.
In addition to the Monkey Forests’ fauna population the venue also boasts a large collection of tree varieties including 115 individual plant species. Most of these towering trees are deemed sacred or holy in Balinese culture and are often used in performing spiritual rites and ceremonies. The timbers from the trees are also employed exclusively for the construction of temples and shrines. The leaves of the Berigin tree for example are used during cremations of deceased villagers while small pieces of the Pule Bandak tree is used to make masks as the spirits of the jungle are believed to be contained within the trees.
Littered with historical monuments, the Sacred Monkey Forest is home to the temple named “Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal”, the “Holy Spring” bathing temple as well as another religious edifice used for cremations. In ancient times sacred forests such as these were encircled by temples in every direction reconfirming the coexistence of the spiritual realm with that of the living as well as the close relationship between nature and humans. Used for daily religious activities by villagers, the temples form an important part of Balinese culture and heritage.
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