Bali Tenganan Village is located in the area of Kabupaten Karangasem, east Bali. If one driving to Candidasa, just 1 km before Candidasa one will see a small asphalted road to the left, this is the road to the village. A village around 70 kms from Denpasar city, encircled by mountain peaks and hills, only to the southern direction the place is open. Their resident is considered the earlier population of Bali who was supposed the first imigration to the island.
The village is well known as tourist visit due to its unique settlement pattern, tradition and handicraft. Their ritual also still showing the ancient ethnic tradition such as the war dance called perang pandan. So far this kind of battle demonstration has attracted so many tourists, yet the problem is the schedule of this ritual is not regular so it can not be planned as the calendar of event. Only around 3 month before the event one can find out the exact date of the ritual.
Relating to the origin of the village and its people there are myth still alive among the residents. Any way such myth has the same nature with almost all ethnic or tribe’s claim to their ancestor’s divine origin. Scientific research at the present stage could give us only at a level of theoretical understanding about the origin of people, and their existence.
Study from linguistic and archaeology suggest that Balinese history has experienced many ethnic events, such as consecutive influx of immigrations from South Asian Peninsula. It is assumed that the following eras had happened. During early metal age or post Megalithic, Bali has been inhabited by an ethnic of Negritos family. The findings of burials remains support this theory. During agricultural revolution or developed metal age, groups of migrators from South Peninsula started to row their simple boats toward the southern archipelagos. This migration influx continues until the Christian era, and each group arrived at a different coastal areas of Indonesia and settle there including Bali.
Toward the beginning of Christian era migrators in different missions such as trades and ideological missions started to arrive in some coastal settlements of Indonesia. This is especially true for the Hindu, Moslem, and the last is Christian. From 8 to 14 Century ( exactly until 1343 AD ), Bali enjoyed a stabile political history. During this period Indian influence as shown by the king’s names, and dialect vocabularies have been noticeable.
Between 14 and 16 Century A.D. it can be said that it was the strongest implantation of influences by the last Biggest Hindu Java Majapahit kingdom in Bali. One theory says that those Balinese who did not agree to the new influx of influences than run to the mountain and settle there. Those people are now known as “ Bali Aga “. There are 5 villages in Bali which are classified as this type such as Tenganan, Trunyan, Sembiran, Sidatapa, and Pedawa villages. But based on Bali King’s inscription dated back to 882 A.D. it seems that this theory is not supported. Since Trunyan village has already been an autonomy village by that time and Semiran Village has been mentioned by the king in the year of 1100 A.D, so nothing caused residents of Trunyan or Sembiran to run from outside influences, if we relate the influences after 9 centuries onward.
Other theory said that Bali Aga villages emerged because of frequent attack from new comers to seize a strategic area or settlement area. This theory is supported by one of the inscription dated back to 9 century now preserved at the village of Sembiran. This village was, before located on the beach and consisted of 50 families and was attacked by seafarers which caused death of 20 families, and the rest run to the mountain. But still it is a problem as an anthropological research found that this people physically and root-tradition speaking is the same as Torajan ( South Sulawesi ), Minangkabau ( West Sumatera ), Sumbanese, and deep inland Dayak in Borneo those have the same tendency to live deep in the mountain areas and they consider their ancestors’ spirits abide the mountain. Whatever the fact is about the origin of this people, we realize that they have a slight different with their neighbors, that they were ever an autonomy organization with their typical social organization and terminologies.