Baliem Valley and Its Culture Festival

A Land of Preserved Nature and Culture

Located in the most eastern side of Indonesia, today’s modernization is hardly able to touch and affect Papua island. There are still hundreds of tribes that live quite traditionally in deep jungles eventhough https://essaysbuy.net/custom-writing-service several big cities already have well-maintained infrastructures. Apart from the disadvantages, tribes living in remote areas successfully preserve their unique cultures and inherited customs. One of well known areas where tribes in Papua traditionally live is Baliem valley.

 

Baliem valley is approximately located in iced-top mountain of Papua, Jayawijaya. The 1,600 m mount is home to Dani, Yali and lani Tribe. The tribes live in wood house with thatched-roof called Honai. The size of each house is not big enough, so do not think of toilet, cupboard or dining room in it. They also only use sheer fabric as their mattress to sleep. Surprisingly, most of both male and female inhabitants only cover their genital parts made of pumpkin (for men) namely Koteka and grass or fiber called Wah (for women) eventhough the temperature is moderately cold (10-15 degree Celcius). They get used to walk anywhere with barefoot too.

 

A man of Dani tribe stands in front of Honai by Tehhanlin

A man of Dani tribe stands in front of Honai by Tehhanlin

 

Though the area is far away from modern civilization, the grand Baliem valley is suddenly so popular among and crowded with local and foreign tourists, especially in the middle of every year. That’s because there will be the most outstanding annual performance held in Baliem valley, it is The Grand Baliem Valley Festival. There are several tribal events during the festival, but the only performance that hundreds of tourists can’t wait to see is, of course, War of Tribes.

 

The performance is about an artificial war between three tribes in Baliem Valley: Dani, Yali and Lani. If your mind suddenly produces underestimate feelings after finding out that this war is not real, you should not. Although the war is purposely set and safe for the audiences, the tribes perform it as well as their ancient really did long time ago. So brace yourself, because you will find lots of tribe members scream, fight, get hurt and even bleed. Different from the early beginning, the aims of nowadays war are to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day and keep the agility and promptness for the sake of tribes’ safety.

 

The War is about to begin by Indoindians

The War is about to begin by Indoindians

 

The war is held in a wide field because each tribe will contain dozen of participants. When you watch the war, you may think that it is like a wildlife-and-tribal theme fashion show since each tribe wear their best clothes and accessories. They also paint their face and whole body colorfully. They believe, that by doing so, the other tribes will admit or be afraid of their greatness. Another thing that makes the war becomes incredibly interesting is the weapons. The tribes might not be unable to use airgun or even nuclear weapon, but surely you will be shocked when they show you how to use arrows, choppers and javelin like a champ terrifically. Enthusiastic screams, energetic dances, streaking arrows and even bleeding participants are so real that they might make you emotionally get involved during the performance. Moreover, the plot of the war will not be the same each year because the triggering problem is changeable, such as; killing, kidnapping or farmland invasion. So that’s the reason why lots of tourists never get enough watching the war just for once.

 

The war participants wear colorful attributes while dancing by Konno67

The war participants wear colorful attributes while dancing by Konno67

 

There must be a winner of the war, but the three tribes do not mind about that. They will cooperatively prepare meals for all tribes by the time the war ends. Women of Dani, Yali and Lani tribe never have the chance to learn how to use modern stove, so they alternatively apply Bakar Batu which means Burn (with) Stone. There are various kind of meals that the women cook, but the most delicious ones are roasted cassava and grilled pork. Kindheartedly, the tribes will probably ask the audiences to join the feast and eat the meals together.

 

Women cook lots of sweet cassavas during Bakar batu by TanRahardian

Women cook lots of sweet cassavas during Bakar batu by TanRahardian

 

The Grand Baliem Valley Festival won’t stop when people enjoy the feast, because there are still lots of exciting things to do. If you are really craving for something unique, don’t be too quick to book your return ticket because rattan throwing, archery competition and pig race are ready to thrill you. There are also traditional dance performance and sikoko (coins throwing) in case you want to gracefully have cultural sightseeing. The last but not least, make sure to complete your tribal collection by visiting local bazaar where you can buy red fruit, noken (traditional bag made of bark fiber), and beautiful handmade accessories.

 

Interested in witnessing how grandeur The grand Baliem Valley Festival? Prepare yourself earlier then since the flight tickets to Papua as well as hotel rooms and rented car near Baliem valley will be fully booked even a month before the festival begins. The combination of unique events in the festival and the beauty of unexploited nature in Baliem is indeed astounding that people, especially photographers, around the globe always put this festival in their most-wanted list.

 

How to get there? Book a flight from Jakarta to Jayapura (IDR 2,000,000-2,500,000) then transfer to Wamena (IDR 600,000-950,000). Next, take a taxi (IDR 50,000-150,000), rent car (IDR 800,000-1,000,000) or take pedicap/taxibike (IDR 10,000 for the nearest destination) to carry you to the hotel or tourism spot. You may bargain the price, but you should really aware of how to do it based on their customary manners. The most important thing you should know is, all photography sessions during The Grand Baliem Valley Festival are not for free. You have to pay for the objects you capture. It is also strongly recommended that you ask permission to the chieftain before you do a photography session in order to avoid serious misunderstanding. Sounds so complicated? Well, it is guaranteed that you will not mind it at all right after the most magnificent festival around the world successfully hypnotize you.

 

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