Naga Loka – The Dragon’s Lair

Pak Nyoman Bagiarta, Founder of Yayasan Naga Loka
Pak Nyoman Bagiarta

This is the fascinating story of how one man’s vision and commitment brought sustainable prosperity to a remote mountain village when its economy was in decline. Over the past 20 years Pak Nyoman Bagiarta has created a thriving centre for best practices in eco tourism, environmental management and water resource conservation in Munduk Village, North Bali.

Puri Lumbung, Bali’s 1st eco lodge, opened in 1992 and has become a popular tourist destination. The lodge continues to expand, while training many young Balinese for roles in the hospitality industry.

Yayasan Naga Loka, Puri Lumbung’s associated non-profit, brings a spiritual dimension to the entire Munduk project, reinforcing traditions and keeping the connection alive between villagers and their very special environment.

The Philosophy Behind Naga Loka Foundation

Munduk Village, home of Naga Loka FoundationThe village of Munduk is part of the ancient Tamblingan Kingdom. The holy sites of the Naga Loka crater and Tamblingan Lake play a central role in the rituals of this Shiwa Bulakan community. Ceremonies begin at the rivers of Munduk and neighbouring Gesing, move to Tamblingan Lake and then to the Labuhan Aji sea temple near Lovina. This trail of devotion is thought to follow the sinuous path of water like the Naga (dragon), from head to tail.

Yayasan Naga Loka was established to protect and sustain the environmental, cultural and spiritual aspects of the 19 Tamblingan temples. A key goal is to maintain the unique spiritual traditions of the area which extends from the mountaintop to the sea. The sacred Lake Tamblingan supplies much of the water used in Munduk, neighbouring villages and south Bali. Its forests protect the region from erosion and landslides. All the villages along this route are interdependent with each other and with their ancient relationship with water. Read Pak Nyoman Bagiarta’s plan to Preserve the Threatened Ecology and Culture of Tamblingan. Read more about Munduk in a Short History of Munduk Village by Pak Bagiarta.

 

Puri Lumbung, Bali’s first eco-tourism resort

Pak Nyoman Bagiarta was born in Munduk, a small village spilling down the flanks of Mt Lesong. Between 1985 and 1992 he was the Director of the Hotel and Tourism Training Center which had been set up to train staff for the large hotels in the new tourism enclave of Nusa Dua. He saw that all the economic activities were concentrated in south Bali, and the people in other areas had less access to the new prosperity. Pak Nyoman felt that there was a market for a more authentic tourism experience which respected the environment and culture, and distributed employment opportunities more fairly.

He created a plan to build a small eco lodge in Munduk as a sustainable integrated program in training, employment and environmental management. This was a very unusual concept then and met with much resistance from within the industry. Bali’s first eco lodge, Puri Lumbung, started in 1992 with five simple units overlooking rice fields and spectacular panoramas of the coast.  Puri Lumbung conserved water and electricity, built with local materials, reduced solid waste, composted kitchen waste, used local foods and hired and trained local staff long before these practices became mainstream.

Puri Lumbung has provided employment and training to two generations of villagers, many of whom are now working in large resorts around Bali and overseas. Others have started their own home stays and restaurants in the village, which has become a destination of choice for ethical travellers. Pak Nyoman has realized his ambition to revitalise his birth village and bring prosperity to its people. Two of his children work at Puri Lumbung now. He often sits in the restaurant over a cup of local coffee looking out at the busy little town below. Puri Lumbung has indeed become a nucleus of Munduk’s new economy, and Pak Nyoman is at its heart. Visit Puri Lumbung.