Bena Traditional Village is a secluded area that is found in Flores Island, Indonesia. It is the most visited and most famous village in the Ngada district. Bena village is surrounded by volcanic mountains and it is considered to be the heart and signpost of the Nganda culture. This is all evident in the different stone formations that are preserved and maintained by the people as a way of maintaining and promoting their culture. In fact, Bena village is a different type of place that is capable of helping you improve your historical knowledge and most importantly learn about the culture of the people.
Inhabitants of Bena Traditional Village
The people living in Bena Traditional Village are farmers and they are often referred to as the most hospitable. More often than not, they receive visitors that visit their place and this has made them to earn this title. They are also characterized by their focus in ensuring that their culture is fully maintained by preserving it in their way of life.
Cultural life of the people of Bena Traditional Village
The inhabitants of the Bena village live according to the traditional ways of their culture. They have learnt not to be assimilated and colonized by foreign cultures. This is what makes them more outstanding in the world. All this is evident from the way they carry out their activities.
They have built a sacred sanctuary at the center of the village. Here, there are pairs of shrines that represent the ancestors of each clan of the village. There is Ngandhu, which represents the male ancestor and it is characterized by its umbrella-like pole, curving decorations on its trunk and warrior-like top. All these make it a representation of masculinity and fierceness.
On the other hand, there is the Bhagha, a shrine that represents the female ancestors of the clan. It has been built as a small hut with a thatched roof that makes it to look like a traditional house. It is a representation of the sacrosanct nature of the house and the female body.
Believes and Practices
The people of Bena Traditional Village have beliefs in the supernatural powers and ancestral spirits. In fact they are very religious. This is evident from the Megaliths that have been constructed at the center of the village. The megaliths act as a means of connecting the people into the spirit world. It is a place that enables them to speak to the ancestors and event consult them in times of crisis. Animal sacrifices to the ancestral spirits are also offered here during special events.
Additionally, there are a lenggi (large pile of flat stones). This acts as a court whereby the different clans from the village solve their disputes.
The Bena village people have an outstanding way of carrying out their activities. This includes the way in which they build their houses. It is something that you will always wish to have a look at. The houses are smartly arranged on their terraced land. They are square in shape and have spaces at the center. The spaces are often used during community gatherings and other events.
In addition, the houses are decorated with skulls and jaws of different animals that they offer as sacrifices. For instance, skulls of water buffaloes and jaws of pigs are used.
In a bid to earn income, the people of Bena Traditional Village engage in different economic activities like farming. This is the reason as to why you can never find many of them at home if you visit there during the day. However, the old and children are always available for interaction during your visit.
It is also worth noting that they engage in some art and craft activities. For instance, they craft the ikat (tie-dyed woven cloth) and the sarong (large woven cloth, often looks like a tube) that can be worn by both males and females. These cloths are decorated in different designs like animal patterns of chicken goats, horses, elephants and even the symbols of the sacred shrines, Ngandhu and Bagha. They sell these cloths to the visitors hence this also acts as a source of income to the community.
Physical Features of Bena Traditional Village
At the furthest end of the Bena village there is Virgin Mary shrine that gives you the opportunity to view Bena village as a whole. It exposes the larger view of the beautiful environment that surrounds Bena. One is able to identify the mount Ineria and the Save sea. There are also the Malnage Hot springs that you can visit. All these as a whole can give you the opportunity to have a nice chance of hiking through. This also makes Bena Traditional Village the most beautiful place to take pictures. It is actually a great spot because of the natural features found there.
Facilities and how to access Bena Traditional Village
Bena Traditional Village is situated near Bajawa city hence you can get accommodation in the city. There are many kinds of accommodation, hotels restaurants and shops.
Bena village is also easily accessible from Bajawa city through different means. You can use public or private transport. You can also travel by car or motorbike to the place. For security purposes too, there is registration that is done at the gates of the village for visitors. The tickets are issued to ensure that there are no intruders, idlers or people with criminal plans.
In Bena village, one gets the chance of engaging in new experiences like walking on stone steps and learning new things.
Bena Traditional Village is a beautiful and lovely village that gives you that fine opportunity of having fun together with enriching your historical knowledge. It is a typical representation of a culture that has been preserved and maintained for long. Visiting it gives you the chance of learning to appreciate your own culture just as the inhabitants and also appreciating diverse cultures.
Above all, visiting Bena Traditional village is the only chance you will get to experience an exquisite and splendor cultural heritage. This village surely gives one an unparalleled experience.