Exploring deep to the west side of Bali, around 3 hours’ drive from Denpasar, you will discover a mystical giant tree in the village of Manggisari. This giant tree is a natural landmark sanctified by locals who believe it is centuries old.
There are stories of people who faced their death by attempting to cut down the tree to remove it. Unlike other sacred banyan trees, this banyan tree is unique because it has a large hollow at the bottom. This cavity formed naturally and the hole is as wide as the road passing underneath. Temple shrines decorated with yellow and white cloths are located on both ends of the opening at the bottom of the banyan tree. The name ‘Bunut Bolong’ was created from the characteristic character of this tree. ‘Bunut’ stands for the large banyan tree and ‘Bolong’ means hollow. This banyan tree is a well-known tourist destination in West Bali.
The local story goes that villagers from Manggisari who lived north of the sacred banyan tree experienced strange natural disasters and were attacked by diseases like the Plague. After receiving instructions from Pura Bhujangga Sakti, who indicated that people had to move to houses south of the tree where the Pura Bhujangga Sakti temple is located, the village’s condition returned to normal.
There are several legends about the sacred banyan tree. One legend says that the banyan tree makes wishes if you pray to it from the heart. The other legend says the reason why it would be impossible to cut down a sacred banyan tree, is that it is believed that there would be two tiger spirits in each banyan tree. These tiger spirits protect their banyan tree.
About the Bunut Bolong specifically, there is a legend that the population that hid in the underlying hollow of the banyan tree for Dutch troops attacking them, could not be found due to the magical effect of the banyan tree that made the population invisible. There are shrines on the sides of the hollow at the bottom of the tree, where the local Hindu people pray as they cross the tree because they believe that this will bring them security and prosperity from the gods. Also, it is important as a bride and groom not to pass the route under this banyan tree because according to legend, the couples who do so will separate.
Whatever the legend may be, it is a unique experience to visit this special and enormous banyan tree. Besides, Bunut Bolong is located in the mountains, so the route to it is already impressive.