The History of Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida Travel Tips

Nusa Penida is part of the Klungkung Regency of Bali, which is one of the nine Regencies of Bali. A Dutch map created in 1900 calls Nusa Penida the Bandit Island. Because Klungkung regency used to deport to Nusa Penida its criminals, political opponents, and black magic adepts. This may be the origin of the legends that surround the history of Nusa Penida. In any case, this bad reputation meant that Nusa Penida has not been as developed as Bali. You won’t find any shopping malls, fast food restaurants or highways but what you will find is the pristine natural beauty, stunning beaches, and coves, a plethora of terrestrial wildlife species including wild monkeys and the endemic Bali Starling, incredible sunsets and friendly, welcoming local people.

The Legend of Nusa Penida

According to legends, the last king of Bali, Dalem Bungkut, had become a dreaded leader of the “other world”. He became known as Ratu Gede Mas Mecaling, the Great Lord with golden fangs. According to another legend, Mecaling lived in Bali, in the small village of Batuan, before being exiled to Nusa Penida because of his black magic. In any case, he is still feared by some Balinese who do not dare to pronounce his name aloud.

Mecaling was feared as a powerful and evil wizard. He regularly sent diseases, epidemics, and diseases to the Balinese people as revenge. One day when the Balinese were celebrating Nyepi, full of joy and laughter, Mecaling decided to deceive them. He returned to mainland Bali taking the form of Barong, the leader of the good armies and his army of demons destroyed everything in Bali. Since then, the Balinese New Year, Nyepi, is a day of silence, no one makes noise or goes outside, to fool the demons if they come back.

The next day, the terrified Balinese went to a priest. He summoned Barong to send Mecaling back to Nusa Penida. The high priests of Gelgel’s kingdom came later on to Nusa Penida to clean the island of dark spirits and banish Mecaling. However, Mecaling did not totally disappear and the Pura Ped Temple retains his spirit. This temple is therefore known as a source of power for those who practice black magic and also a place of pilgrimage for those seeking protection from evil and sickness. There is a solemn rite that every Balinese Hindu must perform at least once in this lifetime. During a pilgrimage to the temple of Pura Ped in Nusa Penida, he must find the balance between the negative and the positive and that is the only way to reach serenity.

Click here to read more about Pura Ped Nusa Penida.

So, that`s all about The History of Nusa Penida. I hope you enjoy the story!


Mr Putu | 11 April 2020

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