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On the eastern shore of Lake Batur, on the island of Bali, Indonesia, lies the village of Trunyan—home to the culturally isolated Bali Aga people. Living in relative seclusion amidst the mountains, the Bali Aga people have managed to preserve several elements of their Austronesian heritage, which is evident in their architectural style and cultural practices. Among these, their funeral rituals stand out as particularly noteworthy.

In Trunyan, dead bodies are not buried nor cremated. Instead, they are left out in the woods to decay. Unlike the Zoroastrians, who also expose their dead to the elements to be consumed by scavenger birds such as vultures, kites and crows, the Bali Aga people take care to protect their dead from such desecration by covering them with cages made of bamboo. Once the flesh had decomposed, the skull and other bones are retrieved and placed on a rock platform nearby to make room for new bodies.

Photo credit: Yusuf IJsseldijk/Wikimedia Commons


© Amusing Planet, 2023


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