The Mystery and History of Nusa Penida
Have you heard about the incredible scuba diving around Nusa Penida? Nusa Penida is an Island off the east coast of tropical Bali where you can dive with resident manta rays, the reefs are teeming with life and bursting with colour and we have seasonal sightings of the magnificent mola (Oceanic Sunfish).
What you may not know about Nusa Penida is that it not only offers phenomenal diving but it is also an incredibly important island in Balinese culture and it’s history is rooted in mystical tales of good and evil. Nusa Penida is so important in the beliefs of the Balinese that they make a pilgrimage to the island’s main temple of Pura Ped (Pura translates to “temple” in the Balinese language).
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. Why? Because Klungkung regency used to deport to Nusa Penida its criminals, political opponents and black magic adepts. This maybe 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, MacDonald’s or highways but what you will find is 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 origin of the pilgrimage to Nusa Penida
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.
Exploring Nusa Penida
Pura Ped is not the only temple on Nusa Penida – there are numerous temples around the island including one which is in an underground cave in the cliff side. Taking a tour around the island you’ll also find small villages, stunning views along the cliff tops of the south coast and incredible tropical flora. For those who want to explore an island with a sense of remoteness and adventure combined, Nusa Penida is a must.
Scuba Diving with Blue Corner Dive on Nusa Penida
Blue Corner Dive is the only 5 Star IDC Centre on Nusa Penida and our Course Director, Rosie Dixon, is the first Course Director on the island. We offer the full range of PADI Courses from beginner levels through to Professional Instructor programs as well as fun diving for certified divers. Our friendly, international team have years of experience diving around Nusa Penida and a combined total of 10’s of thousands of dives. If you want to enjoy diving Nusa Penida with a fun, passionate, knowledgeable, safety conscious and environmentally aware dive team, come and join us!
For more information or to make a reservation, contact us today and we’ll get right back to you.
We look forward to exploring and scuba diving Nusa Penida with you soon!