The Sacred Sanctuary Of The Monkey Forest

On the island of Bali, Indonesia, there is a place where nature coexists in harmony with the human being; all wrapped up in a golden spirit of marked spirituality. We are talking about the Sacred Sanctuary of the Monkey Forest.
The sacred sanctuary of the Monkey Forest

The sacred sanctuary of the Monkey Forest is located on the island of Bali, near the city of Ubud. This place has become a focus of attraction for tourists, making it an important source of income for the community. But not only that, as it also has a strong spiritual content for the locals.

The sanctuary stands out for its wonderful Hindu temples but, especially, for the peaceful coexistence that exists with the more than 600 monkeys that inhabit the enclosure. Let’s look at it in more detail below.

What is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary?

The enclosure is made up of three temples that were built in the 14th century. In the southwest area we find the main temple, Pura Dalem Agung . This is the temple where people worship the God personified in Shiva.

In the northwest, there is the Beji Temple, Pura Beji ; this is a temple of purification. Lastly, in the northeast, next to the cemetery, is the Prajapati Temple, Pura Prajapati .

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary aims to conserve the area based on a philosophical current of Hinduism, the Tri Hita Karana. The essence of this philosophy is to achieve a harmonious relationship with life: harmony between human beings, between human beings and their environment, and between human beings with the supreme God.

The Monkey Sanctuary in Bali.

This way of understanding the relationship of the human being with the world that surrounds him and with the cosmos is materialized in the temples through different rituals such as the Tumpek Kandang and the Tumpek Uduh. This way of understanding the place is what makes it possible, in the heart of the city, to have an environment in which to coexist harmoniously with nature.

It is for this reason that the place is ideal for undertaking plant research and conservation programs; in fact, there are up to 186 species of trees in the sanctuary. In addition, researchers from all over the world flock to the site to study the social interaction between monkeys and their behavior with the environment.

The Balinese monkey and its presence in the sanctuary

As we mentioned earlier, up to 600 monkeys of the species known as the Long-tailed Balinese Monkey ( Macaca fascicularis) inhabit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary These friendly inhabitants of the sanctuary are divided into five different groups.

Each of these groups is made up of between 100 and 120 individuals. But do not think that they live in perfect harmony, because as they are differentiated groups, there are conflicts between them.

Balinese monkey from the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali.

These beautiful animals are omnivores and mainly feed on sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, palm leaves, and other local fruits.

How to visit the sanctuary?

The shrine is located less than two kilometers from the center of Ubud city, so it can be reached by taking a walk. It is advisable to travel to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary during the dry months, that is, in June, July and August. 

Regarding the attitude to have with monkeys, they can be fed, but only bananas. Other types of food, such as peanuts, cookies, bread or other snacks can affect the health of these animals.

Mother and son in the sacred sanctuary of the Monkey Forest.

If you want to interact with primates, do so carefully, as they are wild animals and they can be aggressive. Therefore, do not try to touch them, play with them, much less try to catch them. In addition, these animals are known to be kleptomaniacs, so avoid carrying items that you do not want to lose, such as glasses, jewelry or wallets.

On the other hand, at the entrance of the enclosure there are many street vendors that offer bananas for you to feed the animals. It is true that with food you will have more possibilities to interact with them, but if you do not want to spend the money on that or, simply, you are not in favor of feeding wild animals, you should know that you will also have many opportunities to see and photograph them from close. 

Take advantage of your visit to Bali to get to know this sanctuary!

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a perfect place to escape the sweltering heat of the dry season. Thus, if you travel to this wonderful island to enjoy its beaches and its captivating culture, take the opportunity to enter this sanctuary and have an entertaining time, surrounded by monkeys, with family, with friends or alone.

Pura Taman Ayun, one of the most famous temples in Bali

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