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Unique Facts of Baduy & Their Current Existence

Unique Facts of Bedouins & Their Current Existence

Indonesia is well known as a country that has various ethnic groups. According to the 2010 BPS census, there are around 1,340 ethnic groups in our homeland. You must know some tribes with large populations, such as Javanese, Sundanese, Minang, Padang, Batak, Balinese, and Bugis. However, do you still remember when you were in school, about the Bedouins?

The Bedouin tribe is one of the indigenous tribes that is famous for its ability to preserve nature as well as local wisdom. This tribe is Sundanese who live in the mountains of Kendeng, Kenekes Village, Leuwidamar District, Lebak Regency, Banten. The Bedouins cling to a closed way of life, they are detached from the temptations of the modern world. However, this is precisely what attracts the Bedouins to visitors or tourists. Are you curious about what Bedouins are like with their daily lives? Check out below:

1. Bedouins always obey the customs and rules set by Pu'un (Chief of the Tribe)
The Bedouins call themselves Urang Kenekes. Urang means people in the Sundanese language, Kenekes is their sacred area which is located on Mount Kendeng, Banten, south of Java. Ethnically, Bedouins belong to the Sundanese ethnic group. Their racial, physical and linguistic characteristics are very similar to those of other Sundanese. The difference lies in the way of life. They always obey all the customs and rules set by Pu'un (Chief of the tribe). This obedience is absolute for life together.

Ed Davies in Reuters in 2008 said that although they are close to the capital city of Indonesia, the Bedouins also live in a world that seems remote because they live in almost total exile. This was concluded after observing the customs in the Bedouin tribe which prohibited using soap, driving vehicles, and even wearing shoes. Some anthropologists argue that they are descendants of priests from the West Java Hindu kingdom of Padjajaran and took refuge in the limestone hills where they now live, after refusing to convert to Islam in the 16th century.

2. Until when the Bedouins lived in exile is not certain, but the existence of this tribe actually originated from the fusion of Hindu & Buddhist religions
In 1983, Brigitte Cavanagh wrote in Cultural Survival Quarterly that Bedouins lived in controlled interaction with the outside world. This is intended to defend their group's traditions and to counter Islamization. The Bedouin ability to maintain their mysterious image by limiting communication with the outside world to strength. They are reluctant to deal with strangers and are secretive about the nature of their traditions. They were known in Java for their magical powers and they strengthened this reputation.

There are still few who know their cultural background, except for religions that reflect elements of Hinduism and Buddhism. The story of resistance to Islam is told in various local legends, which place its Bedouin origins in the 16th century, when Padjajaran in the Sunda Kingdom fell to Muslim conquerors.

3. The Bedouin social community consists of Outer Badui and Inner Bedouin. Both have similarities and differences in carrying out customary rules
Badui Dalam is a group that still adheres to customs and carries out all the rules well. As for the Outer Badui, more or less it has been influenced by outside culture. The use of electronic goods and packaged chemicals which is prohibited in Badui Dalam, has received permission from the customary leader called Jaro in Badui Luar.

Then, Badui Luar also receives guest visits, both Indonesian and foreign residents. They are quite open, this can be seen from how they welcome guests to enter and even stay at their place. One characteristic that sticks strongly is the dominance of dark colors in the Outer Badui, on the other hand the Inner Bedouins often wear white clothes.

The similarities between the two can be seen from the way they survive. Both Outer and Inner Bedouin tribes both have jobs as farmers. This is what makes natural products abundant, so they can be enjoyed everyday.

4. The procedures for marriage, politics, and the laws of the Bedouin community have their own characteristics
In the wedding procession, Bedouin couples are known to marry by matchmaking. The male parents will establish a relationship with the female parents and introduce their respective children. After agreeing, they take three steps of weeding to complete.

The first step, the male parent will go to Jaro (Village Head) with areca leaves. Then bring the gifts in which there is a white steel ring as a dowry. After that, there are several tools for household and wedding ceremony clothes for women.

The Bedouin community chooses leaders with criteria who are old and wisest in bringing their tribe to be successful. They only choose based on that criteria, there is no promotion of the leader until the campaign like the people in the country in general.

Then for customary law, just like other tribes, they have their own section to take care of people who violate customary rules. Penalties are given based on the category of violations that have been agreed upon by the ancestors, ranging from serious to minor offenses.

6. How can you get access to visiting the Bedouins?

The Outer Badui tribe is open to visitors or tourists who want to learn about their culture. There are many great places and traditional villages to explore. There are many features which will represent a small part of this side of Java. Visiting this tribe makes you feel like visiting the past, where there was still no electricity and no internet signal, especially in Inner Bedouin.

There are two ways you can visit the Bedouin area, first using a special travel service for tourists, second by coming alone. If you choose to go there yourself, you can do the following steps:

 The easiest way is to travel overland by train. Take the express train to Rangkasbitung Station. If you are from Jakarta, you can depart from Tanah Abang Station by train Rangkas Jaya, Kalimata Express, and Krakatau Express (1.5-2 hours)
1. Arrive at Rangkasbitung station, exit the station to the market. You will find public transportation and take a trip to Aweh Terminal (20 minutes)
2. From Aweh Terminal, take a small bus to Ciboleger (entrance gate to the tribe) for about 1.5-2 hours
3. After that, you can start walking to the village of Kadu Tap and Balimbing to get to Badui Luar
4. Then, you need to pay someone to show the homestay. Be sure to agree on a price in advance and preferably find a house with a bathroom.

The Bedouin tribe is one of the strongest tribes in maintaining adat. Even though they are far from civilization and access to everything that is modern in nature, that is precisely what makes this tribe unique. How, did you get interested in feeling the sensation of living in the Bedouins?