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  • MOUNTAINS IN GREATER BANDUNG: Mount Nagara Padang Ciwidey and Symbols of the Journey of Human Life

MOUNTAINS IN GREATER BANDUNG: Mount Nagara Padang Ciwidey and Symbols of the Journey of Human Life

A trip to the Mount Nagara Padang Ciwidey site is a journey to reflect on the meaning of life's journey. Vandalism and trash are threats to its sustainability.

One of the rock sites on Mount Nagara Padang was photographed using a drone when the Pemandu Geowisata Indonesia (PGWI) team visited, in August 2021. (Photo: Denny Sugandi)

Penulis Gan Gan Jatnika24 November 2023

BandungBergerak.id - Stones have a hidden meaning of "learning to read and write." That's one of the reasons why stone sites are often used as tools for learning by the ancestors.

The site of Mount Nagara Padang consists of a series of unique stones formed naturally by volcanic events thousands or even millions of years ago. These stone sites were then given meaning and significance in succession, with the theme of the journey of human life from birth to preparation for the next stage.

It's not entirely clear when these sites began to be used for learning and spiritual activities. However, if we connect it to the early history of the establishment of Tutugan Village at the foot of Mount Padang, it's possible that spiritual activities at these sites started around 1877, along with the presence of the village.

Location and Access

The Mount Nagara Padang site is located on the slopes of Mount Padang. Administratively, this location is at the border between Bandung Regency and West Bandung Regency.

The southern slopes of the mountain are in the Legokkiara area, Tutugan Village, Rawabogo Subdistrict, Ciwidey. Meanwhile, the eastern slopes are part of Buninagara Village, and the western slopes are part of Wangunsari Village, Sindangkerta Subdistrict, West Bandung Regency.

The site is surrounded by several small mountains, namely Pasir Pamipiran and Pasir Naringgul to the east, and Pasir Badak to the northwest.

The journey to the entrance can start from Tutugan Village, Rawabogo. You can also start from Amlong's stall or from Cisalada Village, Buninagara. Four-wheeled vehicles are not recommended because the road conditions are still unpaved with quite steep inclines. When it rains, the route becomes too slippery.

Motorcycle riders should also prepare well. Before starting the journey, make sure your brakes and tires are in good condition.

Walking to the entrance is a more suitable option. The distance is about 1.5 kilometers through plantations and pine forests, and it doesn't feel too tiring. Moreover, the path is quite wide and shaded by the canopy of trees. Along the way, you will encounter white-flowered kaliandra trees, pine and cemara trees, and puspa trees with their scattered flowers on the ground.

For visitors who want to leave their vehicles behind, there is space around the stalls owned by local residents in Legokkiara, Tutugan Village, Rawabogo, or at Amlong's stall, Buninagara. In these stalls, you can also buy supplies to take to the site. There are plenty of snacks and drinks available.

One of the stone sites on Mount Nagara Padang, October 2021. The stone sites in this area symbolize the stages of the human journey from birth to preparation for the next life. (Photo: Gan-gan Jatnika)
One of the stone sites on Mount Nagara Padang, October 2021. The stone sites in this area symbolize the stages of the human journey from birth to preparation for the next life. (Photo: Gan-gan Jatnika)

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Origin of Name and History

Talking about Mount Nagara Padang might remind you of Padang City, the capital of West Sumatra Province. Or you might recall two other Mount Padang in West Java, namely Mount Padang in Cianjur and another one in Ciamis. However, the Mount Nagara Padang site in Ciwidey is not specifically related to the names mentioned above.

The name "Nagara Padang" consists of the word "Nagara," which means region, and the word "Padang," which means a vast or bright place. Thus, in its entirety, Nagara Padang can be interpreted as a place or mountain that can provide enlightenment or light to those who visit it or the surrounding community.

In Tutugan Village, Rawabogo, there is a hermitage known as Padepokan Kasepuhan Ajar Padang, which actively works to preserve and care for the environment and culture. This hermitage is led by Abah Undang, who is also an elder of Tutugan Village. He is a descendant of the pioneers of Tutugan Village.

Padepokan Kasepuhan Ajar Padang is also the driving force behind the traditional ceremony "Miasih Ka Bumi," which is held annually at the foot of the mountain and at the Mount Nagara Padang site.

Exploring and Interpreting the Series of Sites

In broad terms, the meaning of the journey through the series of stone sites at Mount Nagara Padang is to reflect on the meaning and journey of human life from beginning to end. There are 17 stone sites divided into three sections that reflect three stages of human life: childhood, adolescence or the search for identity, and the wisdom stage as preparation for the next stage of life.

There are also seven gates of life passed through in the Mount Nagara Padang site. If you want to explore them, the journey can start from the Cikahuripan spring. This symbolizes that to begin any journey in life, we must first cleanse ourselves.

However, if you don't have time to visit in the spring, the journey can begin at the Batu Lawang Masuk (Entrance Stone Site). This site consists of two large stones not far from the ticket gate.

From there, you will find the Batu Kaca-kaca with stairs next to it. Uniquely, at the end of the stairs, there is a stone that suggests a door that we must pass through. The Batu Kaca-kaca site symbolizes the importance of self-reflection before proceeding further.

The next site is Batu Palawangan Ibu, or the stone gate of birth. In this site, you are reminded of the process of birth and the emergence of humans into the world. There is a special ritual performed here. You enter the dark crevices between the stones, then find your way out through a narrow gap in the rocks. The process of emerging from this narrow rock crevice symbolizes the process of birth.

To pass through this process, visitors must be accompanied by a guide or someone who is familiar with it. Otherwise, you could get trapped and unable to escape from the darkness between the rocks.

After the Batu Palawangan Ibu site, you will sequentially pass through other stone sites, including Batu Panyipuhan, Batu Bedak, Batu Karaton, Batu Kaca Saadeg, Batu Masjid Agung, Batu Kopeah, Batu Korsi Gading, Batu Lawang Tujuh, Batu Pakuwon Siliwangi, Batu Geugeusan, Batu Leuit 25 Jajar, Batu Kancana, Batu Papanggungan, Batu Kutarungu, Batu Lawang Keluar, and so on. Each stone site has a different story and meaning, but they are interconnected as symbols of the journey of human life.

Puncak Manik (Manik Peak) is the highest point of all the sites at Mount Nagara Padang. It's a relatively large field bordered by large rocks. At the end of the field, there are "areuy batas", or twisted roots that dangle in convolutions. It is said that these roots mark the boundary of the site's series of sites.

Mount Nagara Padang is a suitable place for visitors to reflect on the meaning of their life journey. (Photo: Gan Gan Jatnika)
Mount Nagara Padang is a suitable place for visitors to reflect on the meaning of their life journey. (Photo: Gan Gan Jatnika)

Issues and Challenges

As a series of spiritual sites, there are many myths that complement the existence of Mount Nagara Padang. This seems to make some potential tourists think twice before visiting. There are concerns and fears of encountering unusual or mystical things there.

However, this is not the case. Spiritual tourism activities at this site can actually coexist harmoniously with popular tourist activities conducted by the general public. Respect and greetings between spiritual tourists and regular tourists occur here.

So, there is no reason to feel hesitant or uneasy about enjoying the natural beauty of Mount Nagara Padang Ciwidey.

What is truly regrettable, though, is the vandalism in the form of defacing rocks with graffiti or carving names and the littering of trash at some of the stone sites. It's a classic problem, but tourists should show more respect for and care for the environment they visit.

* Translated from this article by Zelika Salsabila Insyra.

Editor: Ahmad Fikri