Exploring Bali
History of Kokokan Birds in Petulu Village, Ubud
Sunday, December 23, 2012

Petulu Gunung is a place (Banjar) that is located in cool and leafy village ; it is about 3 Km in north side of the city of art, Ubud and 30 Km from Denpasar City. In Banjar Petulu Gunung live and grow the community of Kokokan birds (Kuntul). Kokokan birds live and integrate with life of people of Petulu Gunung and made nest above the trees that grows in front people house. Every afternoon all of the trees just like blossoming with white flowers because all of the birds perch on it. The people of Petulu Gunung maintain the Kokokan Birds with full attention and love, so the Kokokan birds feel comfortable and peaceful to live above the trees. Kokokan birds have become the symbol of Banjar Petulu Gunung, so that the people named Kokokan birds it means that it comes from the area in Petulu Gunung.

There are many folk stories state that Petulu Gunung is a mountain from the territory of King of Sukawati. This name was given by Cokorda Gunung the son of King of Sukawati about 15th century. King of Sukawati placed a group of people from soroh (class) Bendesa to live and to build Petulu village. Because of the area were very Bet (thick), so the area was called Bet Bulu, and then become Petulu. The northern side named Petulu Gunung. It is called Gunung (mountain) because the location was in the north side and it was in highest continent.

The area of Petulu Gunung was isolated, the streets was blocked and hard to reach it. The peoples life were very poor because it was hard to find a job and also tight rice field land to be cultivated. They were a very simple person but loyal to do a traditional and religion ceremony. Society's life orientation is dominated by spiritual and religious atmosphere.

In order to survive, a lot of Petulu Gunung society wanders to outside of their village to get a job or food source such as rice, coffe and tuberous plant. A lot of them go to Singaraja to ngorek (picking up) coffe and to Tabanan territory to munuh rice, and also to Bangli territory to munuh tuberous plant. These three territories are always come by them after result season comes, they will come back after they get some result (harvest product) or when there is a ceremony or galungan and Kuningan.

Observing this phenomenon, Petulu Gunung society start to think that what they have experienced is an event that is caused by the lack of yadnya (offering) that is offered to God almighty. To Over come this situation, people has a plan to do a great ceremony in their Pura Desa (temple) which are; Mepedanan, Mepedagingan, Mebalik sumpah, and Ngenteg Linggih. They really believe that by doing this great ceremony Petulu Gunung society can live peaceful and prosperous.

By great support from Puri Ubud, then it is fixed that the ceremony will carried out on Saturday, Kliwon Landep. People start to ngayah (to help) to prepare everything that are related with the ceremony such as; rerampe (coconut leaf, bamboo tree), pedagingan (rice, egg), and Wewalungan (animal). When the people ngayah, some of them see for Kokokan birds on the tree in front of Mangku Desa's residence. They did not have any feeling that bird would be the residence in the village.On October 25th 1965was the climax of the "Ngenteg Linggih" ceremony in Pura Desa (temple) that was started by other great ceremony such as : Melasti, Mepedanan, Mepedagingan and Mepada. The ceremony could be done with respect, peace, and smooth, although on the preparation it was surrounded by intense atmosphere because of he political temperature was heated. The society was more confident that the safety that they experienced at that time was not a part from the protection oh God Almighty because they would do the great ceremony. They are very happy and proud that they cuold offer a quite big Yadnya although their lives were so poor and in a destructive condition.

Exactly on November 7th 1965, yhe ceremony over and Ida Bhetara Masineb (God Restored). Coincently with that, came a group of Kokokan birds and they perched and nested on the tree that was grown on the rug of the people residence. When they saw a lot of Kokokan birds came, society believe that they were the gift of the God (paican Ida Bhetara Desa). These Kokokan birds were pets (duwe) from Pura Desa (temple) that should be take care of and purified. Finally, the Kokokan bird were picked up (Dipendak) by all of the society by doing special ceremony in Pura Desa. From that belief the Petulu Gunung society to care of the Kokokan faithfully and no one dare to disturb them, they believed that if they disturb the kokokan bird, it could  caused fatal result for their plants on their rice fields. The events has ofted proved by rice field that were damaged by kokokan birds, people apologize because they took the baby of kokokan without permission. To maintain the safety and everlasting of kokokan birds Petulu Gunung society make special "awig-awig" (Rule/Law) connected by he existence of kokokan bird, that should be done by all people.

By the exsistence of Kokokan birds in Petulu Gunung, the society believed that they have been given a quite huge assest to develop their territory . Petulu Gunung is not isolated anymore because they have been made a special drive true Tegalalang and back to Ubud. Petulu Gunung society does no longer have to go faraway from their territory  to find a job , because they cn create their own work field, for example, by making handy craft. To keep the purity of the bird , Petulu Gunung society held special piodalan (ceremony) every Kliwon Kuningan Saturday  which is exactly on Kuningan ceremony once every six months. In fact society takes care of the bird well and symbolically the society held piodalan kokokan frequently so that they still live and populate.

Shady trees, cool soft blow of wind, and loud sound of water with the view rice field panorama supported by the story believe of society to give protection, made the birds feel save and comfortable to live and populated in Petulu Gunung. Kokokan birds feel that Petulu Gunung is their exact and appropriate habitat. Although in Petulu Gunung territory and arund it provide les food, because of the past harvest season, kokokan birds still choose Petulu Gunung as their last place, everyday kokokan choose Petulu Gunung. This situation proves that kokoan birds with Petulu Gunung society is integral and cannot be separated. The union between the kokoan birds and Petulu Gunung society lives can also be seen from kokokan birds live where they don't want to nest on the treesw which exist behind peoples residence, although those trees are very shady and thick.Based on the people believes there are three are three kind of kokokan birds. These differences can be seen from their body posture and their back feather and head feather. Kokokan bird which posture little bit small but chunky and their back feather are black people call it Blekok. Kokokan bird with bodies are medium and their back feather is yelowish  brown people calls it Kokokan. Although their kinds are diffrent actully but generlly those kinds of birds are populer called Kokokan Litke Egret, 55 cm).

Kokokan birds populate once a year by egging Process. Every Couple has egg 4-6 egg. Usually the egging season falls on November-December which is started by making nest from small brench of trees. And in the end of December and January, Kokokan birds start to have chicks. On the season when the Kokokan bird start to make net ( November) until their chicks can fly (March), They are on Petulu Gunung a whole day from morning to evening. After their chicks can fly and feed themselves and the planting season over Kokokan birds go far away in the morning and came back in evening. Kokokan birds start to crowded up on the tree on 5 p.m this season usually start from April to October. This circle runs over and over. A long with Ubud started as tourism object, kokokan birds has becomes routine agenda for the ubud tourism development. Everi evening before the tourist have dinner and watch the art performance they are scheduled to see kokokan birds in Petulu Gunung. Petulu Gunung is a only unique and interesting tourist object in Bali, because the life of the society and kokokan birds is united. Besides the tourist can see kokokan birds, they can get a lot and handy craft, such as painting, statue and mirror figure. Petulu Gunung is one of the biggest centers of figur handy craft in Bali and produce many kinds of fine figure either it is traditional or modern form.

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