Lombok, the little sister of Bali, possesses a virgin beauty more spectacular than its big sister island. Yet, somehow it never became world-famous like Bali, which is probably partly related to this image it carries: an island without a romantic past.
The decision to create Hotel Tugu Lombok was driven by this misconception, which brought up a desire to bring back to life the forgotten history of Lombok.
In 1894, a priceless volume of an ancient manuscript was found at the Puri Cakranegara in Lombok by a Dutch historian by the name of Brandes. Soon enough, this manuscript was identified as the only surviving and most important record of the ancient Hindu era of Majapahit, a vast kingdom that was the most prosperous of all times and reigned through most of the archipelago. The manuscript is known as the Negara Krtagama.
The manuscript recorded years of history telling from mouth to mouth; hundreds-years-old archeological findings; discoveries among villages in Lombok which were sequentially Buddhist, Hindu, and Bayanist among a predominantly Moslem community around the island and the Chinese Peranakan community in the town of Ampenan. Within a period of 35 years following that, there had been discoveries among the minor communities that had been deemed ‘unimportant’, although actually showed a strong cultural pluralism in Lombok in the past.
In bringing back to life these ancient Hindu times in Lombok before the occupation of the Dutch and the Balinese, Hotel Tugu Lombok surrounds itself with chapters from the romantic epic of the Mahabharata.
Hotel Tugu Lombok is set on a heavenly white sand beach of Sire, on the northwest coast of the island. Neighboring this tropical haven is a beautiful 18 hole-golf course and virgin landscapes, traditional thatched roofed huts and empty green fields where local life continues in today’s age much the same as it has done for centuries. The Hotel Tugu Lombok land comprises approximately six hectares of mature palm plantations, facing the open ocean and the sunrise of Mount Rinjani.
Connected through a bridge from the original Ampenan reception house, the large open-air lobby with high ceilings is inspired by a Hindu Majapahit tale of a beautiful princess, Dewi Sri. This goddess and her older brother were turned into a snake and a rooster under the powerful spell of their father, King Purwacarita, because they refused to live in the palace. For good behavior while being under the spell, the God of all gods, Sang Hyang Jagadnata freed Dewi Sri from her spell and she became a heavenly goddess. Her brother, the rooster, was also turned to a deity.
Now, a gigantic statue of the Rooster deity stands tall on top of and along the length of the lobby roof, greeting the sun every morning that rises behind the sacred Mount Rinjani. The sound of the rooster (KOKOK PLETOK) becomes the name of the lobby, signaling the first sighting of the sun the source of life for all beings, in the early mornings. Under the rooster roof, the lobby pays tribute to the goddess DEWI SRI, the goddess of rice who lives underground and romances the full moon. This lobby is the perfect place for romantic honeymoon dining and weddings. Just like how she fertilizes the rice crops, Dewi Sri is also believed to give fertility to human – thus, for those expecting to have babies……
Goddess Dewi Sri is the wife of God Vishnu, the god protector of all creations. In temples from the ancient Hindu times, the statue Dewi Sri was always placed near the statue of God Vishnu, as seen in the Barong temple of the 9th century. Across of the Dewi Sri lobby is the giant statue of God Vishnu, in the shape of Dasa Muka (the Ten Faces of Barong). In the tales of Mahabharata and Bhagavat Gita (translated as the Song of Heaven), the handsome God Vishnu turned to a ten-faced giant when he was overcome with anger, confronted with the arrogance and greed of the Kurawa brothers, who took over the Kingdom of Astina from their half brothers Pandawa.
The 7 Bhagavat Gita suites, not far from the Ten-Faced Vishnu, serenade those sleeping within them with the Song of Heaven, through the soft crashing waves on the beach just steps in front of the suites.
Herewith, Bon Voyage…if only for a relatively short escape from modern reality — in a journey of romantic legends and tropical paradise, to a surreal land of gods and goddesses, and to ancient kingdoms of kings and princesses.
Once upon a time during the times of the Hinduism in Java, there lived Lara Djonggrang, a princess renowned for her stunning beauty. In the kingdom of Prambanan, Lara Djonggrang’s father was killed by a powerful man Bandung Bondowoso, the son of king Prabu Baka. Blinded by her beauty, Bandung Bondowoso madly fell in love with the princess and was determined to have Lara Djonggrang’s hand, whatever it must take.
Lara Djonggrang vowed never to marry the man who had murdered her own father. However, in refusing such a powerful man, she couldn’t say no directly, therefore she demanded Bandung Bondowoso to construct a thousand temples for her overnight. Bandung Bondowoso agreed, and then seeked for the help of hundreds of demons to help him. So when dusk came, they set up to work at a startling speed.
As dawn approached, the demons had completed the majority of the temples. Worried that the one thousand temples would be finished by sunrise, the palace maids woke their princess Lara Djonggrang. They started pounding rice in the barns. The sound of the pounding woke the rooster who then began to crow. When the demons heard the noises, they mistakenly thought that day time had come, the sun about to rise, and therefore flew for their lives. Finally, they only constructed 999 temples.
Enraged, Bandung Bondowoso turned Lara Djonggrang into a stone statue so that she would never be able to love other men forever. The Gods heard the prayers sent by the maidens of the kingdom. Touched by the story, they sent for Lara Djonggrang to be taken to the heavens, riding on a Javanese mythological lion, where she finally found eternal happiness. The legend of LARA DJONGGRANG remains an enchanting, well-kept secret that is told only from parents to children through more than a thousand years, to teach each younger generation the unconditional love and respect a child is to give to his or her parents.