The splendidly scenic highway from Garut, east to Tasikmalaya snakes through the mountains along the winding course of the Ciwulan river. Snug againts the Ciwulan's banks lies tiny Kampung Naga, one of the most beautiful and most traditional villages in West Java.
At Neglasari near Salawum a path known as Jl. Naga lead down a concrete stairway in the hillside. Turn left and follow the path, staying on the same side of the river. It is about 15 minute walk each way.
In spite of its proximity to modern society, Naga has retained its traditional custom over the centuries. The odd residents if Kampung Naga maintain one of the few village built according to the very old Sundanese custom. All the 102 houses are laid out in neat rows, each has same size and the same style.
The walls are made of bamboo as using brick is considered taboo. Furnishing houses is not allowed as it is against their ancestors custom. Guests sit on the verandah carpetedonly by pandanus leaf mats. Also the mosque is built on stilts along an east-west axis, using woods, bamboo, and thatch. Terrace walls and walkways are fashioned from viver rock.
The people of Kampung Naga follow traditions of the karuhun or forefathers, and kokolot or the eldest head of the village who is very much respected. They preserve many indigenous traditions. One of them is a monthly pilgrimage to the grave of the village founder Embah Dalem Singaparna, who lies burried atop hill to the 12th if Maulud.
Women hull their rice manually in the lesung, a wooden trough set in a small gazebo above the river.
Kampung Naga is a very peaceful place that has preserved its traditional village layout, architecture and way of life. The village is scenically located near the road connecting Garut and Tasikmalaya.
From Tasikmalaya, travel about 30 km toward Neglasari-Garut. From here it is a fifteen minute walk to Kampung Naga.
A flight of stairs leads down from Neglasari to the valley of the Ciwulan River. Approach the village by walking along the river as it gushes over big boulders and eventually pass a group of ponds. On the dams between the ponds, a little huts have been erected under coconut tress when women pound rice with sticks in wooden troughs called lesung (rice hullers, a very traditional ways).Kampung Naga
The uniqueness of this village lies in the uniformity of the houses; the direction they face. Their design and the building materials. All the gables of the houses face the river and are aligned along an east-west axis. The thatching material for the roofs is ijuk (sugar-palm fiber). There are no tv, radios, motorcycles or any other vehicles in or near the village; they could not negotiate the stairs, anyway. The narrow lanes between the houses are made of round cobble stones, as are retaining walls and the stairways which lead to the upper parts of the village.
In the village center, right next to the assembly hall, is a small stall selling handicraft items made from split bamboo at very moderate prices. A curious specialty is the collapsible sun hat.
The Kepala Adat, the man in charge of traditional cultural affairs, has his house just bellow the village assembly hall and might be willing, if he is there, to brief you in aspects of the old Sundanese culture as they have been preserved in Kampung Naga. Among these is a monthly procession to the grave of the village's founder, Sembah Dalem Singaparna, located on a hill top to the west. Another tradition is a festival called Pedaran is memory of the ancestors; it is held each year during the lunar month of Mulud (the Islamic month in which the Prophet Mohammed was born). On the 12th of Mulud, weapons and heirlooms are ritually cleansed in the river