Lombok is noticeably different than its close neighbor,
Bali. The northern part of the island is mountainous
and lush with tall trees and shrubs. The south, on the
other hand is arid and covered by savannas.
At around the time Islam first came to these islands
in the 16th century, four Hindu Kingdoms co-existed
in apparent peace in what is now West Nusa Tenggara.
Lombok experienced strong Balinese influences, but has
retained a unique identity. The indigenous people of
Lombok, the Sasaks, are predominantly Moslem and have
a strong, distinguished tradition, as do the people
of neighboring Sumbawa.
Lomboks biggest Balinese temple is the Pura Meru
in Cakranegara, it was build in 1720 by Anak Agung Made
Karang. Dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma
and Vishnu, it has three courtyards.
Three pagode-like palces of worship stand in a line
from north to south in the inner-most courtyard. The
one of the north is dedicated to Vishnu and has a roof
with 9 tiers. The central one is dedicated to Shiva
with 11 tiers on its roof, and the southernmost one
is for Brahma with a roof of 7 tiers.
Nearby is Taman Mayura. Once part of the royal palace,
it has an artificial lake set in the middle of a park.
A raised path leads from the side of the pond to pavilion
built in the middle of the lake. In former days justice
was meted out and religious rituals were performed in
this open-sided pavilion.
Soft, white sand, virgin beaches are typical in Lombok,
where the motto is: You can see Bali from Lombok,
but not Lombok from Bali. Famous for its ikat
hand-woven textiles, the island has exceptional charm
and is relatively undiscovered, except for the town
of Senggigi, which is becoming a major resort area.
Regular shuttle flights from Bali and Surabaya as well
as ferries, provide excellent transportation links between
the islands of the province as well as the rest of the