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 Lombok princess returns as a sea worm

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BerichtOnderwerp: Lombok princess returns as a sea worm   Lombok princess returns as a sea worm Icon_minitimema 4 maa 2013 - 9:59

, The Jakarta Post, Lombok Mon, March 04 2013,

Thousands of people joined an annual hunt for sea worms on Seger Beach in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), on Sunday.

The hunt, called the Bau Nyale 2013, got underway at Kuta village in Pujut district on Saturday evening. People started to comb the beaches as early as 4 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Jakarta time) on Sunday in their search for the sea worms, locally known as nyale.

“We come here every year to look for nyale. If we get only a few, we will cook them — but we will sell them if get more,” Mujut, a resident of the neighboring village of Rembitan, said.

The hunt began in the early morning, before the tide came in at dawn. Most residents were equipped with flashlights as they searched through coral reefs for the elusive sea worm, armed only with scoops or nets.

According to local residents, the Bau Nyale is part of the legend of Princess Mandalika. Those who catch the sea worms are said to receive luck and good fortune for the rest of their lives.

The legend says that the beautiful and refined princess came from Tunjung Beru Kingdom, inspiring many princes from throughout the land to seek her hand.

Mandalika’s father, King Seg, made a tournament pitting the suitors against each other with the princess as the prize.

However, Mandalika did not want any blood to be spilled on her account. She threw herself into the sea while telling the people of Lombok to live in harmony. The princess also vowed to return every year on the 20th day of the 10th month of Sasak.

However, when the date came around, only the nyale appeared.

“Traditionally, the people have believed that the sea worms were a reincarnation of the princess,” Central Lombok Tourism agency head Lalu Putria said.

Putria said that the event was held to preserve the legend of Mandalika to attract tourists to Central Lombok and NTB. The agency estimated that 50,000 people took part in the hunt on Seger Beach alone.

Central Lombok Regent HM Suhaili FT said on Saturday evening that the tradition taught people of the importance of unity, despite their diverse backgrounds.

Since the event’s inclusion on the regency’s annual tourism calendar in 1996, local Sasak people and have been joined by Javanese and Balinese on the hunt.

Suhaili said that the event would promote Central Lombok’s tourism potential, especially since Seger Beach was included as part of the Mandalika Resort, which was launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011.

Central Lombok is known for the beautiful beaches on its southern coastal area.

Although the event was centered on Seger Beach, hundreds of thousands of people joined the hunt this year at the location where Mandalika is believed to have drowned herself on the southern coast of Lombok Island.

American tourist, John Chatt told The Jakarta Post that he was happy to observe the event during a holiday with his wife.

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