The Baduy is the indigenous tribe of Banten. They are divided into three groups, Tangtu, Panamping, and Dangka. Tangtu is known as the Inner Baduy. With a population of only around 400, the people of Inner Baduy follow rigid customs and the area is a forbidden territory where no stranger is permitted to enter.
Panamping are those known as the Outer Baduy tribe. They live in many villages around the Inner Baduy area – Cijengkol, Cikadu, Cisadane, Kaduketuk, Kadukolot, Cisagu, and so on. While Dangka lives elsewhere, outside the Inner Baduy and Outer Baduy areas, and serves as a sort of barrier to stop the influence of the outside world from entering the sacred inner circle. This makes them pretty much isolated from technology and they also reject formal education for their children.
The nest morning, they went trekking to visit a few more villages in Outer Baduy. At noon, they had a pleasant old fashioned Baduy lunch consisting of the freshest home-grown ingredients, in Cisadane Village on the south side of Outer Baduy. The women of the group, naturally also went shopping for some ikat fabrics, handbags made woven bark and traditional Baduy clothes.
National Archaeological Research has nearly close to the complete scene of the old Banten kingdom as one of the old Sunda kingdoms beside Pajajaran. The tradition of Sunda such as the poets of Sejarah Banten, Tangtu Pangelaran, and Serat Centhini are resources in disclosing the mystery of Banten or West Java in general besides formal edicts of kings. Around the 14th century the Hindu kingdom of Sunda, known as Pajajaran felt down after being attacked by the Moslem army of Cirebon under the commander of Sunan Gunung Jati.
It was told that so easy to subdue the royal palace due to the great welcome of local people to Islam, as Islam promised all people will get Sorga, not like Hindu which was basically royal religion and indicated a complex ritual to attain sorga. The last prince named Prabu Pucuk Umum was unable to face the Moslem army fled with some ministers to the forest, hiding behind the mountain, ravines, months even years to get rid of the Moslem army attack. At last the group arrived at a dense virgin forest called Mandala Singkah, and the first place they stop is called Panembahan Arca Domas, located at the beginning of the Ciujung river. This full miserable story of self-rescue is still being heard among the Baduy in the form of a song during the rice maturity season.
The Arca Domas is now the center and most sacred place for Baduy people and culture and not everyone can visit the place. Arca Doma is a stone simple arrangement forming 13 grades. Before talking about Arca Domas, we will see their belief first. Many people think that the Baduy follow Buddhism since they related to the palace of Pajajaran or Sunda kingdom.
The fact today there is a belief of Sanghyang Batara Tunggal ( the one god ). This oneness has the characteristic of omniscience, invisible yet imaginable by heart, omnipotence, Omni-creator who protects movement on the universe, ravine, river, the peak of mountain, forests, caves, lakes and other sacred places. When a person died his/her soul will return to Sanghyang Batara Tunggal. This belief reminds on Hinduism in Bali, not Buddhism. The name of Sang Hyang reminds the original belief of ethnics of Indonesia before Indian influence, while Batara is purely Indian. It has been a mixed aspect between local and Indian, especially Hindu.
Arca Domas honored as Panembahan Arca Domas. Penembahan is a title for an important person especially having a connection with the royal family and power on society such as king, ministers, and persons having great service to the people. Arca mean sculpture, Domas means eight hundred, which reminds the way Balinese accounting. It is probably that the 800 sculptures were dedicated to high dignitaries as a cemetery. According to writers who had been given the permission by the people to visit the place such as Prof. Veth, Mr. Kooder, and Djoewisno, MS< the place had beautiful panorama, arising unique feeling among hundred-year-old trees, stones covered by a moat, deep ravine, beautiful and wide gorges. All these made an experience of a great nature sweeping away the feeling of tiredness, hunger and thirst. The path to reach the sacred place of Arca Domas is said extremely difficult and disguise. The forest around the area has many spring water sources and is closed to even the Baduy themselves and there are sanctions for the offender. It can be a bad penalty such as 3 months work on force and ritual to pay his/her sin. What is called Arca Domas is megalith like construction in 13 grades filled with upright stones, yet the original shapes are not visible, covered by a thick moat. On the back is a cave with stalagmite and stalactites.
Offending traditional regulation is a serious act if within 3 months work under force fails to pay the penalty of ritual then the offender will be exiled, his/her land will be confiscated and given to the traditional village organization or the Adat. If the offender is the resident of Baduy Dalam village, he/she will be moved to outer Baduy village known as Baduy Pendamping villages, if the offender is from outer Baduy village then there are places to put the offender on exile such as villages of Cibengkung, Pangawean, and Cipatih. If the offender is non-Baduy people, provided prepare to pay the fine, he/she will be released but his/her whole life will be banned to enter Baduy land again, their organization is so effective in preventing this.
The personality of Baduy people is interesting, their body is stilt, clear yellowish skin, straightforwardness, never laughing or joking, look arrogant but humble, honest, strong resolution but not stubborn, not easy to be influenced or persuaded, but never giving trouble to others.