West Nusa Tenggara has a beauty that is as good as Bali. The location is very close to the Island of the Gods. However, for the number of tourists, Lombok is still far behind Bali.
Now, the government is trying to develop tourism destinations in the West Nusa Tenggara region because it is considered to have potential.
The targeted area is the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (or Kawasan Ekonomi Khusus, KEK). Since 2014, the region has a Special Economic Zone status for the agro industry and the ecotourism industry.
For the great potential of the Mandalika KEK, President Joko Widodo injected funds of Rp 1.8 trillion. Mandalika is considered the most suitable area for tourism development in West Nusa Tenggara.
Talking about the Mandalika area, it doesn’t feel right if it’s not talking about the beaches around it. Some beaches with their distinctive charm are Kuta Beach and Tanjung Aan Beach.
The location of this beach is also surrounded by hills. One of the hills is called Bukit Mandalika. That said, this name was taken from the name of a legendary king’s daughter who died in this region.
Based on outstanding folklore, the beautiful princess named Mandalika became the target of many princes. Besides having a beautiful face, she was also smart, friendly, and polite.
No wonder many princes came from all kingdoms to propose her. Strangely, Princess Mandalika always accepted every proposal that was addressed to her.
Finally, to fight for the love of the princess, all of the princes declared wars. The winner would be the one who has the right to side with the princess at the wedding.
Hearing this confusion, the father of Princess Mandalika questioned this condition to her. He did not want war because their kingdom was a prosperous and peaceful kingdom.
Mandalika asked her father for permission to solve this problem. Agreeing to Mandalika’s request, the king let his daughter overcame this chaos.
The princess thought, if she chose one of the princes, the dispute would still occur. She thought there would be many princes who might be disappointed and did not accept her decision.
For a long time Princess Mandalika thought, even doing meditation, and finally getting the whisper to gather all of the princes on the 20th of the 10th of the Sasak calendar. All princes present were also required to bring their own people. They were asked to gather on Kuta Beach.
All parties couldn’t wait to listen to Mandalika’s decision. When the day came, Kuta Beach was visited by a sea of people. They were curious about the decision of the princess who would choose a prince to accompany her.
Princess Mandalika walked towards a boulder and looked at the entire audience. She began to speak, “O my father and mother and all the princes and people of Tonjang Beru that I love! After I thought carefully, I decided that I was for all of you. I was destined to be a Nyale that you can enjoy together, together on the month and date when Nyale appears at the shore.”
After delivering her message, Mandalika immediately jumped into the sea. Seeing the incident everyone was panicking and hysterical. They tried to find Mandalika but she was lost in the waves.
Shortly after Mandalika disappeared suddenly a small number of tiny animals appeared from the sea floor. The animals were in the form of sea worms with very beautiful colors, in combination of white, black, green, yellow and brown. The animal was called Nyale in local language; sea worms that live in rock holes below the sea surface that belongs to the genus Palola.
People also believe the worms as the incarnation of Princess Mandalika. And finally they took as many as possible as a sign of love for Mandalika.
This story also became the origin of the creation of the Bau Nyale ceremony (catching worms) carried out by the Sasak people. Until now the ceremony is still taking place between February and March.