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The Baliem Valley Papua Highlands is centered on the Grand Valley some 1,600 meters above sea level. Temperatures of the highland are range from 26 degrees Celsius in the day time 12 degrees at night. The valley is 60 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide. And it is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks rising to between 2,500 and 3,000 meters. This valley has been the most visited part of the island, especially in recent years. This valley is home to the Dani tribe. They are living in a primitive way of farming.

Baliem Valley is a spectacular valley which an ideal location for our innovative trek that follows trails through the jungle and mountain environs of the Yali, Lani, and Dani People. Until a generation ago these stone-age tribes had little to do with the outside world until the arrival of white missionaries in the 1950s. A fact well documented in Heinrich Harrer’s account of the first ascent of the Carstensz Pyramid in 1962. Even today, Dani’s reliance on stone axes and on an agricultural lifestyle – that evolves around raising pigs and growing root crops – provides a fitting insight into their tribal traditions.

Baliem Valley Tribal War

The tribal war was common to use as the final way to solve a tribal problem among the tribes. A small problem like a stolen pig can cause a big war which involved the whole men in the village. Each of the warriors will come with their spears, arch, and bow. While the body will be fully decorated with instant tattoos and the best head and arm ornaments they have. A war will be ended till one side of them got to surrender. But it does not mean that it is the end of the war, the loser will take revenge not so long after. They will try to kill the same number of people they lose.

War is a method used by this tribe as a last resort in any disputes with other tribes. In fact, this war will be considered finished and fair if the number of victims killed on both sides is equal. If the number of victims died is different, then the losing side will slaughter the pig with the same amount as the difference between the victims on their side.
The slaughter of this pig is a symbol that they will seek revenge in the future, the same number of the difference of the victims on their side.

Preparing Earth Oven Pig Feast

baliem valley papua, indonesia
Baliem Valley Pig Fest

In the first process, the pig is shot right in the heart using a bow and arrow. Then they burn off the pig’s hair to get clean skin. Next, the dead pig lay on banana and sweet potato leaves ready to butcher. The internal organs are taken out and clean, heart and liver are separated. While other people heat the rocks for about 1 hour until they get ready removed them into the cooking pit available.

On the pit, they fill the first layer with sedge grass or special Acacia leaves or “Pabika” in the local language. These leaves will keep the heat remaining and also give more flavors to the cooking. The first food to put on this layer is sweet potatoes, then covered again with the second leaves layer for the next sweet potatoes. And so on until all sweet potatoes are in the pit.

On top of those, they put again one more layer filled with sweet potato leaves as also the best diet for the people. Finally, on the very top, they put the pig which is stretched with a reason to be well cooked until all the foods are finally covered with sedge grass and then tightened up with rattan rope. This cooking process takes about 1 to 1,5 hours depending on the size and quantity of sweet potatoes inside.

Plan to have a lifetime experience to visit Baliem Valley? Learn more about our Baliem Valley Tour program.

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