â€˜Perang topatâ€™ reflects Islam-Hindu tolerance in West Lombok | The Jakarta Post While war is normally identical with hatred, blood and death, perang topat (or rice cake throwing) in West Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), is a ritual â€œwarâ€ that symbolizes brotherhood and tolerance between Muslims and Hindus. Screams and cheers pervaded the complex of Pura Lingsar, a historic temple in Lingsar village, West Lombok, recently. Hundreds of people of all ages, male and female, were separated into two groups, one in the yard of Pura Gaduh, a Hindu prayer house, and the other in the yard of Kemaliq, a sacred place for the ethnic Sasak Muslim community. As soon as they heard a command to begin, both groups immediately charged headlong at each other. But perang topat, or the war of topat (boiled rice cakes in coconut leaves), in which rice lumps are hurled, is a centuries-old tradition in Lingsar village that is meant to promote harmony between local Muslims and Hindus, instead of promoting a dreadful and horrible clash. The ritual war, beginning at 5 p.m., is believed to bring blessings through the topat thrown at each other. When the fight is over, the remaining rice cakes already used are always taken home to be strewn over paddy fields for soil fertility or placed in shops for profit. â€œThrough generations, weâ€™ve been practicing this tradition after bumper harvests, by which we express our deep gratitude to God and anticipate soil fertility in the current planting season. Itâ€™s also a means of strengthening relations with fellow Hindu villagers,â€ said Sahyan, 36-years-old, a Lingsar resident managing the Kemaliq house. The annual event in Lingsar village takes place in Pura Lingsar, which was built in 1759 during the reign of King Anak Agung Gede Ngurah, a descendant of the King of Karangasem, Bali, who ruled part of Lombok in the 17th century. This temple, about 9 kilometers east of Mataram, is the most unique building of its kind in the country because it comprises Pura Gaduh, a place for Hindu worshippers, and Kemaliq, a Sasak Muslim house of ceremonies. Built in the style of Balinese architecture, the two characterize the Pura Lingsar complex, which has been maintained as a cultural heritage site since the 1990s. The exact date for Lingsarâ€™s perang topat is the 15th of the seventh month of the Sasak-Lombok calendar, called purnama sasi kepitu (full moon of the 7th month), or the 15th of the sixth month of the Hindu-Bali calendar, known as purnama sasi kenem (full moon of the 6th month), which this year fell on Dec. 10. On that day, Hindus also celebrated the anniversary of Pura Lingsar and Muslims commemorated the great services of Raden Mas Sumilir, an Islamic propagator from Demak, Central Java, who was in Lombok in the 15th century. The rice cakes for perang topat were prepared by all hamlets in Lingsar village, Hindu and Muslim. The commemorative offerings and topat were paraded round Kemaliq with traditional musical accompaniments. Large crowds of local people and visitors waited until the procession was over, when rice cakes were distributed to them and the throwing spree began joyfully. This year a lot of domestic and foreign tourists witnessed the ritual. â€œPerhaps only in Lingsar can they find Hindu and Muslim celebrations held on the same date and in the same place, although we have different versions,â€ said Kemaliq chief executive Suparman Taufik. The Hindus held their Pujawali ceremonies in Pura Gaduh to revere Batara Gunung Rinjani, Batara Gunung Agung and Batara Lingsar, as the manifestation of Almighty God. The Muslims marched round to mark the course of Islamic propagation by Raden Sumilir. The tradition, as a tourist event of NTB over the last 15 years, was ceremonially opened by West Lombok regent Zaini Arony and deputy regent H Mahrip by throwing their first topat at the crowds in the yard of Kemaliq. â€œItâ€™s the worldâ€™s only war of brotherhood and tolerance that is waged without hatred and victims,â€ said Zaini in his message. According to him, West Lombok as a multiethnic region is a comfortable and attractive destination for tourists. â€œIndia, with its Hindu majority, has the Taj Mahal as Muslim heritage and Indonesia with its Muslim majority has Borobudur and other temples, so thereâ€™s no reason for disharmony. This reflects the colors of culture,â€ he added. The topat ritual was followed by a three-day reflection by both Hindus and Muslims in Pura Gaduh and Kemaliq. In this period, the Pura Lingsar premises were teeming with food vendors, local villagers and visitors from West Lombok and Mataram with their families. The hour-long ritual had in fact been preceded by a Hindu-Muslim procession of tolerance two days earlier called Ngeliningan Kaok, in which two buffalos were taken round Pura Lingsar. Thereafter, the buffalos were slaughtered as a sacrifice and consumed together. â€œAs cows are sacred in Hindu belief, and Muslims are forbidden to consume pigs, buffalos have been chosen. So all offerings in Pura Lingsar must only be chicken or buffalo meat. If violated, there could be grave consequences,â€ said Suparman Taufik, chief of Kemaliq in Pura Lingsar, which is believed to have been named after Langser, a water spring beside the complex that serves to irrigate paddy fields.