Under the volcanoes of Java - afternoon tea in Bali

By Guest Blogger on Aug 01, 2018
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Under the volcanoes of Java

East Java, Indonesia, Tengger National Park, Tengger Caldera, East Java National Park and Indonesia's most spectacular volcanic landscape. With a diameter of 16 km, the park gathers three large craters. Bromo, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, Semeru, the tallest mountain on the island, and Batok, a complex that creates an atmospheric, outdoors landscape.

People and volcanoes

With a population of 130 million, Java is the most populous island on the planet, the fifth largest in Indonesia and one of the most populated areas in the world. It is estimated that over 130,000 square kilometers in total, in this long strip of land sloping under Ecuador, about one thousand people per square kilometer are crowded. The capital city of Java and the state of Indonesia is Jakarta, a city in which 20 million people live and is located at the western end of Java. The formation of the island is the result of multiple explosions from the large volcanic arc that extends along its backbone. Not so much, there are 38 volcanoes, of which many are still active, making it one of the most volcanic areas of the planet.

People and volcanoes do not live in a separate plan. In the depths of centuries, races from different parts of the island cluster, in order to preserve manners and traditions by invaders and conquerors, moved to the hinterland and inaccessible mountain ranges. Their legacy is a fairly complex immune structure, directly linked to the elements of nature, which tremble and worship at the same time. Daily routine in villages or settlements, built at the foot of the volcanoes, is of great interest. The activity of craters, past or future, directly affects the inhabitants. Craters such as Bromo or Semeru have acquired legendary dimensions, legends that accompany them and practically have a leading role in the social life of the place.

In the Bromo Command the Bromo Crater (altitude 2,392m, last eruption in 2007) is an active volcano and holy mountain for Tengger, the breed that dwells on its foothills. Bromo is the most famous mountain in East Java, but not the tallest. It owes its reputation to its large crater, which is open to visitors, offering panoramic views of the entire mountain cluster. Here Ubud high ups to the visitors who walk around the crater, staring at the fumes and a mountainous relief that stands out like Hollywood scenery. The underage salesman explains to me in broken English that the bouquet is a small offer to the god who sleeps deep in the volcano. For the locals it is not just a geophysical phenomenon, but a mythical entity, a deity that they must respect.  They believe they must submit to the will of the deity in the volcano. 

Indeed, the Kasodo ceremony (the month of December-January), the biggest festival of the year for the region, is being held annually on the full moon in December or January. Representatives from different villages offer goods such as rice, live, vegetables, food and even money to be deposited at the altar which, according to the beliefs, lies in the crater and heart of the giant God. Access to Bromo is of medium difficulty, but a driver is recommended, at least for the first time. Practically, an overnight stay is needed in a village, preferably in Ngadisari, located 5.5 km from the entrance to the National Park. From there you can get jeeps that will take you to the caldera. The altitude is about 2,000 meters and does not particularly affect the soil, which is sandy because of volcanic ash.

Semeru Hidden Life Semeru (altitude: 3,676 meters, burst frequency: daily) is the highest peak of Java and one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Also known as Mahameru, which in the local dialect means the Great Mountain, it is dramatically starring in the volcanic park Tengger. Its name comes from Sumeru, which according to the Buddhist view corresponds to the central mountain of the world. It is located in the southern zone of Tengger, it has a rich and, literally, explosive activity, its maximum height reaches 3,676 meters and is an autonomous destination. With dozens of villages on foot and innumerable myths to emerge in each of his vibes, he generously compensates fanatical trekkers. However, for hiking and climbing one must get permission from the local authority and be properly prepared.

The frequency of the Semeru explosions is quite large, but not always visible. But if you insist and climb mainly in the early hours, which is clear, you might as well take the anointing from the "deity" sleeping in the depths of the Semeru crater and you can see and photograph his volcanic mood, which is indeed impressive. You can also enjoy an afternoon tea in Bali and enjoy the view from a distance. You will realize that heaven can be found in  Indonesia.