Bromo Mountain is one of the famous landmarks of East Java and attracts visitors from all over the world to watch the sunrise over the crater of the active volcano.
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Tenger Caldera is located in the Bromo-Tenger-Semeru National Park, in the center of East Java. Bromo is one of the peaks of the massive caldera, but it is easy to recognize because almost the entire summit has been blown away by eruptions, and clouds of white smoke continue to billow out of the crater. Inside the caldera, also called Laut Pasir (“Sea of Sand”), is a 10-square-kilometer area filled with white, fine volcanic ash. Compared to the abundance of emerald green valleys around, this vast ashy desert is eerie.
Members of the Buddhist Tenger ethnic group who inhabit the highlands of East Java gather on the fourteenth day of the month of kasada at the crater of an active volcano, throwing in annual offerings of rice, fruits, vegetables, flowers, livestock, and other local products, asking for blessings from the supreme deity Hyang Vidi Waza.
According to legend, the ceremony goes back to the time of the Majapahit kingdom during the reign of King Bravijaya. The queen gave birth to a daughter, Rara Anteng, who married a young brahmin named Jaka Seger. They fled from Majapahit to the east and founded a new kingdom. It prospered, but the king and queen were unhappy because they had no children. They decided to climb to the top of Mount Bromo and beg for help. Touched by their prayers, the gods assured them that they would have children, but demanded that the youngest child be sacrificed. When the twentieth child, Kesuma, was born, the mountain god became enraged that the king and queen were not abiding by the terms of the treaty. They were forced to throw the child into the crater of the volcano. The king then willed his family to hold a sacrifice ceremony on the slope every year.
In addition to the traditional easy ascent of Bromo, many experienced trekkers go to all lengths, namely to conquer the volcano Semeru, the highest point in Java. This task requires good physical preparation and three days, but will reward you with the unforgettable experience of a lifetime. You should take a shuttle bus from Surabaya to Malang and from there to the village of Tumpang, where you can rent a jeep and drive it to the Ranu Pani Lake, where the ascent begins. If you are short of money but have plenty of health, you can get from Tumpang to the village Gubuk Klakah on bemo and then briskly walk 12 km to Jemplang with overnight stay, and then – another 6 km to the same cherished lake. It is not a long way, but the volcanic beauty is given in horse undiluted doses. By the way, you can walk to Djemplang from Chemoro Lavang, from Bromo, in 4 hours (12 km). By the lake nestled a tiny village with an RNRA office, where you have to check in and pay 3,000 Rp to enter. To stay there are a few small guesthouses with minimal facilities and a cafe. The nights in the highlands are very cold, so a warm sweater is vital. From Ranu Pani begins the path to the crater Semeru. It is important to remember that the volcano is active and not to go off the beaten path. Usually, trekkers climb to the crater lake Ranu Kumbolo (13 km, 4 hours), then to Kalimati (3 – 3.5 hours), and then to Arcopodo (2 hours, rather steep ascent), where they have to spend the night. It is only three hours of difficult ascent to the goal, and it is better to start it at night so as not to miss the great sunrise on the “roof of Java”. On a clear day, which usually happens in the dry season from April to October, you can see the opposite coasts of the island, hundreds of kilometers apart, as well as neighboring Bali! All the tortures and difficulties will be forgotten immediately, leaving only delight and lines from Vysotsky: “Better mountains can be only mountains, which have not been to. “
There are tourists who get to the foot of Bromo directly from Bali and major cities in Java by tourist vans. Tours are purchased from hotels and travel agencies. The rest usually arrive in Surabaya and then take a bus to Probolinggo (2 hours, 20,000 Rp) or a slow economy train (5 hours, 18,000 Rp), where you can listen to amateur concerts and hunt for cockroaches. From the local Bayuangga bus station there are shuttles (2 hours, 15,000 Rp) to Chemoro Lavang. Those arriving in Probolinggo by train first take the shuttles to the bus station, and there they join their bus companions.
Those who wish to make an ascent to Semeru from the village of Tumpang usually travel from Surabaya to Malang by bus (2 hours), and then take many mikiolet buses to the desired village, where they rent a jeep, often in collaboration (about $ 30).
Bromo: Indonesia’s hungriest volcano
Indonesia is rightly considered a country of volcanoes. For Indonesians, volcanoes are both destroyers and creators. After all, many islands belonging to Indonesia owe their origin to volcanoes.
One such island, which arose as a result of numerous volcanic eruptions is Java. It is on Java is located the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, and the island is also popular because of the Bromo-Tenger-Semeru National Park. It is in this park and is the hero of today’s story – Bromo Volcano.
At first glance, Bromo does not stand out from the other volcanoes that literally occupy the island. There are more beautiful and taller volcanoes here. The top of Bromo is cut like a sharp giant blade, but the volcano itself is not too tall, as it is only 2.4 km high.
The mouth of the volcano is very wide and looks like a gigantic cauldron of bubbling liquid. Although the liquid itself is not visible, because the bottom of the vent is shrouded in a thick blanket of sulfur dioxide gas. There is such noise and rumble, as if you were at the spaceport just before the launch of a space rocket into space.
If you look down the mouth of the volcano begins to feel both curiosity and fear. Bromo is an active volcano, its last eruption was just recently, only 6 years ago. Because of the high danger of climbing the volcano is only accompanied by a guide.
The local population has a rather interesting and at the same time dangerous custom. Each year at a certain time the locals whole families climb to the top of the volcano. They throw food, money and even pets into the crater.
The local people, called Tengerami, live at the foot of the volcano. The neighboring peoples are predominantly Muslim, while the Tengers are supporters of Hinduism.
The custom mentioned earlier is actually a kind of religious festival called Upsara Kasada. Every member of this ethnic group takes part in this festival, which also arouses great interest among tourists.
On the 14th day of the festival, all the people go to the main temple where they read prayers all day long. In this way, they ask for the blessing of the gods and in the morning they go to the mouth of the volcano to participate in the process of sacrifice.
People wear the most beautiful clothes they have, and the offerings themselves try to be decorated with large compositions. To please the gods they throw into the volcanic vent not only food, but also household items and even poultry and livestock. Previously, the fate of vegetables and livestock also shared by small children. True, it was a long time ago, but today the local kids can sleep well.
It is interesting that this tradition of sacrifice arose precisely because of the children. In the 15th century, Islam was rapidly spreading on the island. Joko Seger and his wife Roro Anteng, who ruled an ancient Hindu kingdom, had to flee from an angry people.
The couple were able to take refuge in a valley of volcanoes and found the strength to establish a new kingdom in a new place. Everything was great, except that God did not give them heirs. The couple asked the gods for help, and they promised that they would have many children, but the last child would have to be sacrificed.
The king and queen agreed to the deal, and when the time came to fulfill their promise to sacrifice their last child, the couple failed to keep their promise. The angry gods, angered by the violation of the deal, caused a terrible eruption that killed many innocent people. The previously rescued prince decided to sacrifice himself, as agreed, so that his people would suffer no more.
From candy to cow.
Since that time, the locals have continued to offer different gifts to the gods each year. Everyone determines for himself what he can sacrifice to the gods. Some throw rice and sweets into the mouth of the volcano, others fruit and vegetables, and still others consider it their duty to sacrifice a lamb or a goat to the volcano.
There are others who pull a cow on a rope. The cow meekly goes to meet an unenviable fate not resisting, because the day before she was given to drink a special potion.
Having climbed to the top of the volcano, people evenly disperse to the edges of its crater. After a short prayer, bananas, candy, chickens, cows and other objects of sacrifice begin to fly down. Then, with a sense of accomplishment, people begin to go down.
Among all the people who have come to make sacrifices to the gods, the so-called catchers stand out in particular. Their task at this event is the opposite – to prevent the food from falling into the voracious mouth of the volcano.
The trappers cover their faces with rags and hang a peculiar apron around their necks, which they use to catch food flying from a height. Most of these people are poor Muslims. So why doesn’t anyone chase them away?
The thing is that as soon as the object of sacrifice is taken out of hands, it becomes the property of gods, and its further fate is not interesting for Tenger at all. If the sacrifice fell into the hands of a poor Muslim, it was by the will of the gods.
By catching the gifts, poor Muslims risk their lives. The surface of the crater is very slippery and there is a risk of becoming a victim themselves. The trappers don’t need chickens and lambs at all. They spread out their apron or blanket and masterfully catch the coins.
The Upsara Kasada festival itself is quite a long event, lasting an entire month, but only 7 days are set aside for the sacrifice. Soon the passion around the volcano subsides, and it becomes a menacing grumbling old man again.
When you stand on top of it and stare into its insatiable mouth, it is hard to guess how many victims it has managed to digest during its life. And how many more of these victims there will be!