Friday, September 23, 2011

Mount Bromo and its legend


Mount Bromo is a well known tourist destination in Indonesia. For those who wants to know about mount Bromo, read on. This is an active volcano with stunning view in east Java, Indonesia.

Mount Bromo is located in east Java, Indonesia. It is not far from Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia and the capital city of the province of east Java. It is easily accessible from Surabaya and Malang. Tourists can stay in good hotels in Surabaya and Malang, or in many small hotels in surrounding areas like Sukapura, Pasuruan or Probolinggo. It takes about three hours by car from Surabaya to the peak of Mount Bromo. From Surabaya visitors can enjoy good streets to the town of Probolinggo. But as we turn right just before entering Probolinggo, we will pass narrow street. Therefore it is best to go there by minibus or car or jeep. Big bus must stop at Sukapura, where we can find good hotel and restaurant, and then we change with smaller vehicle.

As we enter the small roads, we will climb the mountain. The roads become winding and ascending. The view is different from the city. At first we will pass dry villages. But as we climb higher, the environment will be greener. From Sukapura, we will see valleys and mountains. The weather is often cloudy. At the day time we can see farmers cultivate potatoes and vegetables in valleys and hills. Finally we will get to Cemoro Lawang, the last village which is located in the rim of the Tengger caldera.

Our vehicles stop in Cemoro Lawang, right in the rim of the Tengger caldera. The distance between Cemoro Lawang and the crater is only about three kilometers but the terrain is hard. So from here we will cross the caldera by horse. You may try to walk if you have excellent physical condition.

The view is really stunning. In the summit of mount Bromo there is a caldera, a sea of sand. Inside it there are two peaks - mount Bromo and mount Batok. Mount Bromo is an active crater. Although it is not as dangerous as Merapi, it erupts from time to time.

The best time to visit mount Bromo is very early in the morning so you can enjoy sunrise from its summit. So if you stay in Surabaya you'd better start at 2 PM. Then you will get to Cemoro Lawang at about 5PM. Then at about 6 PM you will get to the peak. If you stay in Sukapura then you can start at 4. PM. And if you stay in Cemoro Lawang you can start at 5 PM. But some people prefer to visit it at the day time because it is easier for them.

The weather in mount Bromo is very cold, so don't forget to bring sweater and jacket. The coldest place is inside the caldera. When we start from Cemoro Lawang we will descend to the caldera. There is the coldest place. I was told that the lowest temperature is about 4 degree Celsius. For me it is very hard since I am used to the heat.

We can easily find any horses there in Cemoro Lawang. The local people known as the Tengger provide many small horses. They will guide us from Cemoro Lawang to the crater and then back to Cemoro Lawang. They will hold the horse. And when we are on top of mount Bromo they will guard the horses.

The local people are called the Tengger. Actually they belong to the Javanese ethnic group but they have their unique identity which makes them slightly different from the rest of the Javanese. They speak an archaic dialect of Javanese language. The main difference is in the pronunciation. Perhaps it is a result of a long isolation. For hundreds of years they have been isolated from other Javanese since the fall of Majapahit Empire in 13th century. Their religion is also different. They worship Hindu gods, guardian of certain places and their ancestors.
There is a legend behind the name Tengger. Some people said that it derived from the name of their ancestor -Roro Anteng and Joko Seger. The end of their name was taken and became Tengger. This legend is handed down for hundreds of years from generation to generation so sometimes the details vary but the main points remain the same. Here is the story in brief.

Long long time ago there lived a couple in the village near the top of mount Bromo. Joko Seger is his name. He lived peacefully with his wife Roro Anteng. But they were not happy because after some time they did not have any children. Then Joko Seger meditated in mount Bromo asking for god to give them children.
Some times later Joko Seger had a dream. In his dream he was told that he would have descendants but on one condition. The god asked him to sacrifice his children to the crater of mount Bromo. If he refused to sacrifice, then the god will be angry. Without thinking twice Joko Seger agreed to the condition.
After that every year Roro Anteng gave birth to twenty five children. They were very happy and they loved their children so much that they were reluctant to sacrifice them to the crater. They did not give anything to the crater. Then something happened.

One day there was a big eruption of mount Bromo. Smoke, fire, hot cloud of ash came out of its crater. The earth was trembling. The sky was dark. Animals ran away from the mountain. People were very scared since some of them became victims of the hot cloud.

Joko Seger and Roro Anteng remembered their promise to god. He realized that god was very angry. So he decided to sacrifice one of his sons. Then he went to the crater with his youngest son Kusuma and threw him to the crater. Since then on Joko Seger and Roro Anteng gave offerings to the crater. Every year on the 14th day of the month of Kesada the people of Tengger held a ceremony to give offerings.


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