By Saerah Dewi
The Indonesian archipelago is studded with all sorts of amazing places to visit. One of my favourites is the epic Mount Bromo (Gunung Bromo in bahasa Indonesia) an active volcano and popular tourist attraction in East Java, part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Isn’t it funny how we somehow find ourselves attracted to giant mountains that may erupt at any given moment?
Mount Bromo stands at 2,329 metres (7,641 ft) tall, in the middle of a huge plain called the ‘Sea of Sand’ (bahasa Indonesia Lautan Pasir), a quite literal name for a
stretch of dusty land also home to the picturesque mountains but an ancient Hindu temple, a short walk from the entrance of the volcano and about a 45 minute walk from the closest town to the
area, Cemoro Lawang. You can park there, and actually hire a jeep to take us to the temple. Also possible is a longer Jeep tour, which will take you to the viewpoint on Mount
The steps to see inside the volcano are quite steep, but there are plenty of men galloping around on horses and ponies who are willing to give you a ride. The only problem is, with the sandy ground and the amount of foot and hoof traffic is quite dense, so if you visit don’t forget a mask or a piece of cloth to cover your mouth and nose. On the ride to Cemoro Lawang it gets quite cold, too, so I’d definitely recommend a jacket too. Oh- and hold on to the railing, yeah?
The history of Mt Bromo is quite deeply rooted the Hindu religion, down to the very name- the name of Bromo derived from the Javanase (Java being an island of Indonesia) pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The temple, Pura Luhur Poten,organizes the Yadnya Kasada ceremony, an upaca agama (religious event) involving sacrifices to the gods, to appease the ever temperamental ancient deities and bless the region with good luck. At the event the Tenggerese people of East Java will travel up the stairs of the mountain to make the offerings of fruit, veggies and flowers amongst other things but, legend is, the origins of this occasion in the 15th century was a baron couple who promised to sacrifice their 25th child in exchange for the first 24! But, moving on from human sacrifices…