Posts Tagged ‘Java


Pura Luhur Poten – a Hindu temple at the Bromo caldera

On the Segara Wedi sand plain sits a Hindu temple called Pura Luhur Poten. From the edge of the Bromo peak, you can see more or less in the middle of the Bromo caldera, this temple. This view gives you a good sense of how large the site is.

Pura Luhur Poten holds a significant importance to the Tanggerese tribe who scatter across the mountainous villages. As the decline of Majapahit Kingdom dawned upon these people, they emphatically moved to the outskirts of the volcanoes, which inaccessibility was their greatest asset to fend off any foreign intrusions, especially by the Muslims and Christians. Until today, the Tanggereses are isolated from the rest of the world. While the majority of Javanese profess the religion of Islam, this unique tribe still retains their beliefs from the ancient days of Majapahit. In fact, the name Tangger (used by the tribe as well as the massive caldera) was originated from Roro Anteng, the daughter of Majapahit’s King Brawijaya, and Joko Seger, a Brahmin caste, who got married and eventually established Purbawisesa Tangger region under their ruling.

The Tanggereses actually subscribe to the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, but added to that are the elements of Hinduism and Animism. Nonetheless, it is OK to refer them as Hindus because the smorgasbord of religious influences is really not worth the time to think it through. In fact, in Pura Luhur Poten, the Tanggereses worship Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa (or the Big Almighty Lord), along with the Trimurti gods (Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu).

This pura plays host to the annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony. The event lasts for about 1 month, which, on the 14th day, the Tanggereses will congregate at Pura Luhur Poten to ask for blessings from the God of Mahameru (Mt Semeru). Then the mass will proceed along the crater edges of Mt Bromo where offerings of rice, fruit, vegetables, flowers, livestock and other local produce will be thrown into the deep gully.

The major difference between this temple with the Balinese ones are the type of stones and paints used. Pura Luhur Poten uses natural black stones from the many volcanoes nearby, while Balinese temples mostly have orange paints at various sections. Inside this pura, there are several buildings and enclosures aligned in Mandala composition.


The secret of Java – Mount Bromo an active volcano

Mount Bromo volcano (Gunnung Bromo in Indonesian) in East Java is the active cone inside the giant Tengger caldera, one of Indonesia’s most scenic locations destination in East Java, famous for its magnificient sunrise views and the panorama over the caldera with Semeru volcano in the background.

The Mount Bromo is a still active volcano and its peak culminates at 2.392 meters. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive Tengger volcanic complex dates back to about 820.000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes and pyroclastic cones occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150.000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep Valley. The youngest of these volcanoes is Bromo, one of Java’s most active and most frequently visited volcanoes. Mount Bromo attracts both tourists, and Tanggereses (local Indonesians living in the region).


The sunrise on the Bromo, between five and six o’clock, when the temperature is between 0 and 5°C is a must for tourists. As you reach the top of the crater there is a constant stream of volcanic gas and ash pushed up into the atmosphere and if the wind changes take a deep breath and move out of the way. At the top you can make an offer by buying flowers, make your wish and throw them into the volcano. Believe it or not some wishes do come true.


Unsurprisingly, this fine supernatural landscape has spawned countless myths and it is said that the Tengger crater was originally dug out with just half a coconut shell by an ogre smitten with love for a princess. But Bromo is of particular religious significance to the Hindu Tengger people, who first fled here to escape the wave of Islam that book over the Majapahit Empire in the 16th century. They still populate the massif. The Tengger believe that Bromo once fell within the realm of the child less King Joko Seger and Queen Roro Anteng, who asked the God of the volcano for assistance in producing an heir. The god obliged, giving them 25 children, but demanded Dian Kusuma, was sacrificed to the flames in return. When the queen later refused to fulfil her promise, the young Dian bravely sacrificed himself to save the Kingdom from retribution. Bromo is a place where a natural beauty meets culture and history.


Borobodur: Pyramid of the cosmic Buddha

Borobudur, a Buddhist stupa in the Mahayana tradition, is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Located  on the Indonesian island of Java, 40 km (25mi) northwest of Yogyakarta, Borobudur was built around 750 AD. The magnificent temple is a three-dimensional mandala (diagram of the universe) and a visual representation of Buddhist teachings.


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