Lombok's Sacred Volcano

Posted on 2014-02-26 06:56:43


Located on the north of the island, Mt Rinjani soars 3726m above sea level and is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, annually attracting thousands of trekkers and climbers to Lombok.

The volcano is a world-class tourism destination and has been nominated for a number of international award, as well as being submitted  to UNESCO for World Geo park status.

In 2004 , Rinjani won the World Legacy Award  from the conservation international and Traveler. And in 2005 and 2008 was a finalist for tourism for Tomorrow Awards from the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC).

Particularly from July to September (during the European summer holidays and Lombok’s High Season), Visitors from around the world come to Lombok for climb up Gunung Rinjani, either to its awe-inspiring crater lake, or to the demanding summit with its panoramic views across the waters to  Gunung Agung (Bali’s famous sister volcano)

The two volcanoes create a visual connection for people living on Lombok, and historically and culturally , Rinjani has an important significance to Lombok’s native Sasak and Balinese, being considered a “home of the God”

Pilgrimages are often made to the mountain , and many people visit the mountain to pray and bath in the pools and hot springs which are believed to have healing powers.

Each year, around the full moon in October or November, a sacred pilgrimage called “Mulang Pekelem” takes place, when gold, silver and other gifts are thrown into the lake near the summit as offerings to the gods.

A Hindu ceremony said to date from the 18th century, during Pekelem pilgrims make offering and pray for the safety and prosperity of the island and its people.

The huge caldera near the top of the volcano is around 4 KM wide and it almost filled by a beautiful lake , Danau Segara Anak (Child of the Sea Lake).

The lake is around 230m deep and contains plentiful fishes, as well as being home to birds and other wildlife.

A smaller volcanic cone Gunung Baru Jari was formed a couple of hundred years ago, and just from the crater’s interior at the edge of the lake.

It’ been estimated  that the force needed to create the new cone and the lake would have been equal to around 300 Hiroshima type atomic bombs.

In early 2009 and again in 2010, Baru Jari come to life and for several months was spewing hot rocks and volcanic ash into the air. Being within the original caldera, it posed no serious risk to the rest of the island.

The lake, which surrounds the smaller cone, and the summit of the volcano were closed to trekking, although those who still climbed to the shoulders of the mountain were afforded awesome views of a small volcano in action.

  • At present, the activity has settled down and the volcano is open for trekking.
  • The lava flows from the eruptions have formed the base of the Baru Jari cone and changed the shape of the lake.
  • There are a number of caves, small waterfalls and hot springs located around the volcano. The most importantly are Aik Kalak on the northeast of the crater, where the volcanically heated the waters are said to cure illnesses, particularly skin diseases.
  • SENARU is the usual starting point for climbing Gunung Rinjani.
  • Other options for a slightly shorter route to the summit are SEMBALUN LAWANG and SEMBALUN BUMBUG to the northeast. Both are rustic mountain villages, with basic home stays available and experienced tour centers that can organised your  trek.

The Rinjani trek in Senaru originally funded by the New Zealand government, has set up a series of the programs that involve the local communities and guides for climbing the volcano and for trekking in the National Park, ensuring better management and safety for trekkers

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