A piece of heaven on earth
Diyah Hayu Rahmitasari
The Jakarta Post
People say there is no heaven on earth, but in Java there is definitely a piece of it.
Nglanggeran, a volcano in the southeastern part of Yogyakarta, certainly seems like heaven, offering exceptional scenery 700 meters above sea level.
Nglanggeran is a primeval volcano located in Gunungkidul. The region is known for its karstic mountains and beautiful beaches, and Nglanggeran is in the Patuk area, around 25 kilometers from Yogyakarta.
The site remained relatively unknown until recently, with more and more tourists now opting for a visit. Although Nglanggeran has not been active for 60 million years, the area still offers amazing sites including a cave, springs and views that do not disappoint.
From the peak, rice fields, scattered giant stones and lakes can be seen.
The main attraction in the area is trekking, with the trail divided into three main stops. Each stop is marked by a small pendopo. Since the main trail is linear and does not form a circle back to the starting point, the way to and from the peak is the same.
It normally requires around 30 minutes to the first stop and up to 2.5 hours to the top, including time for photos.
The trail starts at Pendopo Kali Song, a Javanese hut with giant stones coloring the background.
The entry fee to Nglanggeran is Rp 5,000 (50 US cents) in the day and Rp 7,000 at night (insurance included). Guide services are available but you are free to explore at your own pace.
Near the beginning of the trail there are also some interesting sites like the Kalisong Spring and a rock climbing spot.
From Pendopo Kali Song there are stairs that lead to Song Gudhel, a cave that is believed to be the site where a tiger ate a calf (gudhel) years ago. After that there is a climb to get to Lorong Sumpitan, a hedge between two giant stones 30 meters in length.
After passing Lorong Sumpitan, you will soon arrive at the first stop, a vista of Gunung Bagong. Merbabu and Merapi may also be visible weather permitting.
Many visitors end their trek here as the route gets increasingly more difficult. But at the peak amazing views await.
On the way to the top after the second stop is the Comberan Spring, a sacred spring believed to be an everlasting source of water that has healing powers. Some claim the place has a mystical aura and for that reason the site is often used as a place for meditation or rituals.
The third and last stop is the top, termed Gunung Gede (Giant Mountain). From here you can see the crater of the Nglanggeran primeval volcano and striking views of Yogyakarta, the Gunungkidul region and its surroundings. The view from here is unobstructed and is great at sunrise or sunset.
Some locals may even be foraging for grass for their cattle, standing on the many rocks that slope at a 45-degree angle.
After the hike is over there are a few food stalls about 20 meters from Pendopo Kali Song selling bakso, soto ayam and various rice dishes.
In addition to trekking, Nglanggeran also has camping and outbound areas. Caving, a flying fox and rock climbing are also available.
Nglanggeran is one of the few primeval volcanoes in Indonesia, offering exceptional views beyond compare. Standing at the top one cannot help but to be in a good mood, for it really does feel like heaven up there.
' Photos by Zaki Habibi
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