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Jakarta Post

‘Embun upas’: Expected by visitors, feared by farmers

Wed, October 24, 2018   /   11:57 am
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    The golden sunrise is seen from the Dieng village viewing post. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    The silver sunrise seen from Arjuna temple in Dieng. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    Plants die because of the embun upas (lethal dew). JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    A Thin layer of ice is still visible at the Dieng temple complex. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    Ice decorates the grassy areas of the Dieng temple complex with Mount Sindoro in the background. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    Visitors stick close together as they stroll through the Arjuna temple complex in the morning. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

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    A children runs around at the Arjuna temple complex while enjoying the cold weather. JP/Tarko Sudiarno

Tarko Sudiarno

Every July and August, temperatures at the Dieng Plateau in Wonosobo regency, Central Java, drastically drop – sometimes reaching below zero. Thin snow is visible and creates a beautiful scene. However, thin ice also kills plants.

A lot of visitors – both domestic and overseas – are waiting for the appearance of this thin ice as it beautifies the oldest Hindu temple complex in Java, located 2,000 meters above sea level.

Visitors eagerly wait to witness the double sunrise phenomenon. The first one is the golden sunrise that can be enjoyed from the Si Kunir Hill or Mount Prau for 15 minutes before the appearance of the silver sunrise from the Arjuna temple complex.

However, despite the natural beauty of thin ice on the Dieng Plateau, it also threatens farmers. Locals call the thin ice embun upas, which literally means lethal dew.

In early July, potato farmers suffered millions of rupiah in financial losses because of the lethal dew when the temperature dropped to -5 degrees.

The Dieng Plateau has been famous as the largest potato producer in Java.

“Every time there is thick fog and chill weather in the afternoon, we always fear if embun upas would come at dawn. This is a natural phenomenon that we could not avoid,” said farmer Budi. [yan]