The Mystery of Blue Lava and the Kawah Ijen Volcano

Volcanoes are the center of folklore and myth wherever they exist. These fiery mountains prone to unexpectedly erupting in cascades of lava and ash have inspired and frightened humans for centuries. However, there is one volcano that has a reputation that surpasses all others, Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen volcano, otherwise known as the blue volcano.

The active Kawah Ijen Volcano is part of a complex of volcanoes in Banywang Regency, Java. This popular complex is situated within Ijen crater with stratovolcano Gunung Merapi as the highest point. It is one of the world’s most unusual volcanoes because instead of producing the usual red lava and black smoke, its underground activities result in bright blue flames rising into the air. Some people even call it electric blue fire. Since it was mentioned on TV (National Geographic to be precise) the number of tourists who travel to East Java and Indonesia has significantly increased.

The phenomenon is caused when the volcano’s sulfuric gases come into contact with air temperature above 360°C. The Ijen volcano complex has some of the highest levels of sulfur in the world. This dense collection of the gas, when exposed to oxygen and lit by the molten hot lava burns blue. Unlike regular volcanoes whose bright red lava is visible in the day, Kawah Ijen’s blue burning flames can only be seen at night. “The vision of these flames at night is strange and extraordinary,” Photographer Olivier Grunewald says. “After several nights in the crater, we felt really living on another planet.”

Here you can also find the largest acid lake in the world which is conveniently situated within the crater. While the turquoise water of this crater lake is quite spectacular, it can also threaten your life.

Sulfur Mining at Kawah Ijen

The Ijen volcano complex holds another, darker secret. It is home to one of the world’s most dangerous sulfur mining operations in the world.

The Mystery of Blue Lava and the Kawah Ijen Volcano

Miners extract the sulfur rock, which is formed after the blue flames extinguish leaving behind a solid sulfur-rich rock. They then carry these large loads in baskets down the side of the mountain to be paid per kilogram. The work is unregulated and small children can often be seen scrambling up and down the slopes hoping to support their families low incomes with additional money. They usually take two daily trips. Each local worker is paid about 680 Indonesian rupiahs per kilogram, the equivalent of about six USD cents.


The Legend Story Of Bromo

The most popular and well known of East Java’s tourist attractions is undoubtedly Mt Bromo. The pre-dawn departure and trek across the mountain’s famous ‘sand sea’, to watch the sunrise at the crater rim, has become something of a ritual, enacted daily by people of every nationality.

Bromo is actually just one crater in the vast, 800 km2 Tengger massif, which forms the largest of East Java’s five main volcanic ranges. Although by no means the highest mountain in the region (2392m), it has gained its reputation partly because of its unique location and partly through the reverence shown to it by the local inhabitants.

A legend connected with Mt Bromo tells of the origin of the Tenggerese people. According to the story, it was during the closing years of the 15th century, when the East Javanese empire of Majapahit was in decline, that a princess of the kingdom, named Roro Anteng, and her husband Joko Seger, retreated to the Bromo region and established a separate principality, which they named Tengger, a combination of the last syllables of each of their names. The region, it is said, developed and prospered, yet no descendants were born to the ruling couple.

In despair, Roro Anteng and Joko Seger climbed to the top of Mt Bromo and prayed to the gods, asking for their help. The gods consented to the request on the condition that the last child born be sacrificed in the crater of the mountain. This agreed, the royal couple returned home happily and it wasn’t long before the princess gave birth to their first child. In fact, the gods turned out to be more than generous and in the following years 24 more children were born. However, when the princess learned that the twenty fifth children, named Kesuma, was to be the last and thus the one to be sacrificed, she could not bring herself to fulfill her part of the bargain. In anger, the gods threatened fire and brimstone from the smoking volcano and eventually there was no alternative but to throw the child into the crater.

Shortly after the sacrifice had been made, the child’s voice was heard, ordering the Tengger people and their descendants to perform an annual ceremony at Mt Bromo, to commemorate the event and to appease the anger of the gods.

To this day, the Kasodo ceremony, held on the 14th day of the Tenggerese month of Kasodo (December), is the biggest event of the year for the people of Mt Bromo. Ritual prayers and traditional performances are held at the village of Ngadisari, after which crowds gather on the sand sea surrounding the mountain for the climax of the ceremony at midnight, when livestock and agricultural produce are flung into the crater. Now a days, as an additional attraction arranged to coincide with the Kasodo ceremony, bull races are organized at the village of Muneng Probolinggo.

The Tengger Range is one of eight official nature reserves in East Java and centres around the peaks of Mts. Bromo and Semeru. Most of the area is more than 2000 metres above sea level, Mt Semeru itself being Java’s highest mountain at 3,676m.

There are several ways to get to the Bromo and Semeru Reserve. The well-worn route is from the north coastal town of Probolinggo, 60 km away. A reasonably good road winds its way south and up into the hills via Sukapura, ending at Ngadisari, one of the largest of the 38 traditional Tenggerese villages. For those wishing specifically to visit Mt Bromo, this is the best route, since there is accommodation at Ngadisari, as well as at Cemara Lawang on the edge of the sea sand above the village. The most comfortable place to stay is at the brand new Hotel Grand Bromo at Sukapura, which was officially opened early in 1990. Thoughtfully designed to blend in with the contours of the landscape, the hotel offers pleasantly furnished rooms and a very efficient hot water system. Organized tours are available from here to Mt Bromo and other places of interest nearby.

An alternative route, from the northwest, leads from Pasuruan on the coast through Wonokitri and Tosari, to the summit of Mt Penanjakan on the edge of the sea sand. This is rapidly becoming the favoured spot to welcome the dawn, since it is the highest point in the vicinity and offers a spectacular view of Mt Semeru and the entire Bromo caldera. As yet, however, there is only limited simple accommodation at Tosari.

Kasada Ceremony

Kasada Ceremony

This ‘Yadnya Kasada Ceremony’ this Ceremony is very unique and it is celebrate every time the condition of the moon is full (the date is 24-25 Kasodo month or the tweve month according to the calender of the Tengger’sebelah society).

From the cultural side, the most dominant in this TN-BTS’s area is the cultural of the Tengger society . the Tengger’s people traditionally still defend their way of life which its cultural is come from their acient and the ting that make a lot a people interested in this culture is its unique culture.. Kasada ceremony is the aniversary day for the Tengger’s society and in that time the Tennger’s society celebrate it by giving a holiday to all the people who live in Tengger and celebrating it by establising entertaiment such as : Tandak, Jaranan, etc.. in this ceremoni the ‘Dukun’ have the most important role in leading directly the ceremoni although sometimes they also lead stone other ceremonu such as : religius ceremoni, wedding ceremony , ‘khitan’. Giving medicine,etc. they holy the widodaren cave which is located near the bromo mountain and they use it to ‘semedi’ and taking the holi water for the ceremoni. And the pray is done in the temple which is called “sanggar Pamujan” .

T the kasada day celebrated by Tengger’sebelah society which is live around the Tengger mountain , and the people bring hlaf oftheir cattle and their havest, and the thrown it away to the crater Bromo Monutain and this ceremoni is made to show their thanks to the one who create and gives lives.

The activities of this Ceremoni is centered in the ‘poten’ that is a temple which is located in the “laut pasir” and its function is a place where people can gather whit the ‘Dukun’ . from all of all the Tengger’sebelah area, besides that this place is also used as a place to test and install the cadidate of the new’dukun’. The tempereture in tjis place is very cold but is does not not stop them to the ceremony and the people who com to see the ceremony is also never give up whit this cold condition and the will watch it until it is over.

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