Bojonegoro Local Customs
Smoking is an addiction of most male Indonesians, and cigarette production is big business. All that tobacco is grown domestically; the sight of shredded tobacco leaves laid out to dry in the sun is common.
On our way to Kayangan Api the question occurred to us: how do they shred the leaves? Somehow we had a vision of farmers at work with big knives. Then we just put the question to the owner of a house we passed by, where we saw tobacco laid out in the sun.
No, no knives. This man had an electrically driven machine with a rotating knife: “I built it myself!” And we were presented with a demonstration. The operator pushes a thick bunch of leaves through a short piece of pvc pipe, at the end of which the rotating knife cuts off slices. Another person picks up the shreds and neatly lays them out on a mesh of bamboo for drying in he sun. See the short video.
Directions: You could encounter the scene anywhere on Java. We saw it at Prajekan hamlet, Jelu village, Ngasem district - on the road between Kalitidu and Ngasem.Related to:
Bojonegoro Off The Beaten Path
You might not expect it, but most of Java has a pronounced dry season. In order to save water for irrigation and hydropower, many huge reservoirs have been built since Suharto became president. For instance Wonorejo Barrier near Tulungagung.
But already in colonial times the Dutch government had dams and reservoirs built on a smaller scale. Waduk Pacal is one of these. No one can miss that it was built in 1933, the year shown prominently on the control tower. Whether you come from Bojonegoro or from Nganjuk, the trip leads through hills planted with teak.
We arrived by the end of the dry season, and only a small pool of water was left in the reservoir. People were fetching sand at the bottom. We walked over the dam and up the hill on the other side for the view.
Rain may fill the reservoir up to a depth of 25 m and a 4 square km area. Then it may be feasible to hire a boat to paddle around the lake or go fishing; the regency website says only Rp 20,000 for a round trip.
Admission: Rp 3,000 (2012)
Address: Kedungsumber village, Temayang district.
Directions: With public transport get on a bus plying the route Bojonegoro-Nganjuk v.v. from either town. Get off the bus at the turnoff to Pacal dam, which is about half way, 35 km south of Bojonegoro. From the turnoff it is a 2 km walk. With own wheel you can drive up to the dam.Related to:
- Road Trip
We had expected something similar as at Mrapen, which was hardly impressive. But no, at Kayangan Api a really hot natural gas fire has been burning at least since the Majapahit era (1294-1429). Or so they say, we forgot to ask whether a tropical rain might not extinguish the fire; seeing the dryness of the limestone hills, the thought of rain was far from our mind.
No wonder that the Javanese have considered this exceptional natural phenomenon as sacred, and still do so. It is believed that the famous Majapahit keris maker and blacksmith Mbah Kriyo Kusumo (also known as Mbah Pandhe) learned his trade by meditating at Kayangan Api. Until the present day people come on the Javanese day Jumat Pahing (i.e. once in 35 days) to pray for success in business or love.
The fire may be used to ignite a torch only through appropriate ceremonies, accompaned by Mbah Pandhe's favourite music. Among these ceremonies is the modern celebration of the anniversary of Bojonegoro regency.
At the right when facing the fire pit, a walkway leads to a bubbling mud source with a faint sulphur scent. Behind the mud source is a curious “Saimese twin tree” forming an arch. Here also are some foodstalls for a drink or snack, and a pavilion where we sat and consumed the fruit we had brought ourselves.
Admission: Rp 3,000 p.p., car parking Rp 5,000 (Sept. 2012).
Address: Sendangharjo village, Ngasem district, Bojonegoro regency.
Directions: Ngasem village is about 25 km southwest of Bojonegoro town. The entrance gate to Kayangan Api lies on the main road east from Ngasem to Dander, at 4 km from Ngasem centre. from he gate it is another 1.3 km to the site.Related to:
0 Hotels in Bojonegoro