Unique Sempu Island
On our last East Java trip we made a day trip to Pulau Sempu, which lies south of Malang just 800 m offshore from Sendang Biru beach. The small island (3.9 x 3.6 km) is a unique nature reserve, having two lakes, Telaga Lele with fresh water and Segara Anakan with salt water. We spent some time at the salt water lake, where the surf regularly intrudes through a breach in the limestone cliffs.
Getting to the lake involves a guided walk of two hours through the forest. The track was slippery and full of tree roots and rocks. The guide led us past two more beaches and down a steep cliff by a bamboo ladder to Segara Anakan lake; on the way back we took a different trail. We met other visitors on the way and at the lake, both foreign and domestic, but it was not crowded. Several had set up camp for a night. Of the 'promised' wildlife (12 species of mammals, 36 species of fowls, and 3 species of reptiles) we only saw the common Java macaque and some birds.
For the day trip we set out with our own car from Malang at daybreak. If you come by public transport, better prepare for camping on the lake's beach or stay over at the only accomodation at Sendang Biru beach.
Address: Sendang Biru beach, Tambakrejo village, Sumbermanjing Wetan district, Malang regency.
A taxi for the 70 km from Malang to Sendang Biru beach may well cost close to Rp 500,000. On the internet we found that one can take a minibus (Isuzu Elf) from Gadang bus terminal to Pasar Turen, where smaller Suzuki buses leave for Sendang Biru, NOT LATER THAN 1pm!
Once at Sendang Biru you have to register for a small fee at the office of the BKSDA (Badan Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam = Natural Resources Conservation Agency). There you will also get a guide, whose rate depends on the time you will spend and the itinerary you take; we paid a couple of hundred rupiah (forgot the exact amount). The guide took care of chartering a boat (Rp 100,000) to the island and calling it up again later in the day for our return.
Accommodation at Sendang Biru
Also from the internet: The only accommodation at Sendang Biru beach is the Wisma Wisata Keluarga Sendang Biru run by the Forestry Department of Malang Regency. They have just four rooms, so better make a reservation, phone (0341) 872 083. Rates (2011): Rp 100,000 - Rp 150,000. Count on a local level of comfort.
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
The back door to Bromo
It is a long drive from Malang to Bromo, but very scenic. We call this 'the back door to Bromo' because one approaches Bromo from the south, the saddle between Tengger caldera and Semeru volcano. This is also a preferred route for those who want to climb to the top of Semeru volcano, with Ranupani village in the saddle as base.
We made the trip to Ranupani in April, end of the rainy season, when Semeru volcano was still closed to hikers.
Once we passed Tumpang village (at 22 km) the road climbed steadily, through apple plantations, until we reached Gubukklakah (34 km). Beyond Gubukklakah we drove through forest, along a narrow road surfaced with concrete blocks in good condition. A short distance after Gubukklakah one can walk to the waterfall Coban Pelangi, which we did on another day.
At 40 km from Malang we entered Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, and after another 5 km we passed through Ngadas village in the clouds. Soon the road reached the rim of Tengger caldera. With less clouds the view should have been better, but still it felt like driving through the sky. This part of the road was in urgent need of repair, only just passable with our Isuzu Panther.
At 48 km one has to choose. Left the road dives into the caldera and in a wide curve through the 'savana' around Mount Kursi it joins the track to Bromo from Ngadisari. We wanted to see Ranu Pani lake, so we kept going along the rim for a km more before the road descended to the saddle between Bromo and Semeru. It was altogether 55 km to the lake (counted from Tugu Circle). Villagers told us that the road from Malang connects via Senduro to Lumajang.
If you want to do this route without own transport, you might:
(1) take a minibus from Malang to Tumpang and another one to Gubukklakah. Then walk the remaining distance, 26 km to Bromo (count on 6 hours at least), 21 km to Ranu Pani.
(2) contact mr. Andre at Poncokusumo for a 4W-drive tour to Bromo and/or Ranupani. See next tip: Agrotourism Poncokusumo.
(3) order a 4W-drive Bromo and/or Ranupani tour at your hotel.
Price (January 2011):
The price for a Malang-Ranupani-Bromo-Cemorolawang trip seems to be fixed. Both Hotel Helios in Malang and Mr Andre ask Rp 900,000 per 4WD. Only if you come on your own to Poncokusumo and take the trip from there, Mr Andre charges Rp 800,000.
If you are interested in climbing Semeru (or another volcano in Indonesia), join the Java Lava club and browse their calender:
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
If you are visit Malang, Jatim Park II is worth a visit, you would find a Wildlife Museum or it was well known as Museum Satwa....The museum was been built with the unique architecture , you would see a dinosaur’s fossils with its real size and also to see all kind of fossils.
- Mountain Climbing
Sendangbiru beach is the most popular south of Malang among local tourists. It is not a beach for swimming. The coast being sheltered from the surf by an island, Pulau Sempu, it is here that fishing boats come ashore. At walking distance you can visit a fish market.
Actually the main attraction is the island. Pulau Sempu is a nature reserve of a few square km with a fresh water lake and a salt water lake surrounded by forest. Chartering a boat to the island costs Rp 100,000 and boating all around the island Rp 400,000 (April 2010 prices).
Sendangbiru beach will be crowded on weekends and especially on public holidays. On those days you may prefer to go to nearby Tambak beach, Bajul Mati beach or Goa Cina beach (OTBP tips).
Directions: Being a popular destination, Sendangbiru beach is well indicated. From Malang go south through Turen and Sumbermanjing Wetan and follow the signs. The distance from Malang is 70 km or a 2 hour drive. The road winds its way through the limestone hills that hug the coast.
Javanese kings were thought to become gods when they died. Candi Jago is a monument to the deification of king Wishnuwarddhana (1249-1268 AD) of the Singasari kingdom (1222-1992 ). Scholars are pretty certain of this, because it is chronicled in the Negarakrtagama that king Hayam Wuruk (1350-1389) of the Majapahit kingdom (1294-1478) paid his respects to his predecessor at Candi Jayaghu. The chronicle also states that Wishnuwarddhana became Amoghapasa - the highest god in Tantric Buddhism. A statue of this eight-armed god, which originally may have stood inside the temple, now has been put upright at the side of it, together with three kala heads, which used to look down on devotees from over the entrances.
Majapahit was founded by Wijaya, son of the last king of Singasari, after an intervention by the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan in the Javanese power struggles. This explains not only the interest of the rulers of Majapahit in the temple, but also that the style of the building and the reliefs in its present state belong to the last years of the Majapahit era. It is certain that the temple was renovated in 1350 AD and later years.
The building consists of three terraces on top of which rested the main temple body. The name of the village where Candi Jago is located, Tumpang, refers to this design: in old Javanese “Tumpang” means “layered, tiered”. The temple opening faces North-west (towards the region of the dead). The two lower terraces extend far to the West, from where two staircases on the North and South end lead up to the next level.
Even after the modern restoration from 1976 to 1980 not much of the temple body remains. The interest of Candi Jago for modern visitors lies in the reliefs on the base. These reliefs are of both Buddhist and Hindu nature; religious beliefs at the time being a mixture of both.
The reliefs on the sides of the lower terrace have been identified as Buddhist stories:
The tale Kunjarakarna. The hero, Kunjarakarna, visits the underworld where he sees how deceased sinners are being tortured. Through his earnest search for enlightenment he succeeds in shortening the period of punishment of his friend Purnawijaya from 100,000 years to just nine days. And even these are waived by benevolent god Wairocana.
Several Tantric stories.
On the middle terrace are the following Hindu tales:
Arjunawiwaha, or The Marriage of Arjuna. This is a Javanese addition to the Hindu epos Mahabharata, written by Empu Kanwa in the 11th century in Kediri kingdom. The marriage - with seven heavenly maidens - takes place at the very end, after Arjuna has assisted god Indra killing the evil king Niwata Kawaca.
Parthayajna, another tale of he hero Arjuna, in which he seeks to strengthen himself spiritually for the goal of recovering his kingdom.
And another Hindu story is found on the upper terrace:
Kresnayana, relating the marriage of king Wishnuwardhana with Nararya Waning Hyun, which in symbolizes the marrige of the gods Wishnu and Sri.
The stories Partayajna and Kunjarakarna were written by Mpu Tanakung, who lived by the end of the Majapahit era. This proves that work was done on Candi Jago through most of this era.
It is a challenge to recognize scenes from the stories in the reliefs, which by the way read anti-clockwise or from left to right. When we visited Candi Jago a woman came running form a neighbouring house, and enthusiastically pointed out the more captivating scenes. She also sold us a booklet (in Indonesian) containing among others a synopsis of the Kunjarakarna, Parthayajna and Krsnayana tales. A version of Arjunawiwaha we found on the internet. So now we await an occasion to visit again, to try and see how much of the reliefs we can read.
Directions: Candi Jago is situated in the centre of Tumpang village. If you rent a 4WD tour from Malang to Bromo via “the back door”, you can conveniently make a stop at Candi Jago. Alternatively you can make the 22 km trip from Malang by minibus or own transport.
Leave Malang via Jalan Laksda Adisucipto heading east straight to Tumpang. Stay on the main road after you pass the entrance gate to Tumpang: "Masuk Kota Tumpang". The road changes names from Jalan Raya Jeru to Jalan Raya Malang Suko, then Jalan Raya Kauman. 200 m into Jalan Raya Kauman you find Candi Jago pointed out on your left hand.
- Historical Travel
Batu - west of Malang - has long been famous for its apple orchards and is now a prime, commercialized agrotourism destination. But east of Malang people are growing apples too, without the overdevelopment of Batu.
When we arrived at Poncokusumo village, admittedly out of season, we had to ask around before being referred to mr. Andre, an apple grower who also guides tourists. He lives on the main street just across the road from Jami mosque. The main apple harvest was just finished, but mr. Andre took us to an orchard with some apples left and the chrysantemum fields of his brother.
Because there is no winter season, the apple trees bear fruit twice a year. Harvest is in March and in September. For the trees in bloom one has to come three months earlier, December and June. As the trees need some rest too, autumn is simulated by manually picking all the leaves from the trees. Most apples are locally converted into apple juice and apple chips. We paid mr. Andre' s price of Rp 50,000 for his services, as well as the market price for a few kg of apples and a box of apple juice.
Mr. Andre also offers 4WD tours to Bromo and Penanjakan viewpoint. This is a very much longer drive than the tours one gets at Ngadisari and Tosari, but much more rewarding. One gets an overview of Tengger Caldera from several directions and makes a half circle on the bottom of the caldera through the so-called 'savana'. The tour includes a side trip to the mountain lakes Ranu Pani and Ranu Regulo. Cost: Rp 800,000 with Poncokusumo as starting point, Rp 900,000 if you ask to be picked up in Malang (January 2011).
Address: Centre of Poncokusumo village, on the main road facing Jami mosque.
Mobile phone: +62.813 3403 3997
Wired phone: +62.341.787 345 and +62.341.768 5090
- National/State Park
We found it when we were driving by on our way east from Salatiga via Trowulan and Trawas. Could have gone there sooner, but then... there are so many temples in the region. Candi Jawi sure is one of the most beautiful, having practically been rebuilt from its ruins. A first attempt to restoration was made from 1938 to 1941, but left unfinished because not enough evidence remained to reconstruct the middle part with certainty. Later, from 1974 to 1979, the East Java Archeological Authority completed the restoration - which begs the question what new knowledge they had on Candi Jawi's architecture. The following is an adaptation of the information the authority provides in Indonesian on panels at the site.
Scholars agree that Candi Jawi was built during the reign of Kertanegara, the last king of the Singosari dynasty, i.e. between AD 1268 and 1292. This is based on references in the Negarakertagama chronicles to Candi Jajawa and Candi Jawa-Jawa. But they differ as to why the king had the temple built.
One theory is that it served for religious rituals. Supporting this theory are the reliefs on the base, around which a pradaksina or clockwise procession would be held as is still customary at Borobudur temple. But against it is the fact that Candi Jawi faces away from Penanggungan mountain, on which the gods were believed to dwell.
The other theory holds that the temple served to store the king's ashes after his demise and elevation to the status of a god (pendharmaan). The anomaly of it turning its back on the gods would then be resolved, but another problem arises. According to the chronicles Singosari temple also was built in commemoration of king Kertanegara.
Candi Jawi has both Hindu and Buddhist characteristics, indeed the two religions were amalgamated in the period it was built. The records even refer to the elevated king Kertanegara as Sri Siwa Budha and Batara Siwa Budha. Several Shivaist statues have been recoverd on the site, Nadiswara, Durga, Brahma, Ganesa, Nandi and fragments of Ardanari, but are kept elsewhere in museums.
Candi Jawi predates by almost a century the dated temple at Penataran, which looks like a miniature copy. It has a rectangular base and is almost 25 m high. The base is decorated with shallow reliefs representing a tale that has been impossible to ascertain, many parts of which are not recognizable any more. But one panel shows a temple with tiered roof, Jawi temple itself according to archaeologist Stutterheim.
The main body of Jawi temple has several rectangular niches on the outside with Kala heads on top and a rectangular inner room. We stepped inside and saw an effigy of Batara Surya, the sun god, on the roof's capstone.
The roof consists of three parts, the main tiered part, a square part on top of this and a dagodha-shaped pillar to crown all.
It is interesting that the base was built out of black andesit, whereas the top was constructed of white stone. The explanation is that in the year Saka 1253 (AD 1331) Candi Jawi was struck by lightning - as told in Negarakertagama. That event caused the upper part of the temple to collapse, and destroyed an aksobhya statue with high crown (one of the five meditating Buddha's). The damage was repaired the following year, proof of which is a stone carrying an inscription of the year Saka 1254, but the Buddist statue has not been recovered.
Behind Jawi temple lie ruins of a brick gate (perhaps not unlike Wringin Lawang gate in Trowulan), which may be all that remains of a brick wall surrounding the compound. Evidence has been found of more structures that once stood in the compound.
- Historical Travel
KEN DEDES Bathing Place
The legend of Queen Ken Dedes, it grapped me in a hard way. Numerous temple remains dating from the 13th century Kingdom of Singosari still can be seen in the Batu - Malang region. Included Candi Singosari ofcourse, as well the so called ancient "Bathing Place of Ken Dedes", a beautiful place with lusty vegetation.
It is told the Sendang Dedes (Well of Dedes water) used to be a Garden of Eden (Taman Sari) to the Putri/Queen Ken Dedes and her court ladies. The Kedaton (Palace) was a place of beauty, pleasure, and ... mysteries. Still reports in local magazines around love to tell about these mysterious events around the bathing place ...
Note: see for the modern Ken Dedes Swimming Pool
Ukirsari's great VT Malang Page at Website-link >>>
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Candi Badut or Badut temple is a typical albeit simple example of a Shivaist temple as explained in the Penataran Museum. This is clear from the entrance facing west, the statue of goddess Durga Mahesa-suramardhini in the north wall, and the lingga-yoni in the interior. The lingga and yoni are an abstract representation of Shiva and his wife Parvati. The recess in the south wall must have contained a statue of Agastya (Shiva as teacher), the recess in the east wall a statue of Ganesha, and the small recesses on both sides of the entrance statues of the guards Mahakala and Nandiswara. Unfortunately all these statues are missing.
The base is bare without decoration, but the outer walls of the temple body are decorated with flower designs. Of interest are reliefs on both sides of the stairs representing kinarakinari, i.e. creatures with a bird body and human head that play music in heaven.
Candi Badut is thought to have been built sometime between the eighth and tenth centuries A.D. It was rediscovered only in 1921, when it was only a heap of stone. Restoration efforts have been made in 1925 through 1927 and later in 1992-1993. Still the temple lacks its roof.
Address: Gasek hamlet, Karang Besuki village, Sukun district, Malang town.
Directions: Candi Badut lies within the precincts of Malang town. Take Jalan Bondowoso and Jalan Tidar to the west and follow the signs.
Candi Singosari or Singosari temple was discovered in 1803, when like of many others no more remained than a heap of stone. Its present shape is the result of restoration work in 1934 through 1937.
The design of Singosari temple is extraordinary, because it consists of two storeys on a low pedestal. The lower storey contains an inner chamber, the upper storey not. Actually the temple was never finished, only the top is decorated.
An edict from 1351 AD states that Singosari temple was built by order of a council of seven kings in honour of the Shivaist high priest and prime minister by name of Pu Raganatha or Sang Ramapati, who died with the last king of Singhasari, Kertanegara, as a result of a sudden attack of the king of Kadiri. It is thought that king Kertanegara and his ministers were worshipping on the very spot of Singosari temple when their rivals from Kadiri attacked them. Chairman of the council was Tribhuvana, third king of Majapahit. This indicates clearly that the Majapahit dynasty saw itself as the successor of Singhasari, not of Kadiri.
That Tribhuvana also stood in the Shivaist tradition is clear from the layout of the temple. Statues of Mahakala and Nandiswara once guarded the entrance, statues of the goddess Durga and of Ganesha stood in the recesses on the sides. All these but were taken to the Netherlands and are now in the Leiden Museum. The only statue remaining is that of Agastya (Shiva as teacher), probably because it was too damaged to be of interest to the colonial power.
A number of other more or less damaged statues are standing aside in the temple grounds, among these one of Vishnu with the attributes of Shiva and one of goddess Chamunda.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Candi Kidal or Kidal temple is mentioned in the Negarakrtagama chronicles as the burying place of the second king of Singasari, Anusapati, who reigned from 1227 to 1248 AD. Therefore the temple precedes the Majapahit era. After his death king Anusapati was considered an incarnation of Siwa, and a statue of his as Siwa once stood in the temple. However that statue has been lost.
The temple walls are decorated with medaillons featuring flowers and vines. The Kala head over the entrance is particularly fine.
But the most interesting aspect are the three Garuda figures on three sides of the base. They refer to the Garudeya story from the Adiparwa book. The story tells of the rivalry between the two wives of a certain Kasyapa, whose names were Kadru and Winata. Kadru was mother of several snakes, whereas the son of Winata is Garuda. Unce upon a time the two mothers debated whether the color of the horse Uccaihsrawa was black or white. (Who was that horse is another story.).
In the heat of the debate they agreed that whoever would be proven wrong, would be the slave of the other. The snakes knew that their mother, Kadru, was mistaken and told her so. She then asked them to use their venom to change the color of the horse. They succeeded in doing so and Winata became the slave of Kadru.
Garuda then fought the snakes in order to reverse the injustice done to his mother. His half-brothers promised to free Winata if Garuda would succeed in stealing holy amrtha water from the gods, the drinking of which makes immortal. Garuda successfully obtained the amrtha, but only after having agreed to become the mount of god Visnu. Indeed Visnu is almost exclusively depicted as riding on Garuda. And eventually the gods deceived the snakes and got their water back.
The significance of the story? The coat of arms of the Republic of Indonesia features a Garuda bird because the founder of the republic, Ir Soekarno, saw in Garuda's quest a symbol of his struggle for freedom of his beloved motherland from the devious snakes (i.e. the Dutch colonizers).
At the south side of Kidal temple we see Garuda wrestling with his halfbrothers, the snakes.
Next, on the east or back side, he is carrying the pot with amrtha on his head.
And on the north side we see Garuda with his beloved mother Winata.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Coban Pelangi waterfall
One of many waterfalls there must be around Semeru mountain. This one is easily accessed from the road to Ngadas and Bromo. Coban is the local word for waterfall and Pelangi means rainbow. However, when we went there the light must have been not right, we saw no rainbow. We suppose the sun must shine from the right direction into the ravine.
From the parking a 1.5 km footpath leads down across the river and then uphill to the foot of the 30 m fall. Unfortunately the water falls among big rocks, no chance to take a dip.
Address: Gubukklakah village, Poncokusumo district.
Directions: From Malang take the road east to Bromo, via Tumpang and Gubukklakah (see tip The Back Door to Bromo). On leaving Gubukklakah you pass a porch. At 2 km from the porch is a small parking with the entrance gate to Coban Pelangi.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
Ranu Pani mountain lake
Ranupani village (2200 m) named after the lake of the same name is the starting point for everyone who wants to climb Java's highest volcano, Gunung Semeru (3676 m). We expected a small settlement, but the village has sprawled and the hillsides around are being cultivated. For water the population depends on the lake, which has to be carried home. Regrettably the lakeshore on the village side is not devoid of litter any more.
The inhabitants of Tengger Caldera traditionally are Hindu. Ranupani has a Hindu temple reminiscent of Bali. But there also is a mosque, probably for migrants having come from elsewhere.
Instead of the one cabin for climbers twenty years ago there is now a cluster of white guesthouses. But Climbing Semeru mountain is safe only in the dry season, May through October. We came in April, so the guesthouses stood empty.
When you come here, do not miss out on the twin lake, Ranu Regulo. It still is like we had imagined Ranu Pani: lying tranquil in green surroundings.
Directions: The route to follow from Malang leads via Tumpang, Gubukklakah and Ngadas, altogether 55 km. Minibuses can bring you to Gubukklakah (34 km), from where you have to walk or hire a villager with a motorbike. The alternative is a tour with a 4WD vehicle, see tip: The back door to Bromo.
- Mountain Climbing
- National/State Park
Ranu Regulo mountain lake
Only a short walk - 15 minutes at most - from Ranupani village, this twin of Ranu Pani lake lies undisturbed within its green borders. Not yet the pollution here that goes with human settlement. It looks like an ideal camping spot back to nature.
The only human touches are the paved path along part of the shore, a bare cabin and a jetty that has seen better times. If you should want to camp here, make sure to bring everything you need except water.
Directions: See directions for Ranu Pani lake. A paved path runs clockwise halfway around Ranu Pani, and then makes a turn left to Ranu Regulo.
- National/State Park
TUGU BALAI KOTA MALANG, MAYOR OFFICE
Tugu Balai Kota is an old building which constructed in the era of Dutch colonization, a circular Park in front of this building was a harmony of various kind of flowers, a TUGU or monument stand right at the center of a pond fully ornamented with an ample of beautiful lotus flowers.
This was a landmark of Malang City, a ground Zero where Malang residents recognize the place as TUGU
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