Friday, November 10, 2006

Patih Gajah Mada Waterfall

Do you know that Madakaripura Waterfall is also known as Patih Gajah Mada Waterfall?
This is the place where the Patih often meditated and prayed, and it is said that the idea
of the famous Palapa Pledge was born here. This was the pledge that was later crystallised
into our beloved country, the Republic of Indonesia.

To reach this waterfall we can begin our journey from Malang, then visit Bromo
and spend the night there, and then proceed to the Madakaripura Waterfall.


come and visit
dear seagulls, to my city
I will bow my head to welcome you
I will serve you with cool weather
as you open your eyes
I will whow you the beautiful malang

I will show you my city
telaga bodas
lembah dieng
and many other unwritten secrets

come, dear seagulls
I welcome you as kings to my picturesque city
I will print in your mind
unforgettable memories
(Rachman, Abdul)

One of the unwritten secrets is the Bromo Cauldron, Malang, Probolinggo, Kasodo rituals, and others.

A Miracle in East Java

If we make a list of miraculous places in Indonesia, the Bromo Mountain will
certainly be on the list. Miraculous in a way that when we see the place with
our own eyes, we will stand in awe and feel ourselves very small indeed.
Even those who do not fully believe in God will spontaneously call His Name and
admit that there is a bigger power outside the power of man. Man's limited mind cannot
visualise how the 800 meter (north-south) times 600 meter (east-west) can be found
in an unlimited sea of sand.

Bromo is one of the five mountains in the National Park Bromo-Tengger-Semeru. Being
a national park with the easiest access in Indonesia, the charm of Bromo is

The name Bromo is taken from the Sanskrit or Old Java "Brahma", a prominent Hindhu God.
These mountains are occupied by the Tengger ethnic group, the descendants of
Majapahit Kingdom who had lived there since 600 years ago. Bromo Mountain is believed
to be sacred, so each year the Tengger people hold the Kasodo ceremony
in an 'Aura' at the feet of the hill, proceeded by giving offerings to the top
of the hill. Kasodo is held from midnight to dawn at every full moon (14th or 15th) of
the Kasodo month (tenth month) in the Javanese calendar.

An active volcano, Bromo is situated 2,393 meters above sea level and spreads to
four areas: Probolinggo, Pasuruan, Lumajang, and Malang. If you plan to visit
Bromo, be prepared to a sharp cool breeze at night and dawn. After the sun comes out,
unpolluted clear air will show you an unblemished blue sky.

The most awaited in a visit to Bromo is its beautiful sunrise, a very amazing view.
As soon as a reddish sky lights up the rocks, the sharp smell of supphur
can easily be 'forgiven'. Walking on the sand, touching various bushes with our toes, is
indeed a novelty never experienced in big cities. Not to mention the pretty scene of tall
grass under the shower of morning sun.

The journey to this tourist attraction cannot be done by ordinary car,
you have to rent a jeep from the tourist office. Whereas horses are the only
'vehicle' allowed to go around on the sand and can be rented by those unwilling
to walk until the foot of the hill. However, many people are willing to go on foot
from the hotel to the location in order to watch the unforgettable scenery.
(Kompas, Tuesday November 7, 2006)

East Java posesses unpredictable natural charm. As part of the most populated
islands in Indonesia, I used to think that there is no natural spot left to be
observed. My scepticism turns out to be wrong, even in populated places. However,
those places are of course difficult to reach.

That morning, after witnessing the beauty and mysticism of Bromo, I was not ready
yet to return to my hotel. So I welcome the offer of the jeeps's driver to take
me to Madakaripura Waterfall. Soon the jeep zipped through the narrow mountain
road, up and down, up and down.

After more than an hour jostled in the jeep, I arrived at the gate of a desolate
recreational park. No wonder, it was mid-day in the fasting month, and the only
bridge was being renovated so we have to travel through small roads. Luckily
a kind hearted villager was willing to show me the way to the waterfall.
Situated in Desa Sapih, subdistrict of Lumbang, about 33 km north east of
Probolinggo, Madakaripura is a spectacular waterfall complex. Not only one
waterfall can be found, but three, each having a different height and falling
beautifully on the steep cliff.

From the gate, the waterfall can be reached in 30 minutes on foot. The journey
is easy as the path has been hardened by cement. Hundreds of pretty and colorful
butterflies accompany me, which in itself is a wonderful attraction.

Do not wonder if the guides bring along umbrellas, since, in order to watch the
waterfalls we have to go through showers of water.

Hidden within a deep forest in the mountains of Tengger, around 620 meters above
sea level, Madakaripura Waterfall is beleieved to be a sacred place. It is here
that Patih Gajah Mada often meditated.

For those who are sick, it is believed that bathing several times under this waterfall
can bring recovery. On the other hand, those who are healthy will enjoy swimming
in the cool, blue-green water of the river.
(Kompas, Sunday October 15, 2006)