The Glorious Bromo

The World is blessed with everything. A tropical paradise, but there's only one real beauty a singular combination of scenic wonders and cultural heritage . From friendly people to smoking Volcano, etc.

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 'sand sea' to watch the sun rise 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, the Tenggerese, who claim descent from a princess of Majapahit. Isolated for centuries in the mountains, the Tenggerese have remained loyal to the. old religion which, though basically Hindu/Buddhist, reserves a special place for the god of Mt.Bromo (Brahma).

Each year, on the l4th day of the Tenggerese month of Kasodo, which falls in December, a special ceremony is held on the edge of Bromo's active crater.Livestock and agricultural produce are sacrificed to placate the spirit of the mountain and ensure a bountiful harvest in the coming year.

The Tenggerese believe that failure to observe this annual ritual will result in disaster. As it is, they are blessed with a cool climate and rich volcanic soil which allows the cultivation of many types of fruit and vegetable which are impossible to grow on the plains.There are several ways to get to Mt Bromo. The well worn route is from the north coastal town of Probolinggo, The road winds up into the hills via Sukapura and ends at Ngadisari, one of the largest of the 38 traditional Tenggerese villages.

An alternative route leads from Pasuruan via Wonokitri and Tosari to the summit of Mt Penanjakan, which is rapidly becoming the favoured spot to welcome the dawn. As the sun rises, the early morning mist dissipates to reveal a fantastic, almost lunar landscape. Two deeply furrowed volcanic cones stand side by side on a vast, perfectly flat expanse of sand 10 kilometres across.

Bromo's crater is active, emitting dense clouds of sulphureous steam. Reasonably quiescent at the moment, the mountain has erupted three times this century at fairly regular 30 year intervals. The last major eruption was in 1974. Beside Bromo stands its dormant twin, Mt Batok, whose sides rise in a perfect cone shape to a flat summit. The entire plain is surrounded by steep cliffs, which form the rim of an enormous caldera.

The southern part of the Tengger range is dominated by Mt Semeru, named after the 'cosmic mountain' and abode of the gods of Hindu mythology. Semeru was very active during the 19th century and continues to send up a cloud of smoke at irregular intervals. The Bromo and Semeru region is now a nature reserve containing a rich variety of flora and fauna. There are a number of wild plants here which are unique to the area and, according to a local botanist, several more which are as yet uncatalogued.

The range of wildlife, too, is still not fully recorded, though a few species, such as the wild pig, Timorese deer and muncak (barking deer) are known to exist in considerable numbers. There are also leopards and flying squirrels and the lake areas are home to a wide variety , duck and waterfowl