If we are to visit the home of the gods, what would it be like? Indonesia’s Dieng Plateau tries to give an answer.
Sitting at 2,000 meters above sea level, this marshy plateau is located near Wonosobo, Central Java. It’s name translates to ‘Abode of the Gods’, which is justified by its impressive sceneries steeped in ancient history and made more alluring by the volcanic activity in the area.
Arjuna Temple Complex
Leaving Candi Borobudur before lunch time, we resumed our road trip. Wounding through rice terraces and vegetable plantations, climbing ever higher on the mountain and feeling the air getting colder – we finally reached a sizable town where Aji, our van driver, decided we should stop for lunch.
At first he wanted to take us to somewhere fancy where tourists were supposed to eat, but we told him we were on a budget and would like a more local and authentic experience. So he took us to a small warung makan (eatery) managed by his friend, an older guy who promptly asked us if we were from the Philippines and then told us Filipinas are pretty. LOL
After lunch, Aji then took us to this complex of small temples nestled on the plateau. Said to be constructed in the 8th or 9th century, they are among the oldest in Central Java. There were lots of students there when we visited but they were very friendly and I actually envied them for having all these wonderful places in their country they can visit any time for their field trips. The air up there was cold and refreshing and the beauty of the surrounding mountains has become a very fond memory of mine.
Methinks no abode of the gods is complete without some display of power. For Dieng Plateau, one only needs to take a short trip to the Sikidang Crater to experience the less tame beauty of the area.
Right away, at the start of the short trek to the volcano crater, the rotten egg smell of sulfur assaulted our nostrils. Despite the horrible odor, we just couldn’t ignore the beautiful mountain scenery around us punctuated by white smoke curling out of the ground here and there.
Finally, I arrived at the gaping crater and for a few moments was transfixed by the boiling sulfur within and the smoke and heat coming out of it. Surely if there were ill-tempered gods in the area, it would be an easy matter to let the scorching sulfur and lava boil out and snuff the lives of anyone nearby. Yes it is fearsome, yet to me who has never been near a volcano crater before – Sikidang Crater was fascinating.
The Color Lake
Before the sun set, we were able to visit another jewel on Dieng Plateau’s crown. True to its name, the Color Lake is like a multi-faceted gem that shows off its shining hues once exposed to light. The setting sun provided just the right lighting for the sulfuric waters to glow beautifully. We saw shades of blues, reds, yellows and greens on the water and I couldn’t help but fall under the lake’s spell of beauty and relaxation.
Trip Back to Jakarta
After enjoying ourselves at Dieng Plateau, our driver and guide for the day took another route back to the center of Yogyakarta to allow us to enjoy more of the changing landscapes and rural views. He also made a stop at a local-priced store as per our request where we purchased local coffee and tea or teh as they call it. He was an excellent guide overall and we’re very thankful for his services.
As much as we loved Yogyakarta, it was finally time to leave it and go back to Jakarta. One more day of gallivanting in Indonesia! ^_^ Here’s our jaunt in Jakarta.