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Gunung Malabar terbentuk akibat aktivitas pembentukan gunung api kala Plistosen Awal ( 5 juta tahun yang lalu). Bersamaan dengan gunung api lainnya yang membentuk deretan gunung api diantaranya gn. Kamojang-Guntur, Gn. Cikuray, Gn. Wayang, Gn. Malabar, Gn. Papandayan, dan Gn. Patuha.

Seperti gunung-gunung di Jawa lainnya, gn.Malabar dahulunya merupakan tempat pemujaan dengan patung Hindunya. Tidak mengherankan bila nama Malabar berasal dari nama pantai Malabar di India. Tradisi dan kebudayaan Hindu dahulu memang sangat kental di wilayah Jawa Barat, seperti tradisi wayang yang masih tersisa hingga saat ini.

Untuk menuju ke gunung Malabar dari Bandung ambil jurusan ke Banjaran, melintasi jalan pegunungan dengan pemandangan sawah-sawah yang bertingkat, sekitar 5 km berbelok ke kiri menuju Kawsan Bumi Perkemahan.

Bumi Perkemahan terletak di dekat perkebunan Teh. Sangat baik untuk melakukan jalan santai menuju air terjun, atau melakukan perjalanan yang lebih serius yaitu mendaki gunung Malabar.

Patahan yang lebar terbentuk ketika terjadi letusan jaman purba yang besar. Pada jaman pemerintahan kolonial Belanda di lokasi ini didirikan pemancar radio Malabar. Untuk berkomunikasi antara pemerintahan Jawa dengan pemerintahan pusat di Belanda yang berjarak 12.000 km. Pada tanggal 5 mei 1923 Radio Malabar mengudara dengan kekuatan yang sangat besar yakni 1.800 KWatt. Pemancar radio ini di suplay oleh pembangkit listrik tenaga air Lamajan.

The forested Gunung Malabar stratovolcano, located immediately south of the city of Bandung, is of possible Holocene age (Bronto 1995, pers. comm.). The broad, 2343-m-high basaltic-andesite Gunung Malabar rises north of Wayang-Windu lava dome and west of Kawah Kamojang volcano.

In the era just before the beginning of World War I, two spark wireless stations were established in the Dutch East Indies for naval communications. This was in the days before internationally recognized callsigns were in general usage and one of these stations, located at Sabang, was on the air in Morse Code under the irregular callsign SAB.

Immediately after the end of the war, there were four such stations in the Dutch East Indies, and these were all designated with callsigns in the new PK series: PKA Sabang, PKB Weltevreden, PKC Sitoebondo, and PKD Koepang'. Soon afterwards, the Dutch government in Batavia announced that a huge arc transmitter station, using Telefunken arc equipment, was under installation at Malabar, near Bandoeng. This massive 3.5 megawatt station was established for communication with the home office in the Netherlands.

The date for the official opening of this station was set at May 5, 1923. However, a tropical lightning strike destroyed some of the equipment and the opening was postponed until repairs were completed. By this time, however, arc transmitters were becoming obsolete, and valve or vacuum tube transmitters were soon afterwards installed at this same location on the island of Java.

The first thing you see upon entering the Cisangkuy Valley from the north is Mt. Malabar. The name alone conveys something exotic; in fact, it’s quite possible that the mountain is named after the Malabar coast in India; since West Java was one of the strongholds of Indian Hindu culture, this would not be surprising. It’s a magnificent work of nature at more than 2,300 m above sea level. Dominating the Bandung skyline, Mt. Malabar is the mountain you see from Bandung’s northern hills. The huge explosion crater which opens to the northwest tells you that here is still another of West Java’s old volcano family.

Follow the directions above to Banjaran. 5 km after Banjaran there is another turnoff to the left which takes you to a camping ground much frequented by Indonesians. This narrow but well-surfaced road winds higher and higher through the rice terraces, with beautiful vistas of the Bandung Basin.

The camping ground near where the old tea plantation used to be is also a starting point for some good hikes, for example to a waterfall a little farther up. Ambitious souls might consider an assault on the summit of Mt. Malabar, which, however, is anything but easy and should be carefully planned. Afternoon rains are more common here than in Bandung, so do take that into consideration.

The huge cleft in the mountain flank in front of you originates from a pre-historic eruption. This was also once the location of the world-famous transmitter station Radio Malabar. In those days no other colony of such economic importance was so far away from its “motherland” as was the Dutch East Indies. Thus, the Dutch made a prodigious effort to install Ruins eerily overgrown with ferns and pine trees are all that remain of the old Malabar Tea Plantation. a radio station that would allow direct communication between Holland and Java.

After Marconi first succeeded in sending radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean in 1906, the technology was quickly refined and inter-continental radio communication became possible. For the Dutch project, huge wire antennas had to be hung between two mountain peaks. The huge cleft on the flank of Mt. Malabar provided ideal natural conditions for such a facility; the antennas could hang right across the ravine, the Lamajan hydro-electric power station a little farther up the valley provided the electricity to transmit, and the whole thing was not too far away from Bandung. On 5 May 1923 Radio Malabar went on the air with the most powerful transmitter in the world (up to 1,800 kW). A telecommunication link with Holland, 12,000 km away, had been established. When Dutch rule collapsed, the facility deteriorated, never to be restored. The foundations of the antenna poles are supposedly still somewhere in the jungle.

Dilapidated, too, are the houses that were once the residences of the tea plantation’s managerial staff. These are located on the western slope of the mountain at 1,300 m, some 35 km, or about one hour’s drive, from Bandung. Eerily overgrown with a strange-looking mixture of pine trees and huge tropical ferns, they are still marked with the names of the former occupants, mainly Dutch and Chinese. A bit farther up are the remains of a swimming pool filled with water diverted from the river and full of silt. It must have been a lovely if somewhat chilly place to swim. This is all that remains of the old colonial facilities. Nowadays, there are some food stalls, a tennis court, an information kiosk (probably not open when you are there), and a number of inviting trails up into the forest.

 

Untuk menuju ke gunung Malabar dari Bandung ambil jurusan ke Banjaran, melintasi jalan pegunung an dengan pemandangan sawah-sawah yang bertingkat, sekitar 5 km berbelok ke kiri menuju Kawsan Bumi Perkemahan.

Bumi Perkemahan terletak di dekat perkebunan Teh. Sangat baik untuk melakukan jalan santai menuju air terjun, atau melakukan perjalanan yang lebih serius yaitu mendaki gunung Malabar.

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