Semeru, or Mount Semeru (Indonesian: Gunung Semeru), is a
volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. It is the highest
mountain on the island of Java. The stratovolcano is also
known as Mahameru, meaning 'The Great Mountain. The name
derived from Hindu-Buddhist mythical mountain of Meru or
Sumeru, the abode of gods.
Known also as Mahameru the
(Great Mountain), it is very steep rising abruptly above the
coastal plains of eastern Java. Maars containing crater
lakes have formed along a line through the summit of the
volcano. It was formed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek
and Jambagan calderas. Semeru lies at the south end of
the Tengger Volcanic Complex.
Semeru is named from Sumeru, the central world-mountain
in Buddhist cosmology and by extension Hinduism. As stated
in legend, it was transplanted from India; the tale is
recorded in the 15th-century East Javanese work Tantu
Pagelaran. It was originally placed in the western part of
the island, but that caused the island to tip, so it was
moved eastward. On that journey, parts kept coming off the
lower rim, forming the mountains Lawu, Wilis, Kelut, Kawi,
Arjuno and Welirang. The damage thus caused to the foot of
the mountain caused it to shake, and the top came off and
created Penanggungan as well
Semeru's eruptive history is extensive. Since 1818, at
least 55 eruptions have been recorded (10 of which resulted
in fatalities) consisting of both lava flows and pyroclastic
flows. All historical eruptions have had a VEI of 2 or 3.
Semeru has been in a state of near-constant eruption from
1967 to the present. At times, small eruptions happen every
20 minutes or so.
Semeru is regularly climbed by tourists, usually starting
from the village of Ranu Pane to the north, but though
non-technical it can be dangerous. Soe Hok Gie, an
Indonesian political activist of the 1960s died in 1969 from
inhaling poisonous gases while hiking on Mount Semeru
Mount Semeru is the highest mountain in Java 3,676 meter
above sea level. Dry seasons is the best times to climb this
mountain from May till September. During the wet/rainy
seasons, usually there is a storm an landslide in the top of
the mountain. Landslide sometimes happen in the middle track
between Ranu Pane and Ranu Kumbolo.
We can start from Malang the second biggest city in East
Java. From Malang the climbers can ride mini bus to Tumpang.
There is a market and a Hindu’s Temple in Tumpang Village.
There are two option of vehicles from Tumpang to Ranu Pane
Basecamp. Rent an open Jeep, it cost 500,000 ID Rupiahs, or
the cheapest ones using Truck together with vegetables and
local peoples only 35,000 ID Rupiahs for one person.
We will pass Gubuk Klakah village. Here there is a
National Park office and we must register first. From this
Village we will pass a dusty road with sand to Ngadas
village. We can see some wonderfull panoramas a long the
journey on the way to Ranu Pane village.
Ranu Pane (2,100 masl) is the last village and here the
basecamp and the office. The climbers can get permission
here for climbing. There are two beautiful lakes, in the up
side is called Ranu Pane and the other one nearby called
Ranu Regulo. In the evening, it is very cold to stay here.
Its population is about 600, surviving their lives from
From Ranu Pane we start to walk through the vegetables
fields, and hike into the forest a long the flat path. Some
plants grow very low, high carrier/backpack is not
comfortable. We walk 13 Km and spend about 4 hours to Ranu
Ranu Kumbolo (2,400 masl) is a resting place with a lake,
and has beautiful scenery especially in the morning when we
look ant the sun rising through the chinks of the hills.
There is a climber hut for resting and cooking. Here, we can
make a tend and fishing.
There is a time went ducks live here in a big numbers in
the lake. Swimming in the lake is forbidden, be carefull
went we step the bank of the lake, sometimes we can sank
into the mud under the water. This is the first place we can
spend to relax and have a long time to rest. We can stay
here during the night and continue the journey in the
The next path is a wide grassland, called oro-oro ombo,
long time ago there are many deers live here. Today, we are
very lucky if we can see it. It is very hot to walk throw
the open land. We better start from Ranu Kumbolo in the
After one hour, we will enter woodland of casuarina
trees. Sometimes we can see wild birds and wild cocks. A
mouse deer can be found too, in the far away. So watch the
Kalimati (2,700 masl) is the second place to open the
tend. We must stay and wait until the morning to climb to
the peak. Although there is a small spring water called
Sumbermani, it is better if we bring the fresh water from
Ranu Kumbolo to cook and drink. Here we wait and rest until
From Kalimati to the peak of Mahameru we spend 3-6 hours,
depend on the weather, numbers of climbers and dust. a big
number of climber can produce huge dust a long the journey
and slow down the move because an narrow trail is difficult
to the climber to pass the others.
Usually the climbers start in the mid night and reach the
peak till dawn, enjoy the sunrise. One hour climbing from
Kalimati, we come in Arcopodo, Now the twins statues here
are missing. The trail is narrow, stepy, and dusty. The deep
valley in the left and in the right side through the
The next journey is an open area with sandy, stepy and
dusty. Hoping a good weather stay with us. One step we walk,
a half feet we go down and burried in the sand. A cloudy
night or fogs can make the sight not so clear. A storm can
be so dangerous to contonue to the peak.
In the top of the mountain, called Mahameru, We can enjoy
an unforgettable and fantastic panorama towards many peaks
of East Java, coasts and seas, and sunrise in the east
horizon. The climbers must wait an exploded crater to take a
Before 9 AM the climbers must leave the peak, because the
explosion toward to the peak, bring poison, sand, stone,
ash, and dust.
LEGEND OF MT SEMERU
It said that in the one time , actually, Java Island
floated on the sea and it’s not like today. Afterwards, Dewa
(the god) give a decision to nail this island being fixed in
The god move Mt Meru from India to the Java Island. The
Mt Meru was heavy and high, so, Java Island fixed in a place
like today Dewa Wisnu (a god of several god from Hindusm’s
Mythology) changed himself to be “a turtle” and carrying of
Mt Meru on his back. And, Dewa Brahma (a god) changed
himself to be “a snake” and coiling safety to this mountain
The gods put that mountain on the first island place
where they found it. This area was in the west side of Java
Island. But, due to the mountain was very heavy made the end
of north side of this island removed on. Then, they take and
removed to be in the east side. The same moment wass
Finally, they decide to cut many side of this mountain
and put in the north west of Java Island The rest of
mountain cutting that done by the gods became a mountain, Mt
Pawitra which it was known by Mt Penanggungan, and the main
part of Mt Meru, lying place of Dewa Shiwa (a god) was known
by Mt Semeru. When Sang Hyang Siwa (a god) visit to this
island, he found so many “Jawawut Tree” and he gave this
island named by “Java Island”.
The mythology is adopted from ancient book written in the
15th century Geographically, Java & Bali Island is same in
the Hindusm symbols and development. According to the
Hindusm’s mythology about Mt Meru, It’s assumpted this is a
home for gods and being a connecting place between “earth”
(human) and “khayangan” (heaven). If human are willing to
hear about the “dewa sound”, he must meditated at the peak
of Mt Meru.
Many Javanesse and Balinesse assumpted that Mt Semeru is
the place for their gods or ghost. Finally, many people
(Java & Bali) use this mountain as meditate place to get
“the mysterious whispers” The Balinesse believe that Mt
Mahameru (Semeru) is “father of Mt Agung” in Bali and very
appreciated by them. The “Upacara Sesaji” (Presenting
Ceremony for the gods) that presented by their gods is done
by Balinesse each in 8 to 12 when somebody accept “the
mysterious sound” from the gods who lives at Mt Mahameru.
Beside of this ceremony, if it’s a urgently condition, The
Balinesse visit in “Goa Widodaren” (Widodaren Cave) to get
“Tirta Suci” (Holly Water).
When people want to climb
until in this peak, there’s the reasons why they will. May
be, somebody want to acquire of this “mysterious sound”.
They wish get the “long age”, and luck. Before they climb to
this peak, they provide his life supplieas as long as they
meditate there, and also his mental. Many meditator is scare
with mountain condition, visible or invisible.
Many people believe that mountain is as much ghost home
that placed in around of mountain. That ghost is believed as
“Roh Leluhur” (Dying Soul of Ancestors), live at all forest,
hill, tree, lake in every route you through it This dying
soul live here have much responsibility such as guiding of
many place to be appreciated.
The climbers that overnight their trip at Ranu Kumbolo
Lake, oftenly see the “Ranu Kumbolo” Lake. In the midnight,
there’s a orange light in the center of lake and suddenly,
this light is changed into a woman ghost. For a person has
supranatural power, he / she will be happy with this,
because he / she will spare of much time to speak with this
You may believe or not to this ghost existence, but The
Javanesse believe that Bromo, Tengger and Semeru is the
ghost’s home and dying soul of ancestors living here.