Other than its tourist attractions, large iconic temples and pristine beaches, Indonesia also has many mysterious natural wonders that entrance visitors. Some of these places are highly-rated and seen as legendary, some are underrated and the rest have such a mysterious and dangerous reputation that locals don’t dare go anywhere near it.
Inspite of the dangers that some of these places pose to visitors, there are many who are entranced by its unique charms and are still persistent of visiting these places. Here are several of the natural wonders of Indonesia:
1. Mrapen, Madura Island
One of the most famous and iconic natural wonders in Indonesia include the eternal flame of Mrapen, located in Madura Island, Indonesia. According to local legend, the eternal flame of Mrapen appeared when Sunan Kalijaga (prominent pioneer of Islam in Indonesia) thrust his walking stick into the ground. Instead of finding water which he seeks, he triggered a famous eternal flame.
In truth, eternal flames are supposedly a geological phenomenon where natural gas leaks from the ground. Fire ignited from these gas leaks will not go out even with rainwater and wind.
Mrapen also gains its reputable fame because it is used for many purposes, including religious ceremonies like Waisak to national events such as Pekan Olahraga Nasional or National Sports Week.
2. Segitiga Masalembo
The bermuda triangle is a well-known danger spot for planes, boats and ships all round the world as there has been numerous accidents within the bermuda triangle area. Indonesia itself has the segitiga Masalembo, a mysterious triangle that links Bawean Island, Majene City, and central Java areas.
Although not as famous, this triangle is equally rife with mysteries and stories of sinking ships and planes. Local legend states that there are supernatural creatures that live there and that one must give offering in order to be saved from the tragedies that might occur.
However, there has recently been a much more logical explanation for mysterious disappearances. As segitiga Masalembo is located in the middle of many locations with different wind directions, air pockets surrounding it creates a mild tornado at certain times of the year. The presence of air pockets meant that anything can be suddenly sucked by the wind, whether upwards or into the ocean. For that reason, accidents most often occur during the months of December-January and July-August.
3. Taru Menyan, Bali
Taru Menyan is a special tree in Trunyan Village, Bali. It is particularly unique, because this tree is a gravesite for Trunyan villagers who passed away. Most visitors will be shocked to find that the the bodies are kept under this tree rather than the religious culture of the Balinese Hindu of burning the bodies.
Legends in the past have mentioned the pleasant aroma of Taru Menyan which extends to the center area of Java. Afraid of its pleasant smell attracting intruders, the king decided to mask its fragrance using the rotting odour of dead bodies. Afterwards, a culture began to grow in which corpses of villagers are placed under the Taru Menyan tree. Many visitors who come to this place have testified that they smell no odour from the tree, neither from the corpses placed under it.
The sacredness of this tree is further proven to this day as it can’t flourish anywhere else. Many attempts have been made to reproduce this tree in different areas and yet none seem to have worked. One theory suggested for Taru Menyan’s growth in Trunyan is because it absorbs nutrients from the corpses around it.
4. Kelimutu Lake, Flores
A much more well-known natural wonder in Indonesia is the three lakes located on Kelimutu mountain. The special aspect about these lakes are that their colors constantly change throughout the year from white, turquoise and red, to black, turquoise and coca cola brown. It can also turn into various shades of green.
Local folklore dictates that these lakes are final resting places of the villagers, with each color representing the merits and status of their death. The black lake Tiwu ata Mbupu is the ‘Lake of Old People’, the bluish green or turquoise blue lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai is the ‘Lake of Young Men and Maidens’ and the blackish-green or red lake called Tiwu Ata Polo is the ‘Bewitched or Enchanted Lake’.
Many have visited this lake out of the curiosity for the beautiful and ever-changing colors of the lakes. It is also important to note that despite the beauty that they possess, these lakes are dangerous for the human body due to its chemical composition. Alas, it is also suspected that these mineral composition and volcanic fumes are what creates the different shades of color in these lakes-although it’s not known for certain.
5. Jawawijaya Mountain, Papua
Although it’s not the most active mountain in Indonesia, Jayawijaya mountain is certainly one of the highest mountains in the Australasia continent. Its height is even recorded in the Seven Summits, which represents the seven highest mountains in each continent.
Other than its height, Jayawijaya mountain is also said to be a natural wonder because it remains to be the only mountain in Indonesia with snow. It becomes even more unlikely as Indonesia is a tropical country located directly on the equator. Despite the unlikely circumstances, snow becomes more possible as its height leads to a different climate and temperature altogether.
6. Kawah Ijen, Banyuwangi
On hindsight, Kawah Ijen may resemble any ordinary volcano in Indonesia. But visit it in the darkest hours of the day and visitors will be pleasantly surprised! At the wee hours of the morning, sulfur from the volcano will surround its environment with blue flames, creating a whole new experience for travelers.
Despite the beautiful visual, guests are recommended to wear gas masks when descending into their hike. This is because toxic fumes from high amount of sulfur are known to mar people’s ability to breathe and could cloud their vision during the hike.
Nature is indeed beautiful and sometimes mysterious. Even with our advanced technology, there are still risks and precautions that people have to take to minimize the risks of getting hurt. Yet with all the dangers, nature still manages to entice the vast majority of us to discover its beauty and unfold its mysteries.
Which ones of these natural wonders seem to entice you the most? Let us know in the comments below!