Many people do not know that today, December 11th is the International Mountain Day. Despite the fact that there are many mountains in Indonesia, most of us seem to take those mountains for granted even though mountains play a big part in our life as a species.
Not only mountains make the scenery better, they actually have a very important role to fulfill, and that role is to be the early indicators of climate change. As the global temperature grows warmer, the glaciers on top of the mountain will melt faster and it will affect the freshwater supplies downstream.
As a part of 2019’s International Mountain Day and to raise awareness regarding mountains in Indonesia, we will show you the tallest mountain in Indonesia.
1. Mount Agung, Bali
Mt. Agung Eruption (photo credits: Michael W. Ishak — myreefsdiary.com)
Mount Agung is the highest mountain in Bali with its height of 3.031 meters above sea level. This mountain is located in Karangasem, Bali, that also houses Pura Besakih, one of the most important temples for the people of Bali.
For the Hindi people of Bali, they believe Mount Agung is the resting place of the Gods, and they believe the mountain has a heavenly palace for the Gods. That is why, they consider Mount Agung as a holy place.
Until today, Mount Agung is still one of many active mountains in Indonesia. The latest eruption happened on June 13th 2019. Because of this, there is currently a pararem (tribe law) that forbids anyone to climb Mount Agung.
2. Mount Semeru, Malang
Mt. Semeru in 1985 (photo credits: USGS, photo by Thomas J. Casadevall)
Just like Mount Agung, Mount Semeru (or sometimes also known as Mount Meru) is an active volcano located in Malang, East Java. Even in the island of Java, Mount Semeru is the highest mountain, reaching the height of 3.676 meters above mean sea level. The peak of this mountain has its own name: Mahameru.
According to the beliefs of Javanese people written in Tantu Pagelaran from the 15th century, Mount Meru acts as the “nail” to keep Java Island from floating away on the sea. According to the legend, Vishnu the Preserver God of Hindu transforms into a giant turtle and puts Mount Meru on his back, while Brahma the Creator God of Hindu transforms into a long snake to help Vishnu safely transports the mountain from India.
Unlike Mount Agung, there is no restriction on climbing Mount Semeru. However, it is advised for hikers not to go near Jonggring Saloko crater or to hike from the south because of the poisonous gas and lava. When Mount Semeru is on its most active, there could be a poison gas explosion every 15 to 30 minutes. In 1997, it was recorded that Mount Semeru exploded around 2990 times.
3. Mount Rinjani, Lombok
Mt. Rinjani view from Sembalun side (photo credit: Midori — link)
Mount Rinjani with its highest peak reached the height of 3.726 meters above mean sea level. With its height, it dominates most of the view in the northern part of Lombok island. On the peak, hikers could see the beauty and might of Mount Agung in Bali, Mount Raung in Banyuwangi, and Mount Tambora in Sumbawa when the weather is clear.
The reason why Mount Rinjani is considered as one of the most beautiful mountains in Indonesia is because of the Lake Segara Anak, a crater lake in the caldera next to Mount Rinjani. Around the lake, there are flat plains that can be used as a camping site. Hikers could also fish or take a hot spring bath.
Aside from Lake Segara Anak, the peak of Mount Rinjani is also a very famous object of vacation for many people. Hiking activity would peak in July to August, because in the middle of August, many people would like to celebrate the independence day of Indonesia on the top of this mountain, in an event called “Tapak Rinjani”.
4. Mount Kerinci, Jambi
The view of Mount Kerinci from Kayu Aro (photo credit: Uprising — Link)
Mount Kerinci is located in Jambi, and has many other names such as Mount Gedang, Berapi Kurinci, or Peak of Indrapura. This mountain is considered as the highest peak in Indonesia outside of Papua, standing tall 3.805 meters above sea level. Mount Kerinci is surrounded by the National Park of Kerinci Seblat, which is the habitat for Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhino.
On the feet of Mount Kerinci, the flora is dominated by many types of mahogany. There is also the giant Rafflesia flower, Rafflesia Arnoldi. As for the fauna, there are many unique animals such as the Sumatran Elephant, Honey Bears, and even Leopards. However, you cannot find Orangutan there.
There are also many lakes in the National Park of Kerinci Seblat with Lake Kerinci as the biggest. The lake has a total area of 4.200 hectare, and is located at a height of 650 meters. Following Lake Kerinci is the Lake Gunung Tujuh, a caldera formed in an extinct volcano. Lake Gunung Tujuh is considered as the highest lake in Southeast Asia, located at the height of 1.996 meters.
5. Puncak Jaya, Papua
Puncak Jaya in 2007 (photo credit: Alfindra Primaldhi — Link)
Puncak Jaya that was also known as Carstensz Pyramid is the highest summit of Mount Jayawijaya with the height of 4.884 meters above mean sea level. Not only it is considered as the highest mountain in Indonesia, it is also the highest on the island of New Guinea, on Australia continent, Oceania, and the 5th highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Around the peak of Puncak Jaya is the Carstensz gletser, the only tropical gletser in Indonesia.
The name Carstensz Pyramid came from the name of Netherland’s adventurer, Jan Carstenszoon that gave the name when he saw the gletser on the mountain peak on a clear day in the year 1623. It was only later in 1909 that the gletser of Puncak Jaya could be successfully climbed by another adventurer from Netherland: Hendrikus Albertus Lorentz.
While the peak of Puncak Jaya is still covered in ice, some gletser on the slope including Carstensz Gletzer and 2 other gletser already disappeared due to the warming of Earth. If we could not reverse this warming, many paleoclimatologists think that the gletser will disappear entirely.
Those are 5 mountains in Indonesia that are considered the highest and the most beautiful. However, with the global warming happening, it is a good idea to raise awareness about the issue not only to preserve the beauty of these mountains, but to ensure the stability of our species.