Mount Lawu, The Mysticism of Java Island

Mount Lawu is a famous haunted place and it’s surrounded by mystical atmosphere. According to the lore, it is a center of spiritual activity in Java. The mount also has close relationship with the Solo and Yogyakarta palace and cultural tradition, such as holding Labuhan rite every Sura month. Mount Lawu located between Karanganyar, Central Java and Magetan, East Java, the mount is one of the Seven Summits of Java (the seven highest peaks on the Java Island). It is still a favorite mount for the climber to do climbing activity and reach the summit.

For local communities, Lawu seems has its own life, not everyone can climb her. There are several taboos and myth must be noted for the climber.


Lawu Summit as Place of Prabu Brawijaya Spiritually Disappear (Moksa)

Mount Lawu has three peaks, namely Hargo Dalem, Hargo Dumiling, and Hargo Dumilah. The highest peak point is Hargo Dumilah with an altitude 3,265 meters above the sea level. The altitude make Mount Lawu as the fifth highest mountain in Java Island. The summit’s weather is very cold, up to minus five Celcius degree. 

Hargo Dalem believed as a place where Prabu Brawijaya achieved his moksa (spiritually disappear). Prabu Brawijaya is wise king since he received a revelation which showed him, that Majapahit kingdom will fall and Demak kingdom will rise to become a new shining and glorious kingdom, which led by his son, Raden Fatah. On the other hand, Hargo Dumiling is a place the servants of Brawijaya moksa. His servants are Dippa Wanggala and Wangsa Wanggala, also known as Kyai Jalak (Starling). The last peak, Hargo Dumilah is a spiritual center of Java, many people do meditation and become a place to train your inner abilities.


The Taboo

If you want to climb the mountain, there are several taboos need to be noted.

Do not wear green clothes. Green represents the color of Nyi Roro Kidul’s clothes. Nyi Roro Kidul is South Coast Mythical Queen in Java area. In addition, never climb Mount Lawu with odd numbered group, it can bring misfortune.

The climbers are forbidden to complain while on his way to the peak. If he or she said such a complaint, his or her stamina will decrease drastically. If he or she said the weather is cold, then the situation will be really cold. As if feels that Lawu own lives to respond every word.


The Myths

The appearance of Kyai Jalak (Starling) shows a good sign for the climber who possess a clean heart. Starling which color is ivory are trusted as a guide for climbers to get to the peak.

Mount Lawu

courtesy: omkicau

Like most mountain in Indonesia which has strong mystical aura, Mount Lawu has a market called The Ghost Market. This is an invisible market, you can only hear the voices around you. Not everyone can hear it. During your climbing, if you see or find a black butterfly with shinning blue circle in the middle of its wing, it means that you are welcomed on the mount by the “keeper”. Never disrupt and kill the butterflies.


It is a must that everyone who wanted to go to a new place must understand the unwritten prohibition or rules, and not to do something prohibited whether actions or words. It is for our safety and also for the nature preservation. (rdw/fjr)

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