Sean On Leave

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Tangkuban Perahu

April 24th, 2009 by Sean

Our first stop after Jakarta is Bandung.  Far from the smog and brutal heat of lower-laying Jakarta is Bandung, up in the mountains where it is still hot, but the  mornings and evenings are lovely and everything is a bit slower than the relentless pace of Jakarta.

One of the first places we visited was Tangkuban Perahu, an active volanco just over 2000 meters above sea level.   At the peak there is a crater filled by a hot-spring and the delightful aroma of sulphur.  Despsite the odour, it was a beautiful site and it was delightfully cool at that elevation.

The name of this volcano comes from a local legend.  Here’s an exerpt from the Wikipedia page:

The name translates roughly to “upturning of (a) boat” or “upturned boat” in Sundanese, referring to the local legend of its creation. The story tells of “Dayang Sumbi”, a beauty who lived in West Java. She cast away her son “Sangkuriang” for disobedience, and in her sadness was granted the power of eternal youth by the gods. After many years in exile, Sangkuriang decided to return to his home, long after the two had forgotten and failed to recognize each other. Sangkuriang fell in love with Dayang Sumbi and planned to marry her, only for Dayang Sumbi to recognize his birthmark just as he was about to go hunting. In order to prevent the marriage from taking place, Dayang Sumbi asked Sangkuriang to (1) build a dam on the river Citarum and (2) build a large boat to cross the river, both before the sunrise. Sangkuriang meditated and summoned mythical ogre-like creatures -buta hejo or green giant(s)- to do his bidding. Dayang Sumbi saw that the tasks were almost completed and called on her workers to spread red silk cloths east of the city, to give the impression of impending sunrise. Sangkuriang was fooled, and upon believing that he had failed, kicked the dam and the unfinished boat, resulting in severe flooding and the creation of Tangkuban perahu from the hull of the boat.

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