Ambarawa & Dieng Plateu, Central Java, Indonesia, 2007

Dieng Travel Blog

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          Taking advantage of a long weekend and the fact that none of us ever visited Dieng temples complex, my 'backpack' friends & I decided to visit the complex, located in Dieng, Wonosobo regency, Java travel guide">Central Java. Knowing that there wasn't much time available, visit to this ancient site was a priority. The overland route consisted of going to Semarang, the capital of Central Java province, then going down south to Ambarawa, and headed straight to Wonosobo regency where Dieng temples are located.
 
         Leaving Jakarta after midnight, we passed Semarang very early the next morning and went straight south to Ambarawa where we made stop at the Ambarawa Train Museum & Palagan Ambarawa Museum. Occupying the now-defunct old train station built in Dutch colonial era, Ambarawa Train Museum collects old trains and still reserves the utilities used in the era as well as some old photographs depicting the situation during its heyday when it was one of the major train stations in Java. Since our arrival coincided with public holiday, it was quite crowded, yet i guess it somehow gave rise to the 'feel' of being at a real (and still function) station, which is good :-)
        Aside from historical items, it offers a tour using an old train that take you on a short round trip during which passengers can see the beautiful landscape surrounding the area.
We didn't get to join the tour though -- too many people and we didn't have much to time to queue :-))
          The nearby Palagan Ambarawa museum is a historical museum dedicated to one of the biggest Indonesian Wars of Independence in the 40s that took place in Ambarawa. The museum showcases the military utensils, machines, trucks, trains, an air jet and so many other things that were used by Indonesian army & people in the war against the Dutch & British, as well as diorama depicting the war. We spent the afternoon there taking photographs before leaving for Wonosobo.
          Wonosobo, (the regency capital of the same name) a quite, small town on high altitude & surrounded by some mountain (I forgot the name) is quite cold at day and the temperature can be colder at night; so are the Dieng plateu our next destination.
People say that the best time to visit the complex is during sunrise so we tried to get there before sunrise. Well, no luck. Many of us were overslept :-)). However, we did manage to visit it very early in the morning when it was still quite.
           The Dieng Temple complex comprises of several Hindu temples built by the Sanjaya dinasty who ruled Central Java in the 7th-8th century and they are considered the oldest Hindu temples in Indonesia. As any other temples in Java, you can always see a mount in the distance -- a significant direction for any temple locations. Historians stated that this complex was used as worshipping temples used by the priests & the royal, but there's another opinion of course. It is predicted that there must have been hundred of temples scattered around the area, but only about 8-9 temples remain.
Mostly are built in what is, generally speaking, Indonesian-style, akin to any other masterpiece works you can find in any temples in Indonesia, with the exeption of one temple namely Candi Bima whose structure & design is more similar to any temple in India. Oh I forgot to say that these 8-9 remaining temples have been named after several Wayang character familiar to Javanese (and Sundanese for that matter) such Candi Arjuna, Candi Pandu, Candi Srikandi, Candi Puntadewa, Candi Gatot Kaca and the abovementioned Bima.
          The location, I must say, is perfect for building temples. The area, especially in the morning, is often shroudded by thick mist, and Dieng Plateu is actually a still-active volcano complex. You can imagine how misterious the whole area seemed to be for people living there back in the old age, with its thick mists and sulphurish/malodorous smell emanating from the sulphur craters around it.
And there's nearby lake that locals favourably call Telaga Warna (Colorful Lake) because, yes, you guess it, the color of the water seem to change all the time (due to its ever changing reflective, that is).
           The name Dieng itself, if I'm not mistaken, is taken from old Javanese word, Di Hyang (or was it Sanskrit? Oh my, never mind, the old Javanese was also much derived from Sanskrit anyway and I'm not an expert on this one :-> ) which means the Abode of Gods. And judging from what's there in the area -- the mist, the active volcanoes, sulphur-related thingy, the mount, the plateu itself etc etc, I myself do believe the name perfectly fits in.

Note:
Dieng Plateu & the Dieng Temples complex can be accessed easily from Wonosobo where there are several small accomodations/hotels available.
People can visit the whole complex by walking, the walking path is available & in good conditions. The surrounding area like the craters, Telaga Warna lake, however, may better be visited by car/minibuses as they're in the different locations. There will be guides offering the information regarding the craters & the lake etc, and showing you the safe way while exploring the craters area.
aligoingbackpacks says:
Merci beaucoup Bernard!
Posted on: Jan 08, 2009
jeonli1978 says:
I miss to visit this place during my recent visit to Central Java.Everyone said that this place is so beautiful and a must go when in Central Java.Hope to go there in my next trip to Indonesia.
Posted on: Jan 07, 2009
bernard69 says:
Good work!
Posted on: Jan 07, 2009
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Dieng
photo by: sisiyou