Prahu (Dieng Plateau)

jlborderThe Dieng Plateau is a large caldera complex north of Wonosobo in Central Java with many fascinating historical and volcanic sites. The Dieng Plateau is known as the ‘Place of the Gods’. Dieng is thought to be from the words da & hyang. In Old Javanese da is a title of high rank; hyang – ‘god, goddess, deity’.

The Plateau was an important ancient Hindu temple site, probably the oldest in Java dating from the 7th and 8th C (Kalinga Kingdom). There may have been up to 400 temples originally but only eight remain. The temples are clustered around three groups; Arjuna, Dwarawati and Gatot Kaca, with Bima as a single temple.

The Dieng complex is of about 6 x 16 km and forms a large highland plateau at around 2,000 m. It is a large caldera of overlapping volcanoes, lava domes and explosion craters many of which contain lakes.  Toxic volcanic gas has caused fatalities and can be a hazard at several craters. The area has a major geothermal power plant. Gunung Prahu lies on the caldera rim to the east.

The colorful lakes and bubbling craters are of particular interest. The most impressive craters are the popular Kawah Skidding, the atmospheric and ghostly Kawah Slier and the bubbling, smoking Kawah Candradimuka. Spectacular lakes include Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon.

The entire area within and on the surrounding slopes of the Dieng Plateau is renowned for its temperate vegetables – potatoes, cabbage (kohl, kubis), carrots, etc. A tree fruit, Terong Belanda, (lit: Dutch egg fruit) is unique to the area.

Gunung Prahu (2,599 m) is the main peak on the Dieng caldera rim. The vertical climb from the Desa Dieng is about 4-500 m. This is a relatively easy walk through vegetable gardens and takes just over one hour. Unfortunately, the rim is crowned by communication towers. The highest point on the rim is Gunung Patakbanteng that lies about two km along the ridge to the south from the towers at a high ‘bump’ to the right side of the trail.

An alpine meadow near Puncak Ujung (c 2400 m) is reached after about an hour. This area make a good camping spot. Unfortunately, trail bikes can now reach here which disturbs the ambiance.

Views from the rim are spectacular in good weather: unimpeded views into the Dieng caldera, its lakes, villages, agriculture and surrounding peaks; to the south, the peaks of Sumbing and Sundoro loom nearby; to the west, Slamet may be seen in the far distance; and,  Lawu, Merapi and Merbabu, likewise, to the south-west.

Suitability: families and older children.

Indicative Programme: (details of a scheduled Java Lava trip will be provided in a Circular to be sent to those who express interest in joining.)

Link to Gunnung Bagging – Dieng