Rinjani mountain: spiritual, exhilarating and stunning

Part of the famous “ring of fire,” Rinjani mountain holds spiritual significance for the local people of the island of Lombok.

Rinjani mountain: spiritual, exhilarating and stunning

Part of the famous “ring of fire,” Rinjani mountain holds spiritual significance for the local people of the island of Lombok. Around the slopes of Rinjani, there are lush forests sprinkled with waterfalls and surrounded by stunning scenery. This mountain is a huge volcano of Gunung Rinjani, thought to be named from an old Javanese term for “God.”

Segara Anak is a spiritual place. The Balinese come here each year and perform a ceremony called pekelan, where jewelry is placed in the lake as an offering to the mountain spirit. The Wetu Telu people also regard the lake as holy and come here to pray on full moon nights.

A climb to the top of Rinjani mountain is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have in Indonesia. At 3,726 meters tall, Gunung Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia. The climb to the top may not be easy, but it’s worth it, and is widely regarded as one of the best views in the country.

Within the mountain is a crescent-shaped lake, the breathtaking Segara Anak, which is about 6 kilometers across at its widest point. This lake of sulfur is located 600 meters below the crater rim. Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, Mt. Baru, which is a result of a series of eruptions during the 1990s.

Mt. Rinjani lies within the Gunung Rinjani National Park. The park covers 41,330 hectares and sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallacea). This is where the tropical flora and fauna of Southeast Asia meets that of Australasia. This national park was established in 1997 and is one of over 40 throughout Indonesia.

For visitors, the three-day Rinjani trek route from Senaru to the crater rim, down to the Crater Lake, then on to Sembalun Lawang, is considered one of the best treks in Southeast Asia. More adventurous trekkers may want to head all the way to the summit of the volcano. This is best reached from Sembalun Lawang and takes four days, finishing up in Senaru.

To ensure that local communities benefit from tourism revenue, the Rinjani Trek is managed by a partnership of national park officials, the public and private sectors of the Lombok tourism industry, and community representatives. Community-run cooperatives coordinate the Trek at the Rinjani Trek Center (RTC) in Senaru and the Rinjani Information Center (RIC) in Sembalun Lawang.

Revenue from tourism activities and entry fees is used for conservation, management, and assisting the national park with maintenance of the Rinjani Trek, thus ensuring its sustainability. This management model is unique in Indonesia and considered an example of best practice of ecotourism in Indonesia.

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