Dieng Plateau – A Land Above the Clouds, Abode of the gods.

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Sikunir Hill

Somewhere in central Java, particularly in Wonosobo, there is a place called Dieng. It’s a plateau, known as one lf the biggest plateaus in the world along with Nepal and the biggest in Java itself. I have been waiting to go there for months and I finally got the chance to do so. At 2000 metres above sea level, Dieng has its charm and if you want to see something different in Central Java, this is the place to go because it is very temperate and calming. I was lucky to get rays of sunshine before it got cloudy in the late afternoon and let me tell you, it was beautiful.

As you grt higher in altitude, your eyes will be graced by the rolling, green hills of plantations, vegetable gardens and mountains circling the horizon. It was absolutely beautiful and it felt like you were in the highlands of France, that’s how amazing it all was. Dieng is from the language of Sanskrit “di” which means place and “Hyang” meaning Gods. Therefore, Dieng is a place where the gods reside and as my breath was taken away, I definitely realize how those two words are perfectly symbolized by everything that I saw. It made me feel so proud and blessed to be where I am; I don’t have to always be in foreign plains to experience such beauty where there’s a place as stunning as Dieng in my own country. We stopped by the side of the road for a while to admire the view and as I shivered, I slowly fell in love. So ridiculous how my heart falls so easily for sights like these but hey, if you were where I was that day, head over heels you will be.

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Arjuna Temple

The Sikunir hill is a place to catch the best sunrise. But even though I didn’t arrive on time to witness it, it was still great to see the  in Dieng also has some of the oldest Hindu temples still standing strong through the whipping of time and weather such as the Arjuna temple. Of course these temples are not like the Borobudur and Prambanan counterparts, but they are still in a picture perfect setting. Looking at how sturdy the Arjuna temple was, it gives you a peaceful feeling in the midst of the natural silence of the mountains. Yet Dieng also gives you another dimension besides the calm and peace being a volcanic area. No, the volcano isn’t about to erupt again anytime soon but the place still provides some interesting thermal areas.  One of these volcanic craters in Dieng is the Sikidang crater, bubbling hot with sulphur while spewing gas into the air. The sulphur seemed to jump around like a “kidang” which means deer. I mean, how witty is that symbolism?

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the Sikidang Crater

I loved walking along the plain towards the crater even through the smell of sulphur was strong on my nose. Now I have never personally seen a bubbling crater until Sikidang, and it was really like nature’s live jacuzzi. The volcanic soil is very fertile and when you look at the plains, hillsides and steep valleys, they are so green. But mind you, they were not your usual rice and cornfields, or even tea plantations. A lot of them were full of potatoes. This actually makes the price of french fries pleasantly cheap in the local restaurants which I didn’t mind at all!

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Anyway, moving on. While visiting the Sikidang crater, it got a little dark with clouds slowly creeping up and around the area. But the change of color and hue was still very breathtaking because it gave a very mystic tone which I love so much. That didn’t stop us from continuing our ventures in Dieng. The colored lake or Telaga Warna was the one I wanted to go to most. Even though it was cloudy, the turquoise, blue and green hues of the water due to sulphuric deposits were still very much alive and it gave the lake a dynamic feel. It really looked like an artist had blended the colors so perfectly. Surrounding the lakes, there were pathways with tall trees standing high above and it provided the peace for us to walk around.

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At first, I couldn’t believe that a place like Dieng existed but after this experience, I saw and I believe.

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