Visiting ancient sites at the base of Jomblang Caves

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After descending into the cave, visitors must leave through a 500-meter path down a small hill. (photo: IO/Prive. doc)

IO – Indonesia is a country that has vast landscape and is rich in diverse natural scenic beauty. Not only is it superior to the beauty of sea and mountain tourism, in this country there are ancient forest sites as well. In Gunungkidul district, DI Yogyakarta, a karst region that stores hundreds of caves to explore. Of the hundreds of caves in this region, there is one of the caves which is a favorite destination of local and foreign tourists, namely Jomblang Cave, which is located in Pacarejo Village, Semanu District. This vertical cave has a depth of 60 meters to get to the location, one must pass the stone road approximately 500 meters. Upon reaching there, visitors will find a small house that can be used to rest. After getting an explanation from the guide, visitors are welcome to choose boots because the tourists have to pass through muddy roads whilst inside the cave.

When entering the vertical cave, visitors will be given a helmet as a safety requirement. Visitors are given a single rope technique (SRT) to go down the cave. A number of pullers who are local residents are prepared by managers so tourists can get off. The sensation of hanging on a rope about 3 minutes to descend the bottom of the cave required great courage, especially, for me as I am afraid of heights. But the sensation of seeing rocks and trees along the way paid off when going down the cave. Arriving at the base of the cave, two guides were ready to welcome and take off the rope. When at the bottom of the cave, there are trees that were on the surface from millions of years ago as the geological process of subsidence of a number of plants that are currently not found on the surface is at the bottom.

Eversince Mount Sewu was established by the UN agency UNESCO as one of the new members of the Global Geopark Network in 2015, until now the cave of Jomblang has been designated as the world’s geopark icon. The ranking is the same as Jeju Island in Korea and Langkawi in Malaysia. But long before it was inaugurated, this cave ecosystem was already known throughout the world.

“There is one tree whose type has not been known until now. Some time ago the researchers who came were also unable to figure out what type it is,” said one of the guides. Small trees, small and slightly elongated leaves have not yet been named. “The fruit is like a mango. One has a small tree named chili because the fruit looks like chili,” he said.

After enjoying the beauty at the bottom of the cave, tourists will be invited to enter into a horizontal cave to go to Luweng Grubug. There is a room that is quite spacious. During the rainy season the road is rather slippery because the clay mixes with water. But, don’t worry because the manager has installed rocks for the footing, and the lights used to illuminate the road. After traveling about 300 meters, visitors will hear the swift water from the underground river. The longer the journey you will see the light that emerges from the muddy hole of Grubug. There is a hole from above, whereby the rays of the sun will slowly begin to enter the cave, and this is often called ‘Rays of Heaven’. All visitors capture this rare moment. When the weather is cloudy, it doesn’t take long for the sun to enter between the holes. But, this does not curtail the beauty in the cave. The water that drips from a height and makes stalagmites (a collection of calcite derived from dripping water) beautifies the landscape.

Jomblang Cave is one of 13 geosites in Gunung Sewu located in Gunungkidul. The government and managers continue to strive to preserve the ecosystem. The formation of the Jomblang Cave because of the sinkhole millions of years ago, and due to its uniqueness, was nominated as a famous tourist destination in Indonesia. As one of the unique locations, it’s good to visit the city of Yogyakarta. This natural tourist spot is definitely a must visit. (Aldo)