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The remains of no fewer than 81 temples are scattered over the slopes of Gunung Penanggungan (1650m). This sacred Hindu mountain is said to be the peak of Mt Mahameru, which according to legend broke off and landed at its present site when Mt Mahameru was transported from India to Indonesia.
Historically this was a very important pilgrimage site for Hindus and a few Javanese mystics, meditators and Hindus still visit the mountain today. Pilgrims make their way to the top of the mountain and stop to bathe in the holy springs adorned with Hindu statuary. The two main bathing places are Candi Jolotundo and Candi Belahan, the best examples of remaining Hindu art. Both are difficult to reach.
In a stunning setting on the evergreen western slopes of Penanggungan, PPLH Environmental Education Centre is a supremely relaxing and interesting place. It’s mainly set up to teach groups about the merits of organic agriculture, composting and garbage management. Expert guides can be hired for hikes (140,000Rp per day) and they’ll gladly explain about plants used for herbal medicines. There’s an organic restaurant and good, rustic accommodation is available in pretty bungalows with outdoor bathrooms, or in more basic dorms. School groups pass through from time to time, disturbing the tranquility somewhat, but most of the time it’s very peaceful. To get there, take a Trawas-bound minibus (6000Rp) from Pandaan and an ojek (10,000Rp) from Trawas.