Mount Rinjani also known as Gunung Rinjani, is an active volcano on the island of Lombok. It rises to 12,224 feet or 3,726 meters,making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. On top of the volcano is a 3.7 to 5.3 mile (6 by 8.5 kilometer) caldera, partially filled with water, that has become known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea). So called because of the incredible blue color of the lake. The astounding Gunung Rinjani National Park,is our 7th stop in the travel series A World Far and Away.
It is thought that the name Rinjani, comes from an old Javanese term for God.
Mount Rinjani as well as the caldera lake, are both part of the Gunung Rinjani National Park, which was established in 1997. Segara Anak Lake is near 6,600 feet (2000 meters) above sea level and is estimated to be about 660 feet or 200 meters deep.
This caldera also contains hot springs. The most popular among these is Aik Kalak, at the crater rim.
The park sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone, known as Wallacea. It is where the tropical flora and fauna of Southeast Asia meets that of Australasia.
The Sasak tribe and Hindu people, profess that both the lake and the mountain are sacred. As a result, a number of religious ceremonies are staged in the area.
The Balinese come to the Segara Anak Lake and perform a ceremony called Mulang Pakelem. During the procession, jewelry is placed in the lake, as an offering to the mountain spirit.
This annual Hindu ceremony at the crater lake, dates from the 18th century invasion of Lombok,by Balinese from the kingdom of Karangasem. It attracts hundreds of white clad participants
The Wetu Telu also regard the lake as sacred. They will come on full moon nights, to pray and commune, with the larger spiritual world.
Rising from the waters of the lake is a new volcano known as Mt. Baru, which is a result of a series of eruptions, that occurred during the 1990’s.
In addition, there are three well known caves at the park. These are identified as Gua Susu, Gua Payung, and dan Gua Manik.
Tourism to the area has grown increasingly popular. Most recently, it has been interrupted due to geologic activity at various intervals. The summit route was closed for a time in July 2009 and again in early 2010, through May of that year, as volcanic activity increased.
September 2016 was the last eruption witnessed on Mount Rinjani, but the entire area remains geologically quite active.
In April of 2018, UNESCO made the Mount Rinjani Caldera, a part of the Global Geoparks Network.
The Gunung Rinjani National Park is comprised of 159.6 square miles or 41,330 hectares. The protected area includes a further 250 square miles (66,000 hectares) of forest.
In 2004, Mount Rinjani had obtained the World Legacy Award from Conservation International and Traveler. It was also a finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 2005 and 2008 from the World Travel Tourism Council.
In December 2010, a photo of eruption of Mount Rinjani, won the National Geographic Photography Contest.
Tourists looking for an outdoor adventure, can traverse the park or engage in a climb to the summit of the mountain.
The view from the top is widely regarded, as being one of the best in the entire country of Indonesia.
Around the slopes of Mount Rinjani are vibrant forests, with a variety of exotic birds and animals, sprinkled with waterfalls and surrounded by outstanding scenery.
For visitors to the park, the three day Rinjani trek route from Senaru to the crater rim and then down 600 meters (1969 feet) down to the Crater lake, then moving on to Sembalun Lawang village, is considered one of the best hikes in all of Southeast Asia.
For those more adventurous travelers, a trek to the summit of the volcano itself will take four days from Sembalun Lawang, finishing up in the village of Senaru.
From the absolute peak, travelers can see Bali to the west and Sumbawa to the east.
The surrounding communities have benefited from the increased tourism, due to the business partnerships between the public and private sectors. Revenue from visitor activities and entry fees, is used for conservation and management of the park. This model is unique in Indonesia, and is one of the best examples of Eco-tourism in the country.
Most visitors arrive to the park, from the village of Senaru, which is located on the northern side of the mountain. This is closer to the main resort areas of the west coast, including Senggigi. The other point of access would be from the village of Sembalun, on the eastern side of the mountain, which is far closer to the summit.
Both of these villages can be accessed from the main north coast road.