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Penelokan

From the bamboo forests north of Bangli, the road emerges to a lookout above a huge volcanic basin. Ribbons of black lava ripple down the valley from the misty peak of Mt. Batur.

This is Penelokan, "the place to look", where the world changes colors. Sometimes, the still lake there resembles blue glass, and at others, a sheet of platinum. In chartreuse and vermilion bonuses, the mountain grasses stride along the rim of an ancient crater surrounding Mt. Batur.

Legend tells of Pasupati (Siwa) dividing the sacred Hindu mountain Mahameru and placing the halves in Bali, as the volcanoes Gunung Agung and Batur. Next to Agung, Batur is the most revered of Bali's mountains. Temples throughout the island honor the deity who dwells at its summit. Penelokan is a good place to make a lunch stop at one of its high standard restaurants. A short steep corkscrew road leads down to Kedisan on the lakeside where boats can be hired. On the flank of the volcano opposite Trunyan at Tirta Bungka, are hot springs set beside the cold waters of the lake, nature's sauna for tired travelers who have climbed Mt. Batur. Nearby, the hotel Tirta Yatra, is a convenient place to stay before or after climbing the volcano.

Formerly, the people of this area lived relatively unperturbed at the base of the holy volcano. In 1917, Batur violently erupted destroying 65,000 homes, 2,500 temples and more than a thousand lives. Lava engulfed the village of Batur but miraculously stopped at the foot of the temple. The people took this as a good omen and continued to live there. In 1926, a new eruption buried the entire ternple except the highest shrine, dedicated to God in his manifestation as Dewi Danu, goddess of the lakes and waters. The villagers were then forced to resettle on the high cliffs overlooking Batur. They brought the surviving shrine with them and rebuilt the temple, now known as Pura Ulun Danu of Batur village.

 

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