Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 31 October 2012 • Itinerary
Pentagonal rocks. Rocks turned musical instrument. Mysterious megalithic ground.UFO sightings.What the hell is going on?! That’s how bizarre this site is, and naturally my geeky self had to see it. Gunung Padang is a small hill located not far from Cianjur, a city smacked in the middle of Bogor and Bandung. And no, there is no relation of it to Padang, West Sumatera. I’ve heard about this mountain a long time ago when I was traveling with my mate, Sally. Years later, Sally and I, also a few other friends thought our calling came and we had to finally see it. As any geek upon a quest to solve mystery and to make this whole journey a lot more fun, we had to believe. So with prayers and fingers crossed, we headed down to Cianjur and hoped to find the truth that was out there *cue X-files soundtrack*
Visited the Gunung Padang ancient site and Lampegan, the old abandoned colonial railway station. To enter the Gunung Padang site, one must pay a small amount of money not more than IDR 2000/pax.
We ate twice at random food vendors on the side of the street. Meals were no more than IDR 20,000 / portion.
How to get there and around
Head down to Cianjur. It takes about IDR 20,000 / pax on the local bus from Simatupang street, Jakarta. The nine of us chartered a minibus for IDR 350,000 to use from 10 a.m. till about 2 p.m. We headed back to Jakarta with the same bus.
Anything related to aliens is phenomenal, from the X-files, Men in Black, the Pyramids of Egypt (ya-ha! It has something to do with aliens), to that fashion brand with an alien face on it in the 90s. There’s something about their mystery that lets us (OK, me!) get away with our imagination. Or, it’s probably their dis-proportioned eyes, black as a black hole,which allures us to them. *Blank stare*
Befriend an alien fan like Sally, I’ve maintained that edge to wonder about aliens and UFOs. But as a common human being, I’m bounded by gravity, dependent on air, and ‘dude, where’s my shuttle?’. So the closest thing I could get to an alien encounter was to visit a site, which was said to have a lot of UFO sightings. My lamer reason to go was because I heard about the rocks that can turn into musical instrument.
This time I traveled with Sally from Jakarta, and met up with Rani from Bandung. These are 2 of my smartest friends ever a.k.a. true geeks which has a say on extraterrestrial life. Along with Rani, were wacky Mala and Kanti, and a few other friends. All wore veils except yours truly.
This site is known to be a place of gathering and worshiping. There has never been an easy way to see the gods, and Gunung Padang is another example of it. To get to the site, you’ll have to climb ancient stairs made of rocks from the gateway. Although short, the stairs up are very steep, the kind that would test your knees. Oh gods, why thy so cruel to knees everywhere around the world?
The complex was extensive. Hundreds, if not thousands, of rocks were scattered around the hill. It was like a dismantled Legoland waiting to be built in to a castle. Some rocks were still enacted as part of an establishment, some just laid there, and some appear to burst from the ground. Uniquely, most of the rocks were a five-sided cylinder shaped known as columnar basalt rocks from volcanic origin. The location is situated not far from the volcanic Mount Gede-Pangrango, which could explain things.
These rocks are not uncommon. Many Indonesians believed the rocks were carved or blessed into this shape. Understandable, since I think most of us have never heard of any other place in Indonesia to have the same kind of rocks.
What’s even cooler was some of the rocks are able to sound the pentatonic notes of the Sundanese music. During certain times, ceremonies or art performances use these rocks as part of their instruments. I did try it and sure enough, it had some resonant sound like hitting something metallic. Like any site ancient site, we’re not supposed to try hit the rocks to preserve its tone and existence, but I found that out later on. Oopsies!
It is said that this megalithic site was dated as soonest as 1500 BC. That’s old! It was believed to be a place of holy gathering and worshiping. I can only imagine, in those times they’d probably have sacrifices and was swirling with magic. Hiiiiiii… .There are indications that the site itself is bigger than the Borobudur reaching 25 hectares with chambers underneath the surface. See? Mysterious!
There were myths all around the place. There was one rock, should you be able to lift it, your wishes will come true. When considering alien activities, I’m sure this rock has super powers of some sort. However, no matter how strongly I want my wish to come true, it will rain gold before I could lift that baby up.
We couldn’t find a tour guide. So we strolled around the complex to finally climb the watching tower.We randomly asked a man that was wearing a uniform and was doing some cleaning, Pak Nanang. He told us there is no tour guide. He was a local that chose to work around the site as part of taking care of his heritage. Aawww… . He acknowledged the site being sacred grounds as told by his ancestors. He was the one that informed us about the chambers found about 15 m deep, which showed in the borehole tested by scientists. He also shared his personal experience witnessing a blue dome surrounding the site on one random night. But no alien encounter. As much as he seemed to just be one of the cleaners of the complex, he was more of a guide full of information, told in a rich Sundanese accent. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if he speaks much English.
Did we see aliens? Nope. But even the fanatics rarely see them. The fact that we only visited the site this one time pretty much showed our odds of encounter are lower than finding a needle in a haystack. Nonetheless, the gang and I were pretty pleased to be able to reach an alien site. Overall, I was very happy to see such an ancient site, something that left me with my imagination of what could have been. It wasn’t Sally’s first hunt but it was mine, and I’m sure it won’t be my last *preparing head lamp*
The abandoned Dutch station was one of the many that is left by the colonial days. The train company had no longer used the train station nor the railways, and all is left is a pretty historical mark. The tunnel dated back to 1882, which comes to no surprise since all the tracks and most of the station of Indonesia are from the colonial days. Yes, we ride on old iron.
Not too invested in the tunnel itself, I was amused by the fact that motorcycles come in an out of it. It must be some shortcut to the other side of the hill. Thank God the train didn’t run, although I’m sure that people would still go through the tunnel even if the train did run.
During our trip, we had two meals. We just picked some random stalls because we have stomachs round–the-world travelers dream of having. Muhaha!
We first had noodles at some stall at the gateway while just relaxing and enjoying the air.
We also had a meal by jumping in a random ‘warung nasi’ or restaurant where they sold rice with various side dishes from marinated tofu, bean cake, fried chicken, sautéed veggies to choose from, and served ice cold sweet tea. Each of us spent no more than IDR 20,000 / portion.
Most warungs will be located near the bus station. Do look around before eating. You wouldn’t want a stomach ache when you come back from Gunung Padang.
Head out Cianjur! Sally and I headed out on the economy AC bus from Jakarta, caught on the Simatupang road. We had the best seats of all: on the stairs of the front door, facing the door. Sure we weren’t able to rest our backs for 3 hours, but we had the best view in the bus.
Each of us paid IDR 20,000 / pax.
Once rounded up the herd of cool gals, we haggled a mini bus that was plentiful near the bus station. We haggled IDR 350,000/bus to take the 9 of us to Gunung Padang. Gunung Padang site is hidden in the hills of Cianjur, West Java. Beautiful humble village life upon a small asphalt road will accompany you from the city of Cianjur to the last car point.
The drivers know how to get there so we trusted them. Sweetly,he took two of his friends to tag along since they haven’t seen the site either. Ah the more the merrier!