The Story of Bromo

Historian and art writer Jean Couteau brings us stories showing the life on Bali, sometimes real, sometimes fantasy meaningful. All day long the summit of Mount The Story of Bromo stands with a trail of smoke looming over it. From his roaring volcano spurts ash which covers the Tenggerese land with a brownish snow. Mount Bromo is the Javanese home of Brahma, the Hindu god of fire. It’s known as the furnace of the gods, with the mountain people, who occupy its slopes, as its guardians. Next to Bromo is the bigger Mount Batok, whose bare flanks give the impression that the mountain was carved out in the form of a reversed coconut shell.

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Surrounding both of these mountains is a big caldera of some 30 km of circumference. Behind Bromo looms a stretch of more rolling mountains, with the smoking Mount Semeru – the Meru of the Javanese, abode of the gods, at the farthest background. Probably the most fantastic landscapes of the world. At the neighborhood of the volcano reside a couple Dozens thousands of Hindus Tenggerese, brothers in religion of the Balinese. In the event the Balinese make offerings to the gods, the Tenggerese make offerings to the mountains. It is Said that in the days of yore, before the arrival of the Hindu gods, when the mountain rumbled too loudly, or when a blanket of snowy ash endangered to ruin the waiting harvest, the Tenggerese would select one of their very own to throw in the volcano, and thus pacify what they deemed as their sacred mountain’s wrath.

Then, with time passing, maybe nagged in their fantasies by the screams of those family members they thus killed, they decided to stop these human sacrifices. This is when love came into their land. But with it, as they soon found, followed new pain, till they established the rituals and offerings they present to the gods every complete moon of the Kasodo month, generally corresponding with March. Here’s story that led to the transformation – that of Roro Anteng. One afternoon, Roro Anteng, blossom of the Tenggerese, was engrossed in the beauty of her Bromo environment, when she saw a guy climbing up the mountain slope.

He jumped over stones with the nimbleness of a mountain goat. Fascinated by what she saw, she drew closer to get a better look. What she saw coming up was a well built young man with dark brown skin. His mustache curled up at his side along with his round eyes seemed to reflect a light. When he caught sight of her, he was taken aback by her beauty. They stared at one another in mute wonder. Handsomeness had met beauty in the land of the mountain god. The heart of the two boys was beating so difficult that they caused the mountain to rumble.

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