Mount Penanggungan (also called Pawitra) with its highest peak of 1,653 masl is an almost perfect cone volcano (in resting state) located in East Java Province, precisely between Mojokerto Regency and Pasuruan Regency. Mount Penanggungan is a small mountain in the larger Arjuno Welirang Mountains cluster. Mount Penanggungan is only 55 km from the city of Surabaya, but public transportation goes to its climbing posts very rarely.

Mount Penanggungan is often referred to as a miniature of Mount Semeru. This is because according to ancient Javanese beliefs, Mount Penanggungan is the peak of Mount Semeru itself which was cut by the gods to balance the island of Java which at that time was tossed around in the ocean. This also makes Mount Penanggungan included in the list of one of the sacred mountains for Hindus in Indonesia.

You must have imagined,
How can you climb this mountain and reach all its peaks?
Where do you start?
How do you get there ?
When can you get there?
How much will it cost?
Where can you get the services of a guide and porter?
Where can you get climbing equipment?
What mistakes are made by most climbers?
What difficulties will you encounter?

Many questions without answers! A lot of your time and energy is wasted without getting really important information to start climbing to Penanggungan Mountain.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with information about what you need to climb Penanggungan Mountain and what mistakes you should avoid. Then, for those who don’t want some headache and want to delegate the organization and logistical tasks to Go Volcano, you’ll find the program and related price.

Finally, for the curious minds, in the end of this article we will talk about Penanggungan Mountain, the believes, and the legends that surround this mountain.

8 Things You Need to Know Before Climbing Penanggungan Mountain

How to go to Penanggungan Mountain?

To start climbing to Mount Penanggungan, you can go to Surabaya City first. Surabaya is the capital of East Java Province which can be easily reached by almost all modes of transportation in Indonesia. As for the Mount Penanggungan hiking trail itself, until now it is known that there are 4 routes that can be passed, namely through Tamiajeng Village, Jolotundo Village, Kedungudi Village, and Kunjorowesi Village (north side). The most popular and most frequently used path is the Tamiajeng Village.

How to go to Tamiajeng Village?

To get to Tamiajeng Village from Surabaya or Malang, you can use the economy class bus and stop at Pandaan bus station. From here, you have to look for public transport (usually in the form of minibus called L300) or “ojek” to get to Trawas. If you use public transportation, you must get off at the Koramil Trawas Headquarters, then continue the journey with “ojek” to the Tamiajeng Village Hiking Post.

You can also take a taxi from Juanda Airport to go directly to Tamiajeng Hiking Post at a cost of around 400,000 – 500,000 rupiahs.

How to go to Jolotundo Village?

To go to Jolotundo Village from Surabaya or Malang, you can use the economy class bus and get off at Pandaan bus station. From here, you have to look for public transport (usually in the form of minibus called L300) or “ojek” to get to Trawas. If you use public transportation, you must get off at the Koramil Trawas Headquarters, then continue the journey with “ojek” to Jolotundo Bathpool.

You can also take a taxi from Juanda Airport to go directly to Jolotundo Bathpool at a cost of around 400,000 – 500,000 rupiahs.

How to go to Kedungudi Village?

To get to Kedungudi Village from either Surabaya or Malang, you can use the economy class bus to then stop at the Pandaan bus terminal. From here, you have to look for public transport (usually in the form of minibus called L300) or “ojek” to get to Trawas. If you use public transportation, you must get off at the Koramil Trawas Headquarters, then continue the journey with “ojek” to Kedungudi Village.

You can also take a taxi from Juanda Airport to go directly to Kedungudi Village at a cost of around 400,000 – 500,000 rupiahs. You just tell the taxi driver that you want to go to Jolotundo Bathpool, from here you can ask the people around the direction to Kedungudi Village.

How to go to Kunjorowesi Village, Ngoro?

You can reach this hiking trail by using an economy class bus either from Malang or Surabaya with the aim of the “Bundaran Apollo”. From here you can continue the journey to Kunjorowesi Village by using “ojek”.

When to go to Mount Penanggungan?

Mount Penanggungan is open for climbing activities for most of the year. At the dry season, if there is a forest fire, the climbing activities will be temporarily closed. May to September is the best time to climb to Mount Penanggungan.

Do I have to pay for the entrance fee?

Yes, you have to buy an entrance ticket on three official hiking routes, namely the Tamiajeng Village, the Jolotundo Bathpool, and the Kedungudi Village. As for the Kunjorowesi Village, there is no need to buy an entrance ticket because this is not an official route and there is no climbing post.

Where to sleep?

On three official hiking trails, you can find many hotels and homestays in the area around Trawas because this area is one of the tourist destinations. Trawas provides various types of accommodation and of course with various facilities and prices. As for the Kunjorowesi Village, there are no homestays or hotels at all. If you choose to climb through this route it is recommended to look for hotels or inns in Surabaya and Sidoarjo areas.

Climbing Mount Penanggungan, with or without guide?

Penanggungan Mountain is basically quite safe for climbing without the help of guide services through the Tamiajeng trails. But if you choose to climb through the Jolotundo, Kedungudi, or Ngoro trails, it is recommended if you use the services of a guide. This is because at some points of the hiking trail there are intersections that can mislead you. By using guide services, you can feel free to explore ancient sites in the Mount Penanggungan area.

Where can I get guide and porter services?

To use the services of a porter, you must contact the climbing post of each routes to ask for the availability of a guide and porter. As for the Kunjorowesi routes, you are advised to contact one of the posts above to ask about the availability and agreement of the meeting point. Or you can use travel organizer services to accommodate your needs.

Where to Find Climbing Equipment?

There is no rental or climbing equipment provider around the climbing post area. You must bring your own climbing equipment to climb Mount Penanggungan (unless you use a travel organizer service that has prepared all your climbing travel needs).

Mistakes to Avoid Before and During the Hike and Climb of Mount Penanggungan.

  • Come without knowing the climbing activities are being closed.
  • Do the hike alone and not well informed.
  • Doing the hike without proper equipment.
  • Doing climbing without being accompanied by someone who knows the conditions and direction of the hiking trail.

We have talked about the preparation before climbing Mt. Argopuro. Now let’s talk about the hike itself!

Mt. Penanggungan hiking

Mt. Penanggungan hiking through Tamiajeng

Climbing Mount Penanggungan through Tamiajeng village is the most popular official route because of the relatively short climbing time. You also need to know that there are no water sources along the Tamiajeng hiking trail, so make sure you bring enough water.

At the beginning of the hiking trail you will be presented with rocky roads to Post 2 with a relatively gentle slope. After Post 2, you will be confronted with a solid soil gut and climb up trails to Post 4.

From Post 4, the path starts going up steeply to the top of “Puncak Bayangan” where trekkers usually set their tents. This path is very dusty in the dry season and is very slippery when the rainy season. The estimated time to climb from Tamiajeng Post to Puncak Bayangan is around 2-3 hours.

From Puncak Bayangan, you will pass the sandy path and rocks with a slope of about 45 degrees to the Top of Mount Penanggungan (1,653 masl) with an estimated walking time of about 1 hour.

Mt. Penanggungan hiking through Jolotundo

Mount Penanggungan hiking trail through Jolotundo is longer than the Tamiajeng trail. However, this path has its own uniqueness with the existence of several ancient sites along the hiking trail. This line only has a water source in Jolotundo spring, besides that, there will be no more water sources along the climbing path. The hiking trail starts with a trail from the climbing post to the Bayi Temple which is also the first temple on this path.

After that, you have to take the left path through the former ancient lava flow and continue with the uphill path through the forest. The second temple that we will meet on this path is Putri Temple which is also the largest temple on the Jolotundo hiking trail.

Still following the path, after Putri Temple you will arrive at Pura Temple. Pura Temple itself is a temple that is not neatly arranged (in ruins) but is quite large in size. A 15-minute hike from Pura Temple, you will be welcomed by the Gentong Temple, which has a shape similar to a place of worship with a large barrel (water container) made of stone.

The next route will direct you to Sinta Temple after 10 minutes walking from Gentong Temple. This temple is the last temple on this path. After Sinta Temple, the climbing path will be increasingly uphill with the trees starting to decrease near the limit of the vegetation. Continue to follow the path until you arrive at a fairly large plain, from here you can continue the journey to the summit with an estimated time of around 15-30 minutes climbing.

Mt. Penanggungan hiking through Kedungudi

This hiking trail is located between the Tamiajeng hiking trail and the Jolotundo hiking trail. This hiking trail was officially opened in 2014. You will begin your journey from Kedungudi Village. This pathway also has several temples that you can find along the hiking trail.

Starting the climb from Kedungudi Village by walking about 3 hours through the path in the PT Perhutani plantation area until you arrive at the first temple. Along this path you can also see large pieces of andesite stones, as well as ancient Mount Penanggungan lava flows before you arrive at Carik Temple.

Continuing the journey from Carik Temple for 30 minutes, you can find another temple. This temple is called Lurah Temple, where you can also set up tents because the flat land available is quite big.

20 minutes of climbing from Lurah Temple you can see Guru Temple which is located at the Sarah Klopo Peak by passing steep and rocky paths. From Lurah Temple, you can also head to Shiva Temple which is located just below the hiking trail. This temple has a foundation of andesite which is neatly arranged.

Continuing the climb from Candi Guru by following the path, you will find a temple without a name that is already formless, leaving only a slate of temple stones and terracotta fragments. A little climb following the path, you will find the Vishnu Temple with the characteristics of the wall attached to the slopes of Mount Penanggungan.

After Vishnu Temple, you will go directly to Butol Cave. On the way to Butol Cave, about 15 meters to the right of the lane you can find Kama Temple. This temple is slightly covered by thickets of shrubs and kaliandra. Arriving at Butol Cave, you can immediately continue the journey to the top or rest in this cave.

Mt. Penanggungan hiking through Kunjorowesi – Ngoro

This hiking trail is the hardest and fastest climbing route of Mount Penanggungan among other routes. Also keep in mind that this is not an official route, so you will not find climbing permit posts. Therefore for those of you who are just climbing for the first time through this route it is strongly recommended to use the services of a guide.

This path starts from Jedong Temple, following the village road to Kampong Telogo, Kunjorowesi Village. This hiking trail is also the same as other routes that do not have water resources along the path.

After Kampong Telogo, you will enter the dense mahogany forest area by following the main path that is quite clear to the south. After the mahogany forest, your trip will pass through the root forest. There is no large tree vegetation in this area with its path consisting of sand and stone until you enter the reed area which is commonly used by climbers to set up tents.

After the reed area, you will go to the wide plain which is the meeting of hiking trail from Kunjorowesi and Jolotundo. On the way to this plateau, you will find Merak Temple (1,011 masl), Lemari Temple (1,049 masl), Yudha Temple (1,082 masl), Pendhawa Temple (1,082 masl), and Naga Temple (1,135 masl).

From this plain area to the summit of Mount Penanggungan you can reach in about 30 minutes of hiking.

All aspects of Mount Penanggungan climbing have been mentioned. Now it’s time to talk about Mount Penanggungan itself! For those of you who are curious, below you will find an explanation of this mountain, along with the history and myths that follows it.

Penanggungan Mountain

Penanggungan Mountain (formerly named Mount Pawitra), with its peak at 1,653 meters above sea level, is an almost perfect cone volcano (dormant) located in East Java, Indonesia. It is located is in two districts, namely Mojokerto Regency (west side) and Pasuruan Regency (east side), located approximately 55 km from Surabaya. Penanggungan Mountain is a small mountain located within the larger Mount Arjuno and Mount Welirang cluster. Penanggungan Mountain is often referred to as a miniature of Mount Semeru, because of its peak that has extensive sand and rocks. According to ancient Javanese beliefs, Mount Penanggungan is one of the top parts of Mahameru which was moved by natural rulers. Penanggungan is one of the holy mountains of Hindus on Indonesia.

In terms of history, this mountain has important values. Across the mountain slopes are found various ancient relics, both temples, hermitage, and baths from the Hindu-Buddhist period in East Java. Based on a two-year study (2012-2014) there were 116 scattered sites or archaeological objects, ranging from the mountain feet to almost the mountaintop. Some of the ancient sites found were Jedong Gate (926 AD), Jolotundo Pool (10th century), Belahan Pool, Kendalisodo Temple, Merak Temple, Yudha Temple, Pandawa Temple, and Selokelir Temple. In addition to Hindu buildings, there are also punden terraces and hermitage found in this area. The temples on Mount Penanggungan have a unique style; the building is attached to the slopes of Mount Penanggungan.

An ancient Javanese text, the “tantu panggelaran” records that in the distant past, the holy Mt Mahameru was transported from India to Java, in order to hold the island in place. During the journey, however, the mountain began to break apart, pieces of it falling to earth to form a chain of volcanic peaks. The base became Mt Semeru, Java’s highest mountain, while the summit, Mt Pawitra, came to rest on the plains to the south of Surabaya.

The legendary Mt Pawitra is identified today with Mt Penanggungan, which spans the regional boundaries of Pasuruan and Mojokerto. Rising just 1,650 metres above sea level, Penanggungan is not a high mountain. It is, in fact, dwarfed by the 3,000 metre peaks of the Arjuna/Welirang range which lie not far to the south. Yet, this mountain’s unique shape, as well as its isolation on East Java’s northern plain, make Penanggungan especially prominent. It has a central, almost perfectly rounded summit, below which lie four minor peaks, more or less symmetrically located in the cardinal directions. Little wonder, then, that the ancient Javanese saw in the form of Mt Penanggungan a reflection of the sacred Mahameru of Hindu mythology.

Although research on Mt Penanggungan had already begun during the early years of this century, it was not until the 1930’s, following an expedition which revealed no less than 81 separate locations, that the mountain’s importance as an archaeological site came to be fully appreciated. Since many of the monuments had no name, they were eventually given Roman numerals by Professor van Romondt in 1951, a system of classification which has since remained the standard one.

Dated inscriptions from Mt Penanggungan span a period of more than five centuries, from A.D. 977 until 1511. The earlier remains, notably the bathing places of Belahan and Jolotundo, have been connected with the historical figures of Mpu Sindok, Udayana, and Airlangga in the 10th and 11th centuries. The majority of the sites, however, date from the later Majapahit period and are to be found higher up on the mountain’s northern and western slopes.

Taking the form of small, terraced sanctuaries, built against the natural contours of the mountainside, this group of monuments exhibits the tendency in the declining years of Majapahit towards a re-emergence of ancient traditional beliefs, connected principally with the worship of ancestral spirits and the souls of departed heroes. Orientated to the summit of the mountain, the buildings consist, for the most part, of three or more stepped levels, crowned with a type of altar, or ‘ancestral seat’ (pelinggih). Relief carvings found at some of the sites, such as at Candi Kendalisada, while not so different in style to those found on other East Javanese temples from the same period, tend to display themes which are at once more mystical, as well as more firmly rooted in local tradition.

The numerous stone sanctuaries scattered over the slopes of Mt Penanggungan have further been compared with the complex of temples at Besakih on Mt Agung in Bali. In much the same way as different regions and clans are represented at Bali’s ‘mother temple’, Penanggungan has been seen as representing the ‘mother mountain’, upon which the various kingdoms of East Java built religious monuments.

Many of Mt Penanggungan’s more accessible sites can be found on the slopes of the minor peaks of Bekel and Gajah Mungkur. Intending visitors have the choice of starting out from a base on the western side, at Jolotundo, or from the northern slope, at the gateway of Jedong. Guides, who are an essential requirement, can be arranged from these two points of departure. A full day’s climbing can cover about half a dozen interesting locations, set in the midst of a wild, mountain landscape.


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