At Ketep Pass. The Garuda is looking toward Gunung Merapi. This site was officiated by President Megawati Soekarno.
We arrived at Jogja on the 3 rd of May with a chance to get a glance at Gunung Merapi. The cloud was thick and we managed to see the top part only for a few seconds. The next day was our 'view Merapi day'. We travelled by 'Kijang'(equivalent to Toyota Unser but with better suspension) to Ketep Pass which is a viewing point for tourists. Ketep Pass has an audio-visual theater (Gunung Merapi's eruption in 1994/98), Gunung Merapi Museum, viewing spots, a restaurant and a mussola. There is a Garuda statue looking towards Gunung Merapi. From Ketep pass, we can see a huge valley, Gunung Merbabu on the left and Gunung Merapi just next to its right. Gunung Merbabu is higher volcano than Gunung Merapi but is inactive.
We waited for a few hours but unfortunately the peak was not visible due to heavy clouds.
We left Jogja for Solo on the next day from Manohara Hotel, Borobudur. We were able to see the heavily cloud covered peak of Merapi. The frustrating travel changed when the sky started to clear up with Merapi's peak getting clearer as our 'supir' Mr Anang made a detour towards Babadan. We we able to see new points of small eruptions as new brownish smoke points. We were grateful to Allah for granting our wish.
A clear view of the peak. A few seconds after the centre parts started to break and release smoke. (200 mm zoom and size minimised)
Gunung Merapi that stands 2920 metres is an active volcano in Jawa Tengah. There are a few other voclano such as Gunung Merbabu, Gunung Sumbing and Gunung Lawu but all of them are inactive. Gunung Merapi is of great significance to the Jogja kingdom. The royal family of Jogja karaton still gives yearly offerings to the 'protector' of the mountain. Gunung Merapi with it garuda-like peak is a symbol of strength and greatness to the people. The soil is fertile, the hardened lava which is black in color are shaped into various ornaments. The black sand can be used to built bulidings.
Gunung Merapi had erupted many times within the last 15 years. In 1994, the eruption was was strong killing many due to the hot lava flow called 'nuee ardentes' and the hot cloud the local called 'wedus gembel' that measured 3000 deg celcius, rising 3000 metres above the peak of Merapi. This moving hot cloud will burn anything in its path. During the 1998 eruption, about 68 farmes were killed by the nuee which can travel as fast as 110 km per hour pouring down the steep slopes to the rivers, 66 people were killed and hundreds disfigured by 'wedus gembel'.
For us, it was a great experience to be able to watch the small eruptions of Gunung Merapi, the most active volcano on Earth even from afar.