Address : Dusun Keceme, Gerbosari, Kecamatan Samigaluh, Kabupaten Kulon Progo, Provinsi DI Yogyakarta
Ngabehi Yasadipura, a man of letters from Keraton Surakarta, in his book entitled Cabolek tells a story about Raden Mas Rangsang, the crown prince of Islamic Mataram Kingdom, who received divine inspiration that he would be the ruler of Java. According to the supernatural guidance, Raden Mas Rangsang had to walk from his palace at Kotagede, Yogyakarta, to the west. Arriving at Menoreh Mountain Range, about 40 km westwards, he fainted from exhaustion. In his unconsciousness, Raden Mas Rangsang, who was later known as Sultan Agung Hanyakrakusuma, received another inspiration that told him to do tapa kesatrian (meditation) in the place. It is the place that people now call Suroloyo Peak.
Suroloyo Peak is really a mythical tourism area. Aside from the above story, there is another myth saying that the peak is the kiblat pancering bumi (center of four directions) of Java. The local people believe that the peak is the center of Java Island if drawn axes from north to south and east to west. This belief encourages people to come to this place in the Javanese New Year’s Eve (1 Suro/1 Muharram). People come to do some kind of ritual to ward off misfortune, which is believed by Javanese to come especially in Suro month.
In Ancient-Hindu times, people believed that Gods’ abode was upon Himalaya Mountain, the highest peak in the world. However, since it was hard at that time to imagine how the peak looked like, Hindu priests in Mataram depicted Gods’ abode using Suroloyo Peak. The peak was known to be the highest place in Mataram Kingdom.
Another spot in Suroloyo area that is just as sacred as the peak is Mintorogo hermitage. As told in a wayang story, Mintorogo hermitage is known as the place where Janaka meditated and received a bow and arrows he used in Bharatayuda War to defeat King Newatakawaca. The hermitage was named after Kyai Ajar Mintorogo, a powerful man. As for the word Mintorogo itself means to live a simple and modest life.
There are two other worth-visiting spots in the area, Kadiwatan and Kawidodaren Springs. The springs are believed to be holy places where the gods and fairies take a bath. Beside, there is also Enceh Suci, a fountain which people say was a mosque.
Suroloyo Peak is the highest point of Menoreh Mountain Range. The mountain peak that has become part of Islamic Mataram’s history is now a natural tourism object in the west part of Yogyakarta. The peak’s beauty is worth the effort of hiking through the bumpy and windy passages. At the altitude of 1.019 m, tourists can see the stunning landscape of Java in eight directions, seeing the mountains and beaches miles away.
The best time to visit the peak is when the sun is rising until 10.00 a.m. It is much more beautiful when the sky is clear. To get to the peak, tourists have to walk up for 150 m, through 286 steps, with the inclination of 30-60 degree. Despite the difficulties, the area’s cool atmosphere and the walk that is more like a healthy physical exercise make the hiking really fun.
Tourists can enjoy the scenery in three observation stations usually called “pertapaan”, namely Pertapaan Suroloyo, Pertapaan Sariloyo, and Pertapaan Kaendran. Pertapaan Suroloyo is a space of 7 x 15 m wide. It is this place that people believe to be the hermitage of Sultan Agung. From here, facing northwards, tourists can see Magelang city and Borobudur Temple. In the southeast, there are seen the city Yogyakarta and Prambanan Temple. In the northeast, there is Merapi peak covered with clouds.
At Suroloyo peak, tourists may witness breathtaking scenery. They can see Borobudur Temple in bird view. There are also seen the mountains duo Merbabu-Merapi and Sindoro-Sumbing that stand to each other beautifully. The natural beauty of Menoreh surrounding Suroloyo adds to the pleasantness. Sunrise and sunset are extraordinary from this place, especially when the sky is clear.
Pertapaan Sariloyo is an ideal place for those who want to see the landscape of Mount Sumbing and Mount Sindoro in Central Java with its area of conservative forest and hilly texture. Below the observation station which is 200 m west of Suroloyo peak, there is a space called Tegal Kepanasan in which a monument stands upright as a bordering mark between Yogyakarta and Central Java.
Pertapaan Kaendran is about 250 m southwest of Suroloyo Peak. Here tourists can enjoy the wide view of Kulon Progo area stretching up to the South Coast. At distant, from west to east, Indian Sea spans throughout the shoreline. Glagah Beach is also seen from here.
Every Suro 1st (Muharram 1st), more than 5.000 people crowd the place. They come to watch Jamasan ceremony, washing the spear Kyai Manggolo Murti and umbrella Kyai Manggolo Dewo in Kawidodaren spring, 300 m south of Suroloyo Peak. The two heirlooms of Yogyakarta Sultanate have been entrusted to the Keceme Village elder, Mbah Manten Hadi-Wiharjo, since the time of Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX.
Suroloyo Peak natural tourism area is situated in Keceme Village, Gerbosari, Samigaluh District, Kulon Progo Regency, Special Province of Yogyakarta.
To get to Suroloyo, tourists must take their own vehicle because no public transports operate there. The trip can be taken by either motorcycle or car. But if you are a mountain biker, Suroloyo scene is very challenging track. One thing important is be sure that the vehicle is well-prepared as the passage is steep and windy. Moreover, the passage is too narrow for two vehicles at a time. On the left and right, there are deep gorges that, even covered with leafy trees, are somehow dangerous.
From Yogyakarta, tourists can take the route Godean-Kenteng-Nanggulan-Kalibawang-Suroloyo. For those from Semarang or Magelang, the recommended route is through Magelang-Muntilan-Wates Street-Kalibawang-Suroloyo. There is an alternative route, from Borobudur heading southwards until Samigaluh Bus Station. From there tourists must continue the trip on foot because there is no other way to the peak except a narrow footstep. However, the scenery is just outstanding throughout the route.
There is no specific charge to visit Suroloyo. Tourists can enjoy the natural tourism object for free.
F. Accommodations and Other Facilities
There are indeed not many choices of food in Suroloyo. There are only small stalls providing coffee, tea, and modest food. Tourists can stop by to eat at some food stalls in Nanggulan which is quite far away. In Nanggulan, there is a satay stall which is Kulon Progo Regent’s favorite place to eat with his guests.
Text: Adi Tri Pramono
Photo(s): Collections of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Reza Daffi
(Primary data and various sources)