Thursday, July 2, 2009

Volcano Museum reveals the mystery of Mt. Batur

Once, Hyang Pasupati, the god who resided on the top of Mt. Semeru in East Java, wanted to remove part of the mountain's peak to Bali to secure the land beneath the tiny island.

The peak on his right hand became Mt. Agung and the land on his left became Mt. Batur. So the story goes according to the myth of Bedawang Nala, displayed in the lobby of the Mt. Batur Volcano Museum in the Kintamani resort area, Bangli regency, 50 kilometers northeast of Denpasar.

Myths and legends surrounding the emergence of Mt. Batur have been retold for generations among the local Balinese, especially those living adjacent to the volcano, believed to be the island's first settlement area.

For both local and foreign visitors, Kintamani resort area offers one of the most scenic tourist sites on the island with its dark-blue Lake Batur and the eight and half mile-long Mt. Batur caldera, although many tourists are annoyed by the many street vendors and crowded streets.

Few visitors notice the Mt. Batur Volcano Museum, located within Penelokan (meaning the view or lookout in the Balinese language).

Built on a 2-hectare of plot of land, the four-story building, commissioned by the Ministry of Mining and Energy's Directorate of Volcanology and Geology, includes several sections, each explaining the origins of Mt. Batur and other volcanoes in Bali.

Tickets are sold from Rp 5,000 (US 50 cents) to Rp 10,000. Visitors are mostly school students who are eager to learn more about the island's geographic conditions.

The museum is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. through to 4 p.m., except on Balinese Hindu holidays. The Museum is also open on Sundays and national holidays, she said.

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