Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mbah Maridjan’s home now tourist attraction

Mount Merapi’s deceased spiritual guardian Mbah Maridjan’s home in Kinahrejo hamlet in Sleman, Yogyakarta, has now become a tourist attraction.

The remains of Mbah Maridjan’s house are currently one of the most visited attractions for tourists.

“Nearly every day hundreds of tourists come to see Mbah Maridjan’s home and its surroundings. The number of visitors is also especially high on weekends,” said local tour guide Sunardi, 40, who lives in Ngrangkah on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara News.

Many Kinahrejo, Ngrangkah and Umbulharjo residents are also using this opportunity to provide motorcycle taxi services, since the road is difficult for larger vehicles.

“The cost is only Rp 20,000 [US$2.22] one way, and tourists are escorted throughout Ngrangkah and Kinahrejo for as long as they want, including to scenic places to photograph,” Sunardi said.

If tourists do not take a motorcycle taxi, they have to walk one and a half kilometers. Local residents also do not allow private cars to drive to Kinahrejo to prevent traffic jams.

According to Sunardi, one motorcycle can assist up to 10 visitors a day. There are currently more than 10 motorcycle drivers working in turns.

Ki Surakso Hargo, also known as Mbah Maridjan and considered the spiritual guardian of Mount Merapi, was found dead, possibly burned by hot ash from the volcano, in his home in a mountain village in Yogyakarta in November of last year. He was 85 years old.

He first made headlines when Merapi erupted four years ago, as he and several of his followers refused to evacuate the area. Many believed the 2006 eruption would not get worse because Mbah Maridjan had remained on Mount Merapi’s slopes.

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