Indonesia is rich with natural tourism potentials and the back-stories of each spot. Often behind the charm of every lake, forest, mountain, and sea, there’s a myth passed down from generation to generation accompanied them. One example is Three Colored Crater Lakes in Mount Kelimutu, Flores. Volcanic activities in the mountain can change the color of the three crater lakes, similar to White Crater Lake in Ciwidey, West Java. The color changes according to the chemical reaction with the minerals
contained in each lake. The lakes are quite famous, so our group was enthusiastic to visit the lake and took picture there.
Previously, I already told the story about the hotel where we spent the night and also the trip to Mount Kelimutu.
It was early in the morning around 7:30, other than the bus that we took, we saw some unique Flores transports already in the parking lot. Public transport in Flores is a unique small truck with a wooden fence and tarp roof to fit more passengers. We also saw some direction arrows pointing to the Three Colored Lake marking each crater with its altitude above sea level.
We then went up to the stairs a bit, and turn left on a dirt paved road among beautiful trees. We walked leisurely and enjoyed the fresh air along the way.
Formation History of the Three Colored Lake Kelimutu
Initially, there are three mountain forming the ancient Sokoria supervolcano, which was Mount Kelido (1641m asl), Mount Kelibara (1630m asl), and Mount Kelimutu (1640m asl). From the three, Mount Kelimutu is the only one still active.
Its body is built with pyroclastics rocks (bombs, lapili, scoria, paste, ash, hot clouds, and magma) and molten lava. On the summit, three craters remain after the mountain’s eruption displaced its peak.
Water then filled the craters with differing colors. According to the National Park officer, the colorful lakes are triggered from a chemical reaction between minerals contained in the waters and the gas coming from the volcanic activity.
Each lake has its own name, which is Tiwu Ata Polo (red lake), Tiwu Nua Muri Ko’o Fai (green lake), and Tiwu Ata Mbupu (blue lake).
According to the signposts, there are two platforms where we can observe the lake clearly. On the first one, we can see two lakes side by side.
Even though they’re both blue, they have different tint between them.
A long time ago, the wall between the lakes could be traversed on foot. But erosion has thinned the wall greatly.
To go to the second platform, we need to climb some sloping stone steps. We have to be cautious because there were no railings to grab on.
Some of our friend has readied some walking sticks to help them.
From this platform, we can observe all of the crater lakes in Kelimutu. Turns out, the third lake is a bit secluded and has darker color.
Charmed by the three colored lake, we were busy taking pictures in various poses and forms.
Once we were satisfied, we descended the mountain to continue the trip. We slowed down a bit since some of us were shopping some fabrics sold along the footpath.
The Legend of Three Colored Lake Kelimutu
The legend of the three colored lake has been passed down for generations. Until now, Mount Kelimutu is still believed to have mystical powers.
They say that the lake formed on the summit is the result of a fierce fight between Ata Polo, a cruel man-eating witch doctor, and Ata Mbupu, a respectable and kind community figure.
One day, a pair of Ana Kalo (orphans) asked Ata Mbupu for protection after their parents died. Ata Mbupu then took them in and hid them in the field to protect them.
Attracted to the orphans, Ata Polo searched for them to be eaten. Realizing this, Ata Mbupu tried to delay the witch doctor and made an agreement that Ata Polo should return when Ana Kalo has grown up, because they would be more delicious. The witch doctor then agrees.
When both orphans grown up into a young lady (Ko’o Fai) and young man (Nuwa Wuri), they asked Ata Mbupu permission to leave the field and hide in a cave. When Ata Polo came to collect and couldn’t find them, he was furious.
Then, Ata Mbupu and Ata Polo fought. Unfortunately, Ata Mbupu white magic power is no match for the witch doctor’s black magic. Ata Mbupu then disappeared into the earth. While furious Ata Polo burned the forest, which made the earth swallowed him.
The fight had also made a massive earthquake that buried Nuwa Wuri and Ko’o Fai alive when they were hiding.
On the spot where Ata Mbupu disappeared, rose dark blue colored lake named Tiwu Ata Mbupu, which believed to be where the spirits of parents gather. While on Ata Polo’s spot, a red colored lake emerged, which then called Tiwu Ata Polo, believed to be the gathering place of evil people’s spirits.
Light blue lake rose from the place where the orphans buried, it was named Tiwu Nuwa Muri Ko’ofai.
The last of the lake is believed to be the gathering place for the spirits of children and young people.
Until now, the locals still believe that what happens in the world can be related to the color changes in the lake’s waters. For example, when there’s political turmoil, then the lake’s water will turn red.
What do you think fellow bloggers?
Would you believe that there’s a connection between real-life events and the changing colors of the Three Colored Lake Kelimutu? [wid]