Dieng Plateau, or simply known as Dieng by the locals, refers to a marshy plateau located 2093 above sea level between Banjarnegara and Wonosobo district in Central Java. This plateau is particularly famous among the archaeological world as the place where the oldest Hindu Temples in Java were discovered. The name ‘Dieng’ comes from Di-Hyang (above of the Gods), and it is thought that this was once the site of a temple-city of priests. Today, this site is a must visit for the archaeological enthusiasts and those that want to explore Central java beyond the regular Yogyakarta and Solo. To appreciate Dieng, it’s best to stay in Dieng village, although Wonosobo has better facilities and more popular as the main gateway. Alternately, many Yogyakarta travel companies also offer tours to Dieng.

1. The Dieng Temples

It has been said that there were originally stood over 400 temples, built between the 8th and 9th century but now only 8 remains.  Clustered together on the central plain is the Arjuna Complex consist of Shiva temples, which like other Dieng temples,  have been named after the heroes of the wayang stories of the Mahabharata Epic – Arjuna, Puntadewa, Srikandi, Sembrada and Semar. These temples are linked by raised walkways, because most of this land is waterlogged, but you can see the remains of ancient underground tunnels which once drained the flatlands. Located further south are the Candi Gatutkaca, Candi Bima, Candi Dwarawati.

2. Telaga Warna & Telaga Pengilon

These two telaga or lakes are located close to each other, only divided by plains running down between them and are the next must visit attraction for anyone visiting Dieng. Telaga Warna is a beautiful lake with turquoise hues caused by the bubbling sulfur deposits around its shores, while Telaga Pengilon is a clear lake which is named after the Javanese word for ‘mirror’ because of its calm and clear surface, resembling a mirror. Aside from the amazingly beautiful surrounding forest and hills, these lakes are also where you can find the endemic bebek mliwis or the Pacific Black Duck, a breed that isn’t too common in the island.

3. Bukit Sidengkeng (Petak Sembilan)

a view of Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon from Bukit Sidengkeng 

For the photographers, this will be your favorite place as it will give you the best view of the two lakes mentioned above, and also a sweeping view of its surrounding view, including the majestic Sindoro Mountain. To reach this place, you will need to walk from Petak Sembilan tourist area (Wana Wisata Petak Sembilan) in between the acacia trees that are predominant in the area. Even for beginners, the hike would only take about 20 minutes.

4. Sembungan Village

This village is considered as the highest village in Java, at 2300 m above sea level. Because of its distance from the next village, the Sembungan people are said to have different Javanese dialects, habit, and culture. In the old day, Sembungan village struggled with the economy and was considered a very poor village, until in the 1980s they started planting potatoes, which flourished due to its position above the sea level and the fertile land. The potatoes started to drastically change people’s prosperity. Today Sembungan is a unique village that offers not only the amazing attractions surrounding it but also the warmth of its people. From this village, you can also visit the beautiful Cebongan Lake located right in the middle of the village.

5. Sikunir Mountain

A mountain that offers a spectacular view, stretching across Dieng and east as far as Merapi and Merbabu volcano on a clear day. To reach the hill for sunrise, you will need to start ascending from Dieng Valley at around 4 am. It is about one hour walk to Sembungan village and just another 30 minutes to the top of the hill. From here, you can see the breathtaking view of Mount Sindoro.

6. Museum Dieng Kailasa

Located in the Dieng Kulon Village, this museum is a where you can find information and displays for anything Dieng related, from history, its people, culture, belief, to the flora and fauna. Occupying a 560 square meter land, this museum is divided into two sections; the first part was built in 1984 and houses numerous relics related to the temples in Dieng Plateau, the second part was built in 2008 and has a more varied collections. It provides information about the history of the Dieng Plateau, sources of stone for the temples, the people’s belief system, myths, and many more. Here you can also find a theater that plays historic reels. The museum is open from 07.00 am to 16.00 pm, and admission ticket is Rp. 5,000.

7. Dieng Cultural Festival

Photo credit: lailiira.blogspot.com

Held annually as a community celebration, the festival presents a variety of art and cultural performances, Dieng’s finest products exhibition, and to top it all is the unique or ruwatan anak gimbal, or a special ritual ceremony specifically for kids with dreadlocks, who the locals believed have spiritual meanings which require certain rituals.  The festival is highlighted with the release of traditional lanterns, a leather puppet wayang show, traditional art, and cultural performances, and a fireworks fiesta. Adding sparkle to the festival will be a Dieng Film Festival and Jazz performances entitled Jazz above the Clouds. As every year, the pinnacle of the festival will be the ritual of trimming off of kids’ dreadlocks.

For more information, visit www.dieng.id