Gunung Bromo – Tosari, Indonesia - Atlas Obscura

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Gunung Bromo

Tosari, Indonesia

Of five volcanoes located in the massive Tengger caldera, this cone is the youngest and most active. 


Gunung Bromo is a particularly photogenic active volcano located in the Tengger caldera. A caldera is a depression left after a volcano erupts. Inside the circular Tengger caldera, there are five volcanoes: Bromo, Batok, Kursi, Watangan and Widodaren. Of these, only Batok is inactive. 

When it comes to one or more volcanoes inside a caldera, size matters. Extending from Semeru, the tallest volcano in Java, the Tengger caldera measures 16 kilometers (10 miles) across. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes.  Gunung Bromo is the youngest and most active of the five, with more than 50 eruptions documented since 1804. Bromo’s eruptions can be explosive and are often preceded by little to no warning. Though it reaches a respectable altitude of 2,329 meters (7,641 feet), Bromo measures just 133 meters (436 feet) tall from its base.

The perfectly cone-shaped volcano is significant to the local Tenggerese people. In fact, the name Bromo stems from the Javanese pronunciation of Bhrama, the Hindu god of creation. As a way of demonstrating appreciation to Bhrama, during the Yadnya Kasada festivities, locals gather on top of Gunung Bromo to pray and make offerings.

Surrounding these volcanoes is a vast expanse of black sand known as the Tengger Sand Sea. A unique ecosystem covered in volcanic sediment, the Tengger Sand Sea has been a protected nature reserve since 1919.

Know Before You Go

Gunung Bromo can be reached from the nearby village Cemoro Lawang.  It’s about a 45-minute hike. Jeeps and horses are also available for covering the distance. To fully appreciate the hues and colors of the volcano, the early morning view from Gunung Penanjakan is unbeatable. A word or warning regarding the weather: during the night, temperatures often go below freezing point, especially between May and September.

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