Mount Agung – Active Volcano, Holy Pilgrimage to Besakih Temple

If you’re the outspoken member of the Community you’re likely to get into trouble.

I have never been one to remain quiet.

I spent a significant amount of time in 2017 blogging about Mount Agung our active volcano whom I affectionately named The Big Fella.

I was accused of fear mongering, which I find amusing.

I became friends with a reader who decided to come for a vacation to Bali, after reading one of my creative blogs about our unpredictable mountain.

I made a point of letting my readers know that I am terrible at science, and quite frankly the technical compositions that make up our Big Fella sound like gibberish to me.

I have since learned that Mount Agung is a strato-volcano also known as a composite volcano, it didn’t surprise me at all to discover Mount Agung is amongst the powerful of all volcanos.

The eruptions from these types of volcanos may be a pyroclastic flow, rather than a flow of lava.

A pyroclastic flow is a superheated mixture of hot steam, ash, rock and dust.

A pyroclastic flow can travel down the sides of a volcano at very high speeds, with temperatures over 400 degrees celsius.

Composite volcanoes can rise over 8000 feet.

Our Holy Mountain woke up on December 30, 2018 and again on January 10, 2019 after being asleep while a entire five months during the series earthquakes that hit Lombok, which began in July last year.

Devy K Syahbana, the PVMBG’s head of Eastern Region Volcano Mitigation Subdivision said in January that Mount Agung had returned to its eruption phase before the Lombok Earthquake.

He further added a satellite report by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin explained Bali’s Mount Agung eruption spewed volcanic ashes reaching more than 2,000 meters from its summit, or about 5,400 meters above sea level.

In a Press Release on March 17, 2019 The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation of the Geological Agency, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Recourses, said that after 54 years the holy Mount Agung had began his eruption on November 2017 and that activities are still happening.

Yes they are.

A few weeks back I made a holy pilgrimage to Pura Besakih Temple with my husband and niece. Although I was aware of the possibility of an eruption at any time, I was not aware of the masses of Balinese who where also making this holy pilgrimage.

Besakih Temple sits 1,000 metres high on the south-western slope of our Big Fella.

Basakih Temple is made up of over 86 temples. On the day we made our pilgrimage it seemed as though the entire Pasek clan from the Island of Bali had also decided to venture out.

This year a very special ceremony was taking place, known as Panca Wali Krama, a complicated process to give gratitude to the Gods, which only occurs once every ten years.

Panca Wali Krama is the second largest ritual that happens at Pura Besakih after Eka Dasa Rudra, which is held once every 100 years.

It was during the Eka Dasa Rudra t celebration in 1963 that the mighty Mount Agung erupted, miraculously the temple survived the devastating eruption at that time.

The thought did cross my mind about the possibility of an eruption as we waited in human a traffic jam for three hours to reach our ancestral temple. Then I remembered my faith and felt honoured to be part of such an auspicious spiritual journey.

Human traffic jam at Besakih

Holy Pilgrimage Panca Wali Krama at Besakih Temple Bali

Mount Agung has erupted several times since our pilgrimage.

Most recently only two nights ago.

21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm.  Sutopo Purwo Nugroho from BNPB tweeted.

A column of thick gray volcanic ash, leaning towards the West threw eruption material reaching 2,500 – 3,000 metres from the peak in all directions.

Mount Agung Eruption 21 April 2019.jpg

Photograph Mount Agung eruption 21 April, 2019 at 6.55pm photograph Sutopo Purwo Nugroho @twitter

Life goes on as normal here in Bali, the most recent eruption happened while I was sweating it out in an aerobics class with women in my village. We were oblivious of any showcasing from The Big Fella.

One thing I know for sure is that there has never been a more exciting time to visit Bali.

You never know what will transpire in any one day.

Aerobics in Bali

Aerobics with Ibu Ibu in a Balinese Village

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

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