Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice terraces, beautiful surf beaches and coral reefs in the north .Soaring 9950 feet above sea level, Mount Agung is the highest mountain on Bali and the fifth highest volcano in all of Indonesia. The volcano is also the home of Pura Besakih, a temple complex in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia. It is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, and one of a series of Balinese temples. Perched nearly 1000 meters up the side of Gunung Agung, it is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. The temple is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. The entrance is marked by a candi bentar (split gateway), and beyond it the Kori Agung is the gateway to the second courtyard.
As of late Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of gray ash about 9,800 feet into the atmosphere since the weekend and lava is welling up in the crater. Indonesian authorities raised their warning for the volcano to the top level four alert, and told residents around the mountain to immediately evacuate, warning of an “imminent” risk of a larger eruption. Because of ash clouds in the atmosphere Bali airport has cancelled all flights on November 27th, 2017. This has been done for safety reasons as engines of airplanes may stop operating when flying through an ash cloud. For the same reason currently Lombok airport is closed. If the airport remains closed for a longer period and you have to go back to work, there is a possibility to leave the island by ferry and travel to Surabaya where you’ll find Juanda international airport. If you don’t have a tour manager or travel company to assist you than call your travel insurance company. They can always assist with transportation and alternative flights.
How long will the eruption last?
It’s hard to predict how long an eruption will last. Best is to look back at previous eruptions. Mount Agung had only one recorded eruption in 1963 (previous eruptions were not recorded). Based on that eruption it seem unlikely that the activity subside any time soon. It is most likely the activities will continue in the next weeks or months. The principle hazards at present are the mud-flows and ash – which can cause disruptions both on the ground and for air transport. Monitoring agencies will be running weather simulations to predict where the ash cloud will go, whether flights will be grounded grounded can change from day to day.
At Desa we are monitoring the eruption closely and stay in touch with our local agent to see if it is going to impact our tours departing next year June. It is not likely it will impact our itineraries but if it does we will immediately contact our travelers and post updates on our blog.
For the Balinese Mount Agung is the center of everything it is a place where the gods live. According to a Balinese legend, without Mount Agung, Bali would not exist. It was said that what is known as ‘the island of Bali’ today, used to be untethered, floating about the ocean and very unstable. Life on the floating island was difficult for the people. The gods then came, and Mount Agung was given to the people. It’s an anchor, a stake that keeps everything together. Dozens of priests are praying and bringing offers in the hope to please the gods, the temple was briefly reopened by local officials, who deemed it necessary for prayers to be held there.
The local authorities have been keeping a close watch on activity at Mount Agung, and Indonesia’s volcano monitoring body, Magma, posts minute-by-minute updates on seismic activity around Bali’s highest mountain. Yet, according to Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency, while the chance of an eruption is high, its timeline cannot be predicted. This may mean that for thousands of evacuees there’s no telling how long they will be away from home. That, Bali’s residents believe, remains in the hands of the gods. And perhaps that is the best way to look at it, after all you are in paradise. Tetap Aman- Stay Safe.