The Dieng Plateau is a caldera complex formed after an eruption of Mt. Prau. The caldera was once full of water which then dried up. However, volcanic activity continues to this day as you can find sulfuric fumes and poisonous lakes in the area. Located at an altitude of 2000m, the temperature here is also much cooler compared to the surrounding lowlands. The ancient Javanese Hindus built temples here and hailed Dieng Plateau as a sacred place.
The word Dieng came from the Sanskrit words Di (Abode) and Hyang (Gods), so Dieng means “Abode of the Gods”. The Javanese Hindus built hundreds of temples in this place but only eight are left. The temples were built from the 8th century to the 13th century during the Sanjaya Dynasty and resembles those of the Prambanan, but on a smaller scale. The local people named the temples based on the characters in the ancient Javanese Hindu legend which is similar to the famous Hindu epic, Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Dieng Plateau holds thousands of natural charms and has a rich ancient heritage. One of the many activities that tourists enjoy doing here – other than indulging in the splendor of the ancient temples; is watching the sun rise.
The temperature there ranges from 15-20°C in the daytime and 10°C at night. In fact, sometimes the temperature can reach 0°C in the morning, especially between July and August. Local residents call the extreme temperature as a “bun upas” which means “dew poison” because moisture causes damage to their crops.
If you’re lucky, you can chance upon the “golden sunrise” and the “silver sunrise” in just one day. Both are tremendously beautiful.
The place is part of the Wonosobo regency, the plateau is located at a crossroads between Wonosobo, Banjarnegara regency, Temanggung regency, Kendal regency and Batang regency. To watch the sunrise, you have to be at the Sceneries Shelter at Tieng Village, which is some five kilometers in downtown Wonosobo. It takes less than 30 minutes to get there. If you are leaving the town early – around two or three in the morning, the morning chill and the thick air may be another challenge to beat considering that the post sits at 1,700 meters above sea level. However, suffering through the biting air will be rewarded with a scenic view. As we descended to the post, dots of light from Wonosobo and its nearby cities formed a dramatic panorama.
Nearby villages like Kejajar and Rowojali looked like they got covered with a curtain of morning mist that is slowly falling from the dark sky. The color of life practically changed every second. Gradually, you will get a glimpse of Sindoro Mountain and Kendeng Mountain from afar.
If the sky is clear enough, you will enjoy a great view of the sunrise. In the darkness, we saw the pinkish sky become accentuated with strokes of golden rays of the sun. Soon, the sky turned orange and the sun showed its round shape.
In a matter of a second, the chilly atmosphere is replaced with a friendly, warm wind, blowing off the mist. When the curtain of mist disappeared, we saw a sea of lush green farms around us. You can hear the sound of chirping birds and farmers chatting in the distance. But don’t get too absorbed in this rare beauty for we have another sunrise to chase at the Dieng Temple Compound, which is around ten minutes from the Sceneries Shelter.
It may not be as spectacular as the first, but it has an entirely different flavor. The sun rises from behind clusters of temples. From behind the Hindu temples, if, again, the sky is clear, you can see a ray of sunshine. It is silvery, hence its name, the “silver sunrise” and penetrates through the old stones of the temples.