There are a lot of things that you can do on a day trip from Jakarta. I want to tell you a bit about Gunung Padang. Let me tell you a bit about this ancient historical site and what you can expect if you visit here for yourself.
If you’ve never heard of it, Gunung Padang is located in Desa Karyamukti, Cianjur, West Java. It is probably around 120km from Jakarta. Reading about Gunung Padang and the result of several surveys done here made me realise that this is an extraordinary site. In fact, the site is almost as old, if not older than the ancient Egyptian civilization. According to most archaeologists, Gunung Padang was built over four different eras and it is amazing to think about just how well preserved the site is. I mean it covers a huge area, but it is very tidy. I am just so amazed by it.
How we are supposed to treat a Megalithic Site? Ohh.. I was really wondering about that while I was on the way to Gunung Padang. When I was in Gunung Padang, I saw some kids running around the site. One chubby guy rested his back on one of the standing stone. A couple sat on the top of a rock that looked like a chair to them, but it looked more like a table for me. I was doubtful step my feet and several times asked my friend: are you sure it is ok to step on this rock?
Gunung Padang visitors are a mix of people who want to enjoy the beautiful view, take photos and enjoy nature. The rest of them are people who are curious about the controversy regarding the site. Me? I am in the middle. I am curious about those beautiful ancient pyramids (well.. it was a really obvious shape) and about how many megalithic sites exist that are actually ‘hidden’ around the world? I also felt a bit like a detective and archaeologist. 🙂
Let me confess.. I do not know much about archaeology and geology, but let me tell you some useful facts. The entrance fee for this great megalith site is Rp. 2,000 (0.2 $), yes dude that cheap! This place is not hard to find. It took around 3 hours to reach there from Jakarta. From Raya Cianjur street (when you already reach Warung Kondang), you will see a sign to go to Gunung Padang on your left. From that road, it is another 20 km more. You will get a fake stone kind of thing at the entrance gate (which made me feel that the place was going to be crap – luckily it is an awesome site). From the parking lot you need to walk around 200 m to the locket to buy the ticket to explore Gunung Padang.
Back again to my earlier question about how are we supposed to treat a megalith site? I believe that the way most people treat it is wrong. First, the site is really clean, but the bad thing about it is there are plenty of food and drinks sellers around the site, rrr.. in the site. They are not supposed to be there, really! The great ancient megalith site suddenly changes into some kind of common area with the presence of them. Second, there are some small announcements such as: “don’t step through this area” or “don’t use the stairs” or some other stuff. In my opinion the signs were not clear enough or they needed to have several guards yelling at people to let people know when they accidentally do something wrong.
I am so happy that I did finally visit the site and admit that I am procrastinating quite a lot about the site after my visit. I believe that is not a crime! Have you ever visited any place like this in Indonesia? Share with me, I want to know 😀