“So, then, the dream in which I had had a vision of the prehistoric world, of the tertiary and post-tertiary periods, was now realized. And there we were alone, in the bowels of the earth”
The lines from the Jules Verne’s classic, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, has held true for many people for over a century and a half. It can for you too.
Goa Jomblang in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a part of the cave system formed hundreds of years ago across Gunung Kidul. You will be lowered on ropes into the sinkhole that is easily 25 meters in diameter and 50 meters in depth. The sinkhole was formed when the roof of the cave collapsed years ago. Your Journey to The Centre of the Earth fantasy has three parts – The Jomblang Cave, your descend to the underworld; the tunnel that leads you to the Grubug cave and the Grubug Cave.
Tighten your harness belts as you step off the ridge and go down holding ropes. Advice – sit back, relax and enjoy the lush greenery around. A Jurassic Park moment, people! What awaits you is an underground forest with a trail to the tunnel leading to Grubug cave. The tunnel is 7 meters wide, 4 meters high and 250 meters long. While stepping inside the tunnel, leaving behind the light of the Earth’s surface for the darkness of the underworld and smelling the increasing dampness in the air, one cannot help but feel a frisson of excitement. The ground is marshy with slippery rocks. The tunnel grows narrower and midway it becomes pitch-dark. It is when you take your final turn in the darkness that the Grubug cave shows itself, a magical sight. Or Gollum’s cave, if you may. You are immediately captivated by the silver light making its way into the tunnel, as if from the heavens.
The moment is so surreal and mystical that it takes a while to truly come back to reality. The Grubug cave too has a sinkhole that allows the light to stream down into the cave and illuminate the otherwise pitch-dark cave. The second striking feature of the cave is its enormous size. It looks like a huge cathedral, minus the props. If you hear the trickling sound of water, look around. Don’t see anything? Intrigued? To break the suspense, head over to the edge of the cave and peek down. You will find a small river making its way through the cave with molten lava by its side.
The tour is always organized in the late morning hours and ends at 12 pm as light through the opening above the cave is the brightest and most beautiful around noon. Before you descend into the sinkhole, you will be given boots for a better access to the uneven and wet ground.
Goa Jomblang is every fantasy fan’s dream come alive, every caving enthusiast’s wish realized and if you are neither, rest assured, it will be pretty extraordinary anyway.