Gunung Rinjani National Park lies within the major transition zone(Wallaceae) where the flora and fauna of South East Asia makes a dramatic transition into that which is typical of Australasia. The Park has a rich variety of plants and animals, although they can be hard to spot due to the terrain and rainforest cover.
Sometimes seen early in the mornings is the rare black Ebony leaf monkey, known locally as Lutung.
TheLong tailed grey macaque or Kera is common in Lombok and older males are seen on the crater rim. Rusa deer are forest dwellers and are occasionally seen along the Rinjani trek trail. The smaller Barking deer or Kijang has an alarm call with a distinct dog-like bark. Look for the disturbed ground where the Wild pig or Babi hutan has been foraging. Also found in the forest is the Leopard cat or Bodok alas, Palm civet or Ujat and Porcupine or Landak.
A variety of colourful birds live in the forests of the Park. Perhaps the best-known icon of the Park is the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that is not found any further west of Lombok. Many of the forest-dwelling animals, insects, birds, civets and monkeys owe their survival to the wild fig tree or Beringin as a provider of food and shelter. The pine-like Casuarina species, Cemara, are a feature of the grassy higher slopes. Orchids or Anggrek are also a feature of the grassland areas, as is Edelweiss or Bunga Abadi growing above the tree line; it is a beautiful icon of the Park and one of our best-known sub-alpine plants.
RINJANI MULANG PAKELEM CEREMONY
The annual Hindu ceremony of Mulang Pekelem, a heritage event in Lombok that dates fromthe 18th century invasion and subsequent settlement of the island by Balinese from the kingdom of Karangasem, always attracts hundreds of celebrants.
The 2006 ceremony, held late in the year, attracted more than 500 celebrants to Segara Anak lake, 1998 metres above sea level in the crater of 3700-metre high Mt Rinjani.
The 200-metre deep lake is sacred to Hindus (as well as being a place of pilgrimage for Lombok’s majority Moslem population).
In 2006, Mulang Pekelem was held on November 5, ahead of the twin Hindu Galungan and Kuningan annual festivals at the end of November and beginning of December.
Mulang Pekelem is a ceremony in which prayers and offerings are made for the safety and prosperity of the people. It dates from a time shortly after the Hindu settlement in west Lombok in which the population was afflicted by prolonged drought and an epidemic.
According to tradition, the king had an apocalyptic vision and instituted a series of ceremonies in which gifts of gold, silver and copper, in the shape of fish and prawns, were offered to the gods at the lake, one of Indonesian Hinduism’s most sacred places, before each rainy season (December to March). The offerings and prayers request peace and prosperity for all.
This year’s ceremony attracted followers from Bali and Java as well as Lombok.