Kelimutu – Flores

Kelimutu Title pic-3

5th January 2010

‘Kelimutu’ – the most famous tourist spot in Flores {some say the most spectacular sight in the whole of Nusa Teggara Timor} – the coloured lakes that are formed within the craters of a massive volcano. The three lakes are different colours and they change colours at different times of the year. And I was on my way to explore…

It is a sacred spot for local people who believe that the souls of those that have died actually go to these lakes. Young people’s souls go to warm ‘Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai’ {the turquoise coloured lake}, old people’s souls go to the cold of ‘Tiwi Ata Mbupu’ {the brown coloured lake} and the souls of bad people go to ‘Tiwi Ata Polo’ {the black coloured lake}. They also believe that the spirit or ‘maE’ before entering one of the lakes, would first meet with ‘Konde Ratu’ the guard of the gate at Perekonde.

It is best to view Kelimutu at sunrise, so I was up and ready to go at 4.30am, it was a long trip on a winding road but eventually I got there. It was a long, steep walk up the track to view the first two lakes – as the colours do change colour due to the weather and also the minerals in the water – one lake was turquoise or light blue and the other was dark green {rather than the general common brown colour}. I rested here and had a cup of hot tea…it was really cold and I drank my tea and soaked in the view of Kelimutu.

I then started on the long trek up to ‘Inspiration Point’ where you could view the black coloured lake on the other side as well as the first two lakes – so all three lakes could be viewed from up at the high point. It was a super long trek up steep steps but eventually I made it. It was really quite amazing…although I felt a little freaked out thinking about the souls of the dead resting in the lakes. Not only just that… but also because many people had died here…some tourists and some locals, generally from getting too close to the edge of the crater and falling in…never to be found again…obviously the acid and minerals in the water would have dissolved their bodies. It felt really eery!

Kelimutu Coloured Lakes Pic Collage

There was a local man up at ‘Inspiration Point’ who was selling ‘Pop Mie’ {noodle soup in a polystyrene container} and ikat {traditional woven cloth}…he started telling me a story about a young boy from one of the local villages, that had come to Kelimutu and commited suicide in the turquoise lake just one month ago…so sad. I sat there for a while and just looked at the amazing view, before heading slowly back down the hill again.

Kelimutu The walk to Inspiration Point

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