Gua Jomblang, located in Dukuh Jetis Wetan, Semanu District, Gunung Kidul Regency, is a vertical cave that requires visitors to descend using safety equipment. Although it is located in a secluded area far from the hustle and bustle of society, this cave is popular among both local and international tourists.
In 2011, Gua Jomblang was used as a filming location for “The Amazing Race,” an American television program. In 2020, it was also used as a filming location for the Twogether film starring Lee Seung Gi and Jasper Liu.
Here are five interesting facts about Goa Jomblang, the hidden beauty of Gunung Kidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta.
Formation of Gua Jomblang
According to Gunungkidulkab.go.id, Gua Jomblang is a vertical cave that formed thousands of years ago as a result of geological processes. At that time, there was a landslide of soil and vegetation to the bottom of the earth, forming a sinkhole or a “luweng” in Javanese.
Prehistoric Forest Inside the Cave
Unlike the surrounding area, which is relatively dry due to being in a limestone mountain area, the inside of the cave is lush and abundant with various plants not found outside. There is even a prehistoric forest inside the cave, as if there is another world underground. When the sunlight enters through the cracks and mouth of the cave, it creates a stunning atmosphere.
The vertical depth of Gua Jomblang is very varied. There are paths with depths of 80 meters (route A), 60 meters (route B), and 40 meters (route C). Beginners usually use route C to explore the cave. At the end of the cave, there is another sinkhole called Gua Gubruk, which is the deepest sinkhole on the island of Java, with a depth of 80 meters.
Connected to an Underground River
The bottom of Gua Gubruk is an underground river that flows rapidly. Two large green-brown stalagmites also stand tall on the bottom of the sinkhole. At 1 PM, sunlight enters through the mouth of the cave, creating a beautiful glow known as the “light of heaven.” The dripping water also adds to the scenic beauty.
Despite its beauty, Gua Jomblang has a dark history. According to Dream.co.id, the cave was allegedly used as a site for the mass murder of PKI members. It is estimated that hundreds of PKI members were executed in the cave. During the execution, they were lined up on the edge of the sinkhole with their hands tied together. When one person was shot, they would all fall into the bottom of the cave and perish.
Gua Jomblang is not only a popular tourist destination, but it also holds a significant geological and historical value. Visitors can explore the cave’s prehistoric forest, underground river, and witness the stunning light of heaven. However, it is also important to acknowledge its dark past and reflect on the tragic events that occurred in the cave.