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Sacred Segara Anak Lake, perennial source of Lombok’s fresh water
Segara Anak on Mt. Rinjani is considered a holy place, and holds a deep, spiritual significance for the local people. Every fifth full moon, religious ceremonies are held at Segara Anak. During the rituals, small gold fish are released into the lake to honour the goddess Enjini, the queen and ruler of Mount Rinjani.
Every five years, there is a larger religious ceremony.Those who attend are not restricted to the people of Lombok, but Hindus from Bali, Java and Kalimantan also gather to embark on this sacred pilgrimage.
During the 16th century, the Kingdom of Karangasem of Bali, which was the ruling kingdom at that time, was hit by a long period of drought, resulting in the outbreak of disease. Faced with disaster, King, Anglurah Karangasem held vigil and meditation at the lake. Immediately after, rain soaked the earth, bringing salvation to the people of Lombok. The tradition continues to this day, in absolute loyalty and acknowledgement of a higher presence, beyond that of human life.
For three days, thousands of men, women and children scale the steep slopes of Ranjani to Segara Anak, which has been regarded as the spiritual center of the region for hundreds of years. Once at the lake, the crowd will disperse to the nearby caves for silent prayer, chanting and meditation. After the prayers, dozens of animals are sacrificed to represent the cleansing of evil elements from the earth. Nine species of animal are offered in the nine directions of the compass, including buffalo, cows and goats. Following the sacrifice, a number of animals are released into the wild to breed and create a balance of nature, and harmony between the human world and the universe.
At the peak of the ceremony, yet another sacrifice is offered. Precious metals of gold, silver and copper are carved into symbols of hope. Shrimp as a symbol of fertility.Turtles as a symbol of the world.Fish as a symbol of life.Birds, as a symbol of the universe.One by one, these objects are then sunk into the lake; expected to be returned with blessings of rain, good health and soil fertility. With this dedication to the gods, the ceremony is almost complete. By this time, evening has fallen. When the full moon is high in the sky, the mask dance is performed to wash away the exhaustion, andas a final declaration of praise to the Supreme ruler of the Universe. With this, the 6-day ceremony has reached its end.