Tenggerese Hindu Horsemen of Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia


Not long ago we befriended a Hindu horseman named Mr. Kalak from the Tenggerese people around Mount Bromo.

When Islam took over Java in the 1500s some of the Hindu people didn't care to convert.  So, they fled up into the haunted mountains around Mount Bromo & Semeru knowing that few would dare to follow them there.   

After hundreds of years having little contact with the Muslim Javanese living all around them, the Tenggerese language & culture became unique in Java.  The Tenggerese live in these mountains following an unusual mix of Hinduism, Buddhism & animism.  Eventually outsiders opened roads to spectacular Mount Bromo.  Then Tenggerese men found they could eek out a living by renting horses to tourists who wanted to ride to Mount Bromo.

Not wanting to just do the touristy thing, on our recent visit we asked if we could ride instead to Mr. Kalak's Tenggerese village.  Kalak called another Tenggerese horseman . . . 

& they led us down through green hills covered with steep mountain vegetable gardens.  Here & there Tenggerese homes hung onto the mountainsides.

Along the trail an old sarong-clad Tenggerese man warmed himself in the morning sun while enjoying a stunning mountain view. 


Once in Mr. Kalak's home we met his son.  Tenggerese boys just like boys everywhere else--they love getting dirty!

A family member warms her baby from the cool of Tengger land's high altitude.

Kalak's wife shows us amazing hospitality by putting on a delicious Tenggerese breakfast--spicy tempe (TEM-pay) soybean cakes, potato fritters & spicy chicken.

When breakfast is all done Mrs. Kalak relaxes in her woven bamboo kitchen--her sarong tied across her shoulders.

Kalak then takes us for a walk around the Tenggerese villages to meet his neighbors.  A farmer smiles while pausing before a village house dusted with Mount Bromo's volcanic ash.

An old guy in a "cowboy" hat walks the Tengger mountains every morning peddling household items.  He too is wrapped in his sarong to keep warm in the chilly mountain air.  He welcomes being able to step into a village house to escape the crisp mountain breeze.

We meet a band of Madurese farmers.  Madurese Muslims have been moving into the Mount Bromo Tenggerese area for many years.

Finally we get a send off from an old Tenggerese grandpa--his sarong wrapped around his old suitcoat to keep the chill off until the sun warms the village just a little bit more.

Wouldn't you enjoy adding the Tenggerese of Mount Bromo to your portfolio?  

Join us September 14-21 for our photo tour of Java & Bali including the Tenggerese horsemen of Mt. Bromo.  See info on Matt Brandon’s site at: 


Sign-up here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5293232200?ref=ebtn

And, hey, as long as you're coming, sign-up too for the Borobudur-Jogjakarta extension tour!