Goa Kiskendo

Goa Tulangan - Gua Kempol

Useful Information

Location: Jln. Goa Kiskendo, Sawah / Hutan, Trayu, Singorojo, Kendal Regency, Central Java 51382.
(-7.059646, 110.241560)
Open: All year daily 7-17.
Fee: Adults IDR 7,000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Goa Kiskendo, Jln. Goa Kiskendo, Sawah / Hutan, Trayu, Singorojo, Kendal Regency, Central Java 51382.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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This cave is named Goa Kiskendo, but as there are two caves of the name on the island we have added the name of village where it is located and listed Goa Kiskendo Trayu. Others had the same idea and so it is sometimes called Goa Kiskendo Kendal (Kiskendo Kendal Cave) because its in Kendal regency.

Close to the small village is a river which cuts through a limestone ridge. It once formed a cave, then it cut deeper, and there is a gorge through the limestone, which is actually a roofless cave. The river forms numerous waterfalls and the whole area with the river, the gorge, the waterfalls and a huge natural bridge are a sort of park. There is also a sort of climbing garden in the trees, and it's allowed to climb at some limestone rock faces. There is an entrance fee but the site is more for day use than for sightseeing. People come for bathing and spending a sunday barbecuing.

The cave is one spot in the park, and while it is quite huge and has numerous speleothems, we were actually not sure how to classify it. As it is well developed with trails and railings and entrance fee we finally settled for show cave. But it is a rather short through-cave, and it's almost a natural bridge. You can see the other entrance from one side. This is obviously a fossil higher level of the cave system. And it is rather steep and crossed on the path leading to the gorge.

Another cave in the park, at the lower entrance of the through-cave is Gua Kempol, which is quite easy to recognize as there is a pilar, a stalagmite connected witha stalagmite right in the small entrance. It is a little narrow, but it's possible to enter the cave. Despite the wooden sign with the cave name many visitors actually miss the cave entrance. It's possible to follow the horizontal passage for some distance, and it actually widens inside. There are also some crawls that seem to be quite popular with visitors as they show signs of wear. From the speleological view this is the main sight of the park.

As the lower cave level is mostly destroyed, the river flows through a gorge with some short caverns. There is a path with staircases through the gorge, showing some erosional caverns and even some boulder caves. The river has reached the underlying conglomerates and the karstification stopped at that point, the lower part of the gorge is erosional.

There are numerous caverns along the trail and some actually have names. Goa Lawang, Goa Pertapaan (Meditation Cave), Goa Tulangan (Reinforcement Cave), and Goa Kampret. Each of them is either quite small or requires caving.

As far as we know there are no guides and there is no possibility to lend a lamp. Also, some stairs are rather high and some parts are a little slippery, what is actually to be expected from a cave. However, some stairs and parts of the trails are in a state of disrepair. Many visitors complain about a lack of maintenance and garbage along the trails.

The raksasa ogre king Misasura wants to take Dewi Tara, Indra Loka’s daughter, as his wife. Indra Loka denies his request and the enraged Misasura calls his raksasa soldiers to arms and they prepare for battle. The gods of Indra Loka hear the raksasa troops approaching. A great battle ensues, and the gods are defeated. Indra Loka and Dewi Tara flee to seek advice from the sage Brihaspati. They reach Kiskanda, the realm of the monkey king brothers Subali and Sugriwa. Lord Indra requests their assistance promising Dewi Tara’s hand to the monkey kings if they defeat Misasura. Whoever defeats Misasura will wed Dewi Tara. The monkey troops battle Misasura and the raksasa, and Misasura is chased into a cave. Subali pursues Misasura, ordering Sugriwa to seal off the entrance if he sees white blood, which will prove Sugriwa has died. Subali is able to defeat Misasura, but when he dies his white brain mixes with his red blood. Sugriwa thinks his brother has died and places a boulder over the cave entrance to make sure Misasura cannot escape. He returns to Indra Loka and is wed to Dewi Tara. Subali manages to dig himself out of the cave using the bones of Misasura. He thinks that Sugriwa betrayed him and the two fight. Sugriwa wins the fight with the help of Rama and Laksmana, Subali attains heaven and ascends.

The story is called Battle of the Monkey Kings and is from the Ramayana epic. It is quite popular as a wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) play and anybody in Indonesia knows the story. There seem to be several caves which are reputedly the location of the fight. As far as we understand they are all named Goa Kiskendo.

There is also a swimming pool which is public, and you can swim for free. It is in the village, right before the entrance to the park. The park is quite popular and so there are numerous restaurants and hotels in the vicinity.