Bali's sacred Mount Agung has been closed to mountain climbers for 21 days between March 14 – April 4, 2011. This step has been taken to guard the purity and sanctity of Bali's highest and most sacred volcano leading up to yearly holy Ida Batara Turun Kabeh and Paneduh Jagat ceremonies.
The closure announcement was explained to the press by the guide coordinator for climbing groups, Nengah Madia, on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. The Ida Batara Turun Kabeh ceremony takes place on March 19th with the mountain only being re-opened for climbers commencing April 4, 2011.
Madia has led countless expeditions to the top of Mount Agung, saying he still relished the view from the top which, on a clear day, affords views of four mountains: Mount Batur, Mount Semeru in East Java, Mount Lempuyang and Mount Rinjani on Lombok.
When climbing the mountain, most begin their climb in the middle of the night between midnight and 2:00 am in order to time their arrival at the top of the volcano with the morning sunrise.
The 52 local guides leading guests to the top of Mt. Agung are members of the Edelwis Agung Guide Association. The guide have pledged that neither they or their guests will disturb the monkeys that live on the mountain, nor destroy any plants and trees growing on Mt. Agung. All climbers are required not to leave any trash on the trail, carrying out any rubbish they accumulate during the course of a climb.
Climbers are also required to maintain the sanctity of Mt. Agung by not bring pork or beef products on an excursion.
According to the guide association, an average 2-3 people climb the volcano each day during periods in which the peak is open to visitors.
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