Mum and bub at Gunung Pengsong, a hilltop temple about 9 kilometres south of Mataram on the Indonesian island of Lombok. Dozens of playful, inquisitive monkeys join us for the climb to the top, until the guide shoos them away and they go scurrying off into the bush. The Hindu temple has spectacular views across rice fields to the Lombok strait and across to Bali – if you can make it to the top. Not only is it a very steep climb, but the last few metres follow a precarious path without handrail that modern health and safety regulations would never allow. Once a year, in March or April, a buffalo is brought up here as a sacrifice to give thanks for a good harvest, and I can only say that there must be some sort of divine intervention to get a buffalo up the track. Along with the monkeys, you might also find remnants of World War 2 cannons; Japanese soldiers hid here during the war.
Photo & text © Christine Salins
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