Tengger Indians of Indonesia


Though in origin the Tengger Indians of Java, Indonesia have nothing to do with India, still they certainly are India’s spiritual offspring. These people migrated into Java much before the Indian traders exported Hinduism there, during Majapahit period, in the late 13th century. And they came from Latin America, crossing the entire Pacific in their wooden rafts. These Tenggers took to Hinduism and for some reason didn’t migrate once more over faith even when the entire Indonesia leaned towards Islam in the 16th century, this time through the Arab Muslim traders. With time they got marginalized and shifted towards an wasteland dotted with living volcanoes. As per India they named each of these fire-vomiting hollow hills after a Hindu God. And thus one fuming volcano became Bromo—or the Hindu God of creation, Brahma. As per India again the Tenggers ritualized the process of pacifying this demon of a God—by offering sacrifice into its smoky void. Known as Yadna Kasada, this is a festival of crossing a vast caldera and climbing into its crest to offer prayer. Tucked aside in a land of volcanic ash where no green grows, sheltered by some volcanoes that can erupt in no time, and assured by those proverbial horses who appear to have kept their wings hidden like another Hindu God, the Tegggers are certainly the last of Hindu epics.