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  • MOUNTAINS IN GREATER BANDUNG: Mount Selasih with the Unique Karut Stone, a Monkey Population and the Legend of a Princess

MOUNTAINS IN GREATER BANDUNG: Mount Selasih with the Unique Karut Stone, a Monkey Population and the Legend of a Princess

Mount Selasih offers us many unique experiences besides the enchanting views of the Bandung Basin. There is a population of dozens of monkeys and legends.

The atmosphere at the peak of Mount Selasih allows hikers to rest by setting up tents or relaxing in hammocks, June 2023. (Photo: Gan Gan Jatnika)

Penulis Gan Gan Jatnika15 November 2023

BandungBergerak.id - The mountains in the southeastern region of Bandung, especially in the areas of Majalaya, Paseh, and Cikancung, are less frequently visited. Perhaps it's because they are not considered very high or due to the belief that there has been a lot of damage to the forested areas and mountains due to land conversion into farms or settlements, which has reduced their beauty.

There are many mountains in this southeastern region of Bandung, including Mount Mandalawangi, Mount Pangradinan, Mount Masigit, Mount Buleud, Mount Selasih, Mount Kasur, Mount Tikukur, Pasir Jugul, and Mount Pulus. The most popular among these mountains are Mount Mandalawangi and Mount Pangradinan.

Among these mountains, Mount Selasih has several unique features that make it worth climbing to its peak.

Access and Location

Mount Selasih is located in the administrative region of Karangtunggal Village, Paseh District, Bandung Regency. If you draw a straight line, it is approximately 29 kilometers southeast of the center of Bandung City.

To reach the foothills of Mount Selasih by using a two-wheeled vehicle, you will cover a distance of about 38 kilometers in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. While using a four-wheeled vehicle, it will take about 10 minutes longer.

The peak of Mount Selasih is 1,188 meters above sea level (masl), as indicated in the Rupa Bumi Indonesia (RBI) map sheet 1208-643, edition I-2001, titled "Majalaya," scale 1:25,000.

To reach the peak of Mount Selasih, there are two commonly used routes, the Legokpego route, which passes through the slopes of Mount Kasur, and the Karang Gantungan route in Dusun Pasir Tumenggung, Salamungkal Village, Cilodong. The second route is more recommended because the starting point is easier to find.

From Bandung City, to reach Karang Gantungan Tourism location, you can navigate your vehicle through Ciwastra-Margacinta Road, then towards Sapan and onto Cicalengka-Majalaya Highway, before heading to Cilodong Highway in Paseh District. Alternatively, you can also pass through Terusan Buahbatu Road towards Bojongsoang, then Laswi Ciparay-Majalaya Road, before heading to Cilodong Road.

On Cilodong Road, you will pass through the villages of Pasirpanjang, Salamungkal, Bingkur, and Pasir Tumenggung. The entrance to Karang Gantungan Tourism is located in Dusun Pasir Tumenggung.

If you want to use online directions, you can type "Wisata Karang Gantungan Majalaya" into a search engine like Google. It will provide you with routes and maps to the intended location.

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Hiking Mount Selasih and Karang Gantungan

Apart from its relatively short distance, the hiking trail of Mount Selasih from Karang Gantungan is equipped with parking facilities and an easily identifiable starting point, which is Karang Gantungan Tourism with an elevation of around 900 masl. The elevation difference with the peak is only about 288 meters.

Unfortunately, in June 2023, the condition of the Karang Gantungan Tourism Area was not well-maintained. There were no ticket booths or officers.

There is a gate and a stone inscription wall reminiscent of the gate and stone inscriptions at the Mount Nagara Padang Site in Ciwidey. When parking your vehicle, it is advisable not to leave your belongings or bags hanging outside because there are often groups of monkeys around.

From Karang Gantungan Tourism Area, there are two footpaths to choose from. The path on the right, which has a gate and a stone inscription wall, leads to the sacred forest area of Karang Gantungan, while the straight, rocky path takes you directly to the mountain's peak.

The path to the sacred forest is a well-maintained footpath, about one meter wide, that leads to the "Karut Stone," a rock suspended in the middle of tree roots. The presence of this hanging rock is what gives this place its name, "Karang Gantungan."

Besides that, in the sacred forest, you'll find tall kiara trees and large banyan trees with hanging roots that reach the ground. There are also long-stemmed rattan trees and various rocks in different shapes and sizes to enjoy.

However, what makes Karang Gantungan unique is its abundant population of monkeys. So, don't be surprised if monkeys suddenly appear from the bushes or trees. It is said that these monkeys have been the guardians of this place since ancient times, and they are connected to the legends of this site.

From Karang Gantungan, to reach the hiking trail to the peak of Mount Selasih, you don't need to return to the starting point near the gate. You can follow the footpath that runs alongside a clear stream or canal. This footpath will eventually meet a wider rocky path that starts from the Karang Gantungan parking area.

From the intersection of these paths, you simply follow it until it turns uphill through a pine forest. The path, with its clean red earth surface and the shade of pine trees, offers a pleasant experience. At the end of the path, you'll encounter an ascent with shrubs and tall grass on both sides.

There is an open view of the Bandung Basin and the Eastern Bandung Mountains. Mountains like Mandalawangi, Pangradinan, Kareumbi, Kerenceng, Geulis, Pasir Jambu, Pangparang, and others can be clearly seen. There's a suitable resting place where you can enjoy the natural beauty spread out before your eyes.

As you approach the peak, there is a tobacco field. After passing it, you'll re-enter a footpath through thick shrubs before finally arriving there.

The atmosphere at the peak of Mount Selasih is quite lush. There are large trees providing shade, and you'll also find some large rocks. The mountain's peak area is quite spacious. You can set up several tents and hammocks for resting. There are also jackfruit trees, similar to pandan trees, growing here. Their trunks are sturdy enough to hang cloth swings for resting.

Additionally, there's a mat tucked in between large trees, possibly provided for sitting and praying. Apparently, besides hikers, there are also pilgrims who come to Mount Selasih for specific purposes.

If you hike directly from the parking area to the peak without stopping at the Karang Gantungan Site, the travel time is approximately 1 - 1.5 hours. Meanwhile, the descent takes about one hour.

The northwest side of Mount Selasih, seen from Cilodong Road, Pasir Tumenggung, Pacet District, Bandung Regency, June 17, 2023. (Photo: Gan Gan Jatnika)
The northwest side of Mount Selasih, seen from Cilodong Road, Pasir Tumenggung, Pacet District, Bandung Regency, June 17, 2023. (Photo: Gan Gan Jatnika)

A Glimpse of the Legend of Karang Gantungan and Mount Selasih

In the Karang Gantungan Tourism Area, there is a stone inscription wall that briefly tells the history of this place. It is mentioned that this site is related to the Saunggalah Kingdom. However, it is not explained in detail whether this Saunggalah Kingdom is related to Ciung Wanara or if it is a different kingdom that existed in the vicinity.

It is also written that the uniqueness of this place is the presence of a hanging stone bound only by tree roots (Karut Stone). There are several sacred graves in this area, one of which belongs to Embah Karang, a respected sage from the Saunggalah Kingdom in his time. Information is also provided about the population of monkeys, estimated at around 40 individuals.

The name Mount Selasih is derived from the name of a princess. In the legend of the origin of Majalaya, there is a story about a princess named Putri Sela Asih. She was named as such because as a baby girl, she was found among the crevices of trees by a leader of a gang of thieves named Ki Dasta. This discovery instantly made the thief develop a sense of compassion, causing him to vow to stop committing evil deeds. That's why the baby girl was named Princess Selasih or Sela Asih.

When she grew up, the princess met a handsome and strong young man with extraordinary martial skills. They fell in love and got married. This young man turned out to be a prince named Mandalawangi.

However, it seemed that the universe did not approve of their marriage. Thunder roared, startling the newlyweds who were enjoying their new life together. It turned out that Prince Mandalawangi and Princess Selasih were siblings. The real name of the princess was Mandalasari. She had been abandoned in the forest by her father when she was a baby.

Because their marriage was not blessed by the gods, the two siblings were transformed into Mount Mandalawangi and Mount Selasih. The bed where they had enjoyed their honeymoon also turned into Mount Kasur. It is located near Mount Selasih.

In another version, Mount Selasih is not the transformation of a princess. According to the story, Princess Selasih was the daughter of the ruler of the Saunggalah Kingdom, Dewi Nimbang Waringin, who was entrusted to Embah Karang. The escort of the princess, whose full name was Selasih Cakraningrat, was assigned to a nobleman. Falling in love with the princess, the nobleman settled near Karang Gantungan. This settlement is now known as Pasir Tumenggung.

Princess Selasih lived at Karang Gantungan under the care and guardianship of Embah Karang. After her passing, the princess was buried at the mountain's peak. This is why the mountain was later named Mount Selasih.

Karang Gantungan Tourism has been designated as a cultural heritage site by the Bandung Regency Government. Currently, it is being maintained by Abah Cece Bukhory, who resides in Salamungkal Village. He succeeded his predecessors, including Eyang Anom (deceased), Wa Punduh Eunyon (deceased), and Eyang Karnata (deceased).

* Translate from this article Zelika Salsabila Insyra.

Editor: Ahmad Fikri