Kelimutu is a famous volcano located in the national park of the same name in the center of the Indonesian island of Flores. The last time Kelimutu woke up in 1968, after which there were no signs of activity. At the top of the volcano, the height of which is 1639 m, there is a real natural wonder - three crater lakes of different colors.
They appeared as a result of the last eruption of Kelimutu, when small depressions formed in the magma, which over time were filled with atmospheric precipitation. Unusual reservoirs, located relatively close to each other, tend to periodically change color from turquoise to green, red, brown or black.
According to modern scientific guesses, such changes in the color of lakes occur as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs between various minerals and gas. For example, the reaction of iron with hydrogen sulfide gives a reddish tint, and a high concentration of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids causes a deep green color.
The inhabitants of the Moni village, located almost at the foot of Kelimutu, have their own theory - they believe that the souls of their dead ancestors are sent to these lakes, and the change in color indicates that the souls living in the reservoirs are angry. Another version says that a color change may be a signal of impending critical events in Indonesia.
Each lake has its own name, reflecting the legend associated with it. The westernmost of the lakes, located about 1.5 km from the other two, is called Tivu-Ata-Mbupu ("the lake of the elderly"), in which, according to legend, the souls of those who have lived their lives with dignity and died of old age find shelter. It symbolizes the wisdom and knowledge of older people, which comes only with age.
The name of the central lake - Tivu-Nua-Muri-Kooh-Tai - translates as “the lake of young men and women”, the innocent souls of those who died young go into it. This lake changes color especially often, it is said that over the past twenty-six years it has changed the color of its water twelve times.
Iwu-Ata-Polo, which means “enchanted lake, ” or “lake of evil souls, ” serves as an eternal home for the souls of evildoers.
The last two reservoirs are located side by side, they are separated only by a thin wall of the crater, which, according to the beliefs of local residents, personifies a fine line between good and evil:
The color of the water of the three lakes is very unpredictable, therefore, when climbing to the top of the volcano, it is impossible to know exactly what color combinations will be this time. According to the latest data, now the lake of old people is painted black, although not long ago it was green, the lake of boys and girls has a rich green color, and the lake of evil souls is brown. Just a few years ago, they were white, turquoise and red. In November 2009, the waters of the lakes were colored black, turquoise and brown.
And already in July 2010, Tivu-Ata-Mbupu was pleasing to the eye with a bottle-green color, Tivu-Nua-Muri-Kooh-Tai was painted in turquoise, and Tivu-Ata-Polo had the color of moss green
It is best to admire the amazing views of the reservoirs from the top of Kelimutu, on which there is an observation deck, more precisely a pyramid called the "point of inspiration". The most beautiful and rich shades of the lake acquire at sunrise and sunset, and in the late morning, when thick fog envelops them, a mesmerizing atmosphere of mystery reigns here. It is best and safest to consider water bodies from specially designated places, since the volcanic stone is very slippery and it is extremely dangerous to walk on it, moreover, the vapors emanating from the lakes lead to fainting.
The lakes of the Kelimutu volcano are one of the most interesting sights of Indonesia. Indonesians love this place very much, before the famous chameleon ponds were even depicted on the 5000 rupee banknote.
These lakes are only a small part of the Kelimutu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Several thousand tourists come to admire the unique natural objects of this area every year. You can pick up a ticket to Indonesia at the Tourcompass travel agency (Moscow).
You can get to the village of Moni, located a few kilometers from the foot of the volcano, from different cities, the closest of them are Ende (51 km) and Maumere (62 km). The way from Moni to the volcano by car will take 30-40 minutes, and from the parking lot to the colored lakes only 20-30 minutes on foot. You can stay in the village either with local residents or in some of the local hotels. The village has restaurants, small shops and a market where you can buy food, clothing and everything you need for daily life.