6 Interesting Facts About Kelimutu Lake

Kelimutu is a volcano located on Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The exact location of this mountain is in Pemo Village, Kelimutu District, Ende Regency. This mountain has three crater lakes at the peak. These lakes are known as the Three Color Lakes because it has three different colors, which are red, blue and white. Even so, these colors always change over time.


Kelimutu is a combination of words from “Keli” which means mountain and the word “Mutu” which means boiling. According to local residents’ beliefs, the colors of Lake Kelimutu have their respective meanings and have very powerful natural forces.


Lake Kelimutu or Tiwu Kelimutu is divided into three parts which correspond to the colors in the lake. The blue lake or “Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai” is a gathering place for the souls of young people who have died. The red lake or “Tiwu Ata Polo” is a gathering place for the souls of villains who have died. While the white lake or “Tiwu Ata Mbupu” is a gathering place for the souls of the elderly people who have died.


Residents around Lake Kelimutu believe that when the lake changes color, they must give offerings to the spirits of people who have died.


The area of the three lakes is around 1,051,000 square meters with a water volume of 1,292 million cubic meters. The boundary between lakes is a narrow stone wall that is prone to landslides. This wall is very steep with an angle of 70 degrees. The height of the lake wall ranges from 50 to 150 meters.


This mountain recorded its first eruption in 1830, released black lava and a terrible eruption. Also recorded in 1860 to 1870 erupted for the second time. The eruption was accompanied by hot lava flows. And lastly, this mountain had intense activity in 1968.


Planning to explore Kelimutu Volcano soon? Here are 6 interesting facts about Kelimutu Lakes.



1. Steep cliffs and the guardian monkeys


kelimutu guardian monkeys

Credit: GetLostSafely


When you arrive at Lake Kelimutu, you will be presented with views of the cliffs from the top of steep rocks. You will also be surprised by the figure of the watchman cliff. A group of brownish furry monkey suddenly emerged from tree branches on the edge of the cliff.


You do not need to linger over the steepness of the cliff because it is very dangerous.



2. The beauty of the lake “Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai” and “Tiwu Ata Polo”


The beauty of the lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai and Tiwu Ata Polo

Credit: Mapio

After you climb approximately 15 steps made from cement, you can see two of the three lakes in the Kelimutu area. The two lakes are “Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai” and “Tiwu Ata Polo”


Tiwu Ata Polo is the lake on the right side when your body position is facing the lake. This lake is deep black. While the lake on the left with tosca green water is Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai.


These two lakes are located side by side, only separated by a cliff as the dividing wall. The separating rock cliffs are shaped like a basin. As far as the eye can see, there are only rocky cliffs around the lake.



3. “Tiwu Ata Mbupu”, the gathering place for the spirits


interesting facts about kelimutu lake

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Another unique object on Kelimutu peak is the “Tiwu Ata Mbupu”. This clear tosca green lake is located separately from the others. This lake is belong to the spirits of elders who have died.


According to the local community, the categorization of where the spirits should stay is seen from their behavior during their lifetime. If people die old and often do good things during their lives, they will enter “Tiwu Ata Mbupu”. If people die young or unmarried and often do good things during their lives, they will enter “Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai”.


Whereas if a person dies either young or old but often do bad things, then it will stay at “Tiwu Ata Polo”.



4. Rest stop monument


kelimutu rest area monument

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The journey to the Kelimutu summit is very tiring because of fairly steep path. Also the air on the way to the peak is getting thinner because of the height. To unwind you can take a rest for a moment in rest stop monument.


After seeing the third lake, this monument is your next destination. Here you can sit and chat on the steps, capture photos, enjoy a cup of warm coffee and admire the beautiful panorama of Kelimutu.



5. Myths about Lake Kelimutu color change


kelimutu myth

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Kelimutu is also known as the three-color lake. Each lake has different color and those three lakes can change color at any time. Some experts say that this happens because of the composition of the material at the bottom of the lake.


But some say that the color change follows the political atmosphere of Indonesia country. It is said that if the Indonesian state is peaceful and serene then the color of the lake would be blue. If the political atmosphere is volatile or heats up then the color of the lake will turn red.



6. “Pati Ka”, the festival of feeding ancestors


patika ceremony for kelimutu lake

Credit: Ksdae

Next facts about Kelimutu Lake is that on August 14th every year the Kelimutu Lake Festival is held. In accordance with local beliefs the main agenda of the festival was “pati ka” which is in local language “pati ka” means to feed.


Feeding is intended for the ancestors of Lake Kelimutu in the form of offerings consist of pork or in the local language called “wawi” and “moke” or traditional alcoholic drinks.