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Mbah Maridjan, Mount Merapi guardian buried on its slope

Mbah Maridjan ("Grandfather Maridjan") was the spiritual guardian of the Indonesian volcano Mount Merapi. He was killed at the age of 83 by a pyroclastic flow that hit the village of Kinahrejo during the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi. Maridjan was the son of the previous guardian. He was appointed to the palace staff of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, in 1970 and was given the title of Mas Penewu Suroksohargo. He replaced his father as gatekeeper in 1982


October 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — Mbah Maridjan, the caretaker of Mount Merapi who died after refusing to abandon his ceremonial post when the volcano erupted Tuesday, was buried around noon Thursday  in Srunen hamlet, in Cangkringan, Yogyakarta.

Hundreds of relatives and local people were present at the funeral.

The funeral was also attended by Yogyakarta Governor and Sultan of Yogyakarta Hamengkubuwono X first daughter Gusti Pembayun and former President Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid” daugther Alissa Wahid.

Maridjan, 83, had been entrusted by the highly respected late Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX to watch over the volcano’s spirits. For years he led ceremonies in which rice and flowers were thrown into the crater to appease its spirits. Maridjan had angered officials in the past by refusing to evacuate during Merapi’s eruptions.

“[His refusal to evacuate] was because of his responsibility as caretaker of Mount Merapi,” Hamengkubuwono said Wednesday.

Maridjan was among tens of people killed by hot ash spewed by Merapi on Tuesday in Kinahrejo hamlet, where he was born in 1927, which is located 4 kilometers from the volcano.

Famous for his convictions about his position, Maridjan was reportedly found in a praying position, kneeling facedown on the floor.


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