Goa Seplawan

Useful Information

Location: Katerban, Donorejo, Kaligesing, Purworejo Regency, Central Java 54175.
(-7.772978, 110.110251)
Open: All year daily 6-16.
Fee: Adults IDR 5,000, Children IDR 3,000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave SpeleologyRiver Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=700 m, A=800 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Goa Seplawan, Katerban, Donorejo, Kaligesing, Purworejo Regency, Central Java 54175.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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15-AUG-1979 gold statue discovered.


Goa Seplawan is located at the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, on the top of the Menoreh Mountains mountain ridge. An outlook nearby offers great views. According to legend the god Shiva and the goddess Parwati once found gold in this cave. Such legends are actually not far from the truth, the volcanism of the island produces all kinds of resources and erosion transports it along the river, deposits the gold in placers. Even if there is only a very small amount of gold, it may accumulate. A 9 cm high gold statue with a weight of 1.5 kg was found in 1979. Visitors are greeted by a 3 m tall gold replica of the golden statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parwati in front of the entrance. The original statue is on display in the National Museum. And there are numerous other legends around the cave, and there are archaeological remains in the cave.

The name of the cave, Seplawan, is explained as the combination of saplo and wan. Saplo are people who have a sense saplu (sacred), and wan means a person who can interpret a holy man or a place to purify human beings.

The cave is entered down a grassy slope which soon becomes a daylight shaft or karstfenster, a hole in the ceiling of the cave. An iron staircase brings the visitors to the floor of the passage. As the cave is a river cave, there is a cave river, but the show cave level is actually semi-phreatic, which means it is normally dry and only reactivated during floods. But there are typical formations for such a cave, rimstone pools, dolly tubs, calcite crystals and cave lakes. And a few passages have a cave river and visitors have to wade through the water. Its only ankle deep, and gum boots are sufficient, but some visitors actually prefer neoprene shoes or even cheap slippers, which actually are the regular footwear of Indonesians.

The cave has several karstfenster and so there are several areas which are lit by daylight. In the dark parts, the cave has electric light. But only in the main passage, the side passages are very wet, and so they did not install electric wires. After a tour through the cave the visitors return to the entrance pit, but they leave the cave up a metal spiral staircase at the other end. The cave tours are self-guided, which is a good thing as it gives you the time to look closer or take some fotos, or the hurry if you are not interested. There are no explanatory signs though, so you might want to prepare by printing this page.