Caringin is situated about 70 km to the south from Cianjur, West Java. It is one of kampongs in Warga Asih Village. The kampong is located at the foot of Mt. Bubut. The mountain is called Bubut as it has a close relation to the fact that it falls bit by bit, so it is only a half of the mountain that still stand. Bubut has a close meaning to ‘murubut’ where in Sundanese it means falls. The mountain falls all the time as only few trees grow on it. The mountain is only a high land covered with grass now, actually it can not be called mountain anymore.
Here is the picture of Mt. Bubut that was taken in 21/01/2010.
Red surface of the mountain tells us that no roots can bear the land from sliding. The biggest erosion that changes the shape of Mt. Bubut occurred in 1978 at 8 in the morning on Sunday. It happened in the rainy season. The land fell being carried away by the rain. It caused a very big ‘bum’ sound and suddenly it was dark. Smog was around and small rock flew scattered almost 20 meters away from the mountain. Mud was everywhere. At the foot of the mountain there was a lake. The landslide fell into the lake and covered the lake. Some people who were planting the rice did not realize the disaster wait for them. Luckily the landslide did not bury the rice planters. All of them run and they were safe. The big question is “where all animals that live in the mountain escape”, no one knows. A head of the kampong confessed that he dreamt if the animals all moved a day before the erosion. Suspicious goes freely and accepted well in this kampong.
To visit Caringin from Cianjur central of town, you can hire local four wheel transportation named WarungAwi-Cianjur. It takes about 3 to 4 hours from Cianjur to Warung Awi. From Warung Awi, hire an ojek (a kind of local transportation using motorcycle) tell the driver that you want to visit Caringin. It is safe to hire ojek. Besides it is the only transportation available, it is usually the local driver knows how to pick the save road to pass.
The road from Cianjur to Caringin will pass a bit normal road surface. The ‘normal road’ covers Cianjur, then Cibeber, straight to Sunakanagara. From Sukananagara there are two intersections. One, to the left leads to Cidaun. And second, to the right, head to Kadupandak. Take the right one, that head to Kadupandak. It should take no more than two hours from Sunakagara to Caringin. But the road begins show abnormality. Bumpy, holes, water, block and no traffic signs are things that you will enjoy. From Sukanagara, you will pass tea plantation area. It is very beautiful, green, and natural, make your eyes fresh. Sometimes, it you are lucky enough, an extraordinary ‘finding’ along the road sought. Like mushrooms.
It grows well, untouched. People consider this kind of mushrooms as non edible as it contains poison. But whether it is poisonous or not, a research on it never been done so far.
After you go along the tea plantation area, you will come to Leuwimanggu. In Sundanese Leuwi means lake and manggu means mango. Perhaps years ago, before it was changed into tea plantation area, grew mangoes trees. Mostly, people named a place relate to the special thing from that place. For example in Caringin there is a lake called “Rawa Hideung” (Black swamp). It is simply named like that because the water on the swamp looks like black water. The swamp is covered by the trees so that the sun ray does not penetrate the water. The shadow of the trees gives black effect on the water. So the people on that area call this swamp as Black Swamp.
When you arrive in Leuwimanggu, do not stop. You will see a statue of farmer. Turn right, pass palm trees. Again your eyes will meet green color of leaves along the way. A few houses stand by the road. Then, you will come to Sukasari. Turn right. If you do not turn right, the road will take you to Kadupandak.
The road to go to Caringin from Sukasari is about 7 km. but this road is the toughest one. You will get surprise, how can a village that has less than 65 km from Kabupaten, have a very bad road condition. You can not call the road as road, ditch or perhaps bank of river is more suitable. Let’s see how the roads look like:
The road rises and falls sharply. It is slippery too! Many years ago, cars that pass this road usually bring husks with them. They use the husks to cover the road so that they can pass the slippery road. The road is in a very bad condition since big trucks usually pass this road to carry agriculture products to town. From Sukasari you will pass many kampongs before arrive in Caringin, namely: Cikajar, Situwangi, Cilember, WarungAwi, and Bebedahan. Situwangi or Fragrance Lake as the name given, it smells fragrance many years ago. A big pesantren (school for clerics) stood here. Many clerics from different kampongs studied in Situwangi. But as general faith of pesantren, it happens to Situwangi pesantren too. Pesantren is lead by a Kyai. Kyai is a trusted man to be the leader who has full authority and charisma to regulate the pesantren. Usually he rules the pesantren for all his life. The power to regulate pesantren will hand down to his son. If the son does not have charisma as good as his father, the popularity of the pesantren decrease. This is what happened to Situwangi pesantren. Even though the name remain the same but the fragrance is not the same anymore.
Pass Situwangi then you will arrive in WarungAwi. It is the terminal area. The place for the local bus stops. You will again get surprise as you do not see any sign or building that direct you to a terminal as you usually know. The terminal is the road itself. The sign that you had arrived in terminal is that the bus stop. And the village office stands there-in WarungAwi.
If you get down from the bus, ojek drivers will not let you to have any space to move. The way they offer the service, using ‘force’ and sometimes shocking, and scary too. Education takes part in this. Most of them get Elementary school education only; it gives them a slightly irresponsible offering just to conquer the heart of passenger to be.
From Warungawi to the left you will come to WargaAsih. To Caringin, you must turn right. Pass Bebedahan. There is an Elementary School in Bebedahan, called SD Sirnabakti. It is the oldest school in that area. The road is getting worst.
From Bebedahan to Caringin is about one kilometer. Caringin consists of not more that 15 houses. It is a small kampong. This kampong does not grow as other kampongs. The houses do not add as many as another. Even the kampong seems welcoming its old age; empty, silence, not many activities seen. The people live in this kampong only the elders. The productive and the young generation of this kampong go to big cities like Jakarta and Bandung to get job. Cultivating the rice field is given to the elders.
Some of the houses in Caringin are quite traditional. The wall is made of bamboo. The sign of traditional house is the house does not have enough ventilation and window.
The light that enters the house is only from the front windows. The house is usually divided into a guest room, bed room and kitchen. The bathroom is usually outside the house. Surrounded the house, edible plants are planted. A small pool with fish is usually decorated the backyard.
Banana tree becomes part of the yard. It is very usual to see every inches of the land planted with many kind of plants. The ingredients plants usually planted behind the house near the kitchen.
On the wall of kitchen the nest for chicken to lay eggs is provided.
Using the box made of wood, the chicken lays the eggs inside. Below it the fire woods storage. Even though the government suggest the people to change to gas, but many villagers still feel afraid of using gas. Many accident of blowing gas stove reported thrill villagers. They sell the gas given by the government, and keep using hearth and fire wood to cook. Firewood pollutes the air, but some of Caringin people do not care about this. They excuse that many branches of tree abandon in vain if it isn’t used as firewood.
The fence is made of bamboo too. It has multifunction. Besides it protects the house from animal that may cross, it can be used to dry the clothes under the sun.
To worship Allah, this kampong has small mosque called Tajug. Tajug usually has Bedug and Kohkol.
Bedug is like a very big drum. The front part is made of Buffallo leather. The leather covers the hole tree. If it is hit, it will make sound, quite loud for one kampong.
And Kohkol is a tree that is carved to produce sound to accompany Bedug.
When fasting time comes or ramadhan that goes for a month. Tajug is used to pray together at night. Before the electricity received, the light source is from “Cempor or Lampu Gembreng, sometimes Patromax”.