Gunung Surowiti

Posted by David Khoirul
Gunung Surowiti, bukit di Panceng, Gresik, tempat petilasan Sunan KalijagaI lived in Surowiti when I was five with my mom, Sue Jeea, for more than six months. Surowiti is a village and tourist attraction located at the top of a hill with exactly the same name: Surowiti. Situated in the subdistrict of Panceng, Gresik regency, the village has no more than 120 households and receives daily visits from outsiders, mostly those from out of the city and, sometimes also, out of the country.

Siti Arifah, my aunt, used to invite me to go to paddy fields to catch yuyus, small crabs living in the muddy sawah. She told me that we could cook them for dinner.

Every afternoon, my late grandma Kastika showed me how we could get some pennies from visiting guests who passed by to head to Petilasan Mbah Sunan, where the tombstone of Islamic saint Sunan Kalijaga is believed to exist.

Surowiti, or very often Gunung Surowiti, is 15 kilometers from tourist attraction Wisata Bahari Lamongan in Paciran, and is 4 kilometers from the main road in Panceng. It's a hill of about 200 meters high above the sea level. The term Gunung, literally meaning mountain, is used by villagers to refer to the hill simply because they can hardly distinguish a mount from a hill.

What visitors can enjoy in the hill is clean air, far from what we call pollution, and a direct view to the sea. Above all, people can have a look at the Goa Langsih, a cave where Sunan Kalijaga neditated during his hide-away; the Langsih Cave was also a place for him and eight other Walis, the saints of Islam, to hold meetings. Near the cave are the tombs of historical people, including Sunan Kalijaga's brother-in-law Empuh Supo who married his sister Dewi Roso Wulan.

According to local villagers, the history of Surowiti started from Suro Astono, a farmer who lived not far from the hill. On his way home through the jungle from the town with his daughter Sri Wangi, Suro Astono met a young man riding a horse. The man, later known as Suro Gento, was a robber. Seeing the beauty of Sri Wangi, Gento brought her to an empty hut, in the purpose of raping her. Sri Wangi was crying when suddenly a man in white clothing came to the hut, saved her and knocked Suro Gento down.

Feeling he had been defeated, Suro Gento asked for apology. The man forgave Gento and asked him, together with Suro Astono and Sri Wangi, to found a village at the top of the hill. The man in white introduced himself as Joko Secoh, who turned out to be Sunan Kalijaga.

Suro Gento then named the village Surowiti after his name. The word Surowiti is also said to originate from "Suro Kang Miwiti," the Javanese for "Suro started this (village)."

Surowiti has now started to grow: the internet, schools and organizations. When I google-searched for the term Surowiti this morning, I found more than five weblogs managed by the villagers, including the page of the village headman Sonhaji.

Anyone from Surowiti who happens to read this post, please leave a comment.

[Photo via Flicker]

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