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The Dieng Plateu is a very mystical place, and is home the oldest Hindu temple on Java.  However, we could not help but be more intrigued by the mystery surrounding the 'dreadlocked children' of the Dieng Plateau.

Dieng's 'dreadlocked children' are born with normal hair, but early in their lives, their hair becomes dreadlocked - all by itself.  This is usually accompanied by a strange high temperature and fever, which cannot be explained by doctors, nor cured by them.  The locals believe that the children have been selected by the Gods of the spirit world to receive gifts. The only thing that helps is to ask the children if their hair can be trimmed, upon the provision of certain specified gifts.  The hair is then trimmed at a series of ritual ceremonies known as the Ruwatan Anak Gimbal.  If the gifts are provided, the hair does not grow back and the child is cured of the fever.  If the child is not asked for permission, or the gifts are not provided, the dreadlocked hair grows back and the child is not cured of the fever.

We were a bit sceptical about the whole story, having been told about it before we visited the Plateau, but sure enough, some of the young children were sporting dreadlocks which would have made Bob Marley proud.  As to the ceremony?  As is always the case, it was taking place a few days after we left Java...

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