Last month tremors began on Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano, causing volcanologists to warn that it could erupt within a matter of hours or days. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the surrounding regions with an exclusion zone imposed of up to 12km from the mountain. Plans are also in place to redirect flights. The last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963, around 1600 people were killed. So far, there has been no eruption, but locals are justifiably afraid.
The Balinese believe that Mount Agung is a replica of Mount Meru, the central axis of the universe. According to one legend the mountain is a fragment of Meru that was brought to Bali by the first Hindus. The most important temple on Bali, Pura Besakih, is located on the volcano’s slopes.