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Just East of Bali is the small island of Lombok. Taking its name from a spicy red pepper used liberally in local cuisine, Lombok has long been a melting pot of Indonesian art, music, and tradition. Recently developed tourist facilities draw visitors to Lombok's serene beaches, soaring mountains and old temples.
The culture of the western part of the island is still heavily influenced by Bali. The temples or pura provide some of the most fascinating glimpses into the island's Balinese heritage and their annual harvest ceremonies are famous attractions (see Bali page).
The Eastern part is the home of the native islanders, the Sasaks. The Sasaks culture, mostly Muslim, represents the majority of the nhabitants of the island.
The island features Gunung Rinjani or Mount Rinjani, an active volcano and the second highest mountain in Indonesia outside Irian Jaya at 3,726 meters (12,224 feet). The name Rinjani comes from an old Javanese word for "All Great", and according to Sasak legend, the volcano serves has a primary home of princess Anjani, the daughter of the islanders' Supreme God.
The rains that run down from the Mt. Rijani have produced one of the Indonesia most fertile valleys, and the islanders grow acres of rice, soy beans, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla and many others spices.One of Lombok's principal handicrafts is weaving. You can visit workshops to see how ikat cloth is made.
The island is famous for pottery and basketry that are woven from stripes of rattan and banana leaves..
The Gilis, three tiny islands off the Northern coast, are magnificent with white sand beaches and fascinating coral formations. Snorkeling or diving trips can be arranged through hotels and dive shops. In the sea, divers can find rare species of giant clams, turtles, sharks, manta rays, and blue spotted sting rays gracing the warm coastal warters.