YOGYAKARTA: HISTORY, RELIGION, IDENTITY

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Ullen Sentalu Museum. GT2/Say Tola

In continuation to last week’s ‘Exploring Java’s Cradle of Civilisation’, Say Tola now introduces four different historical sites found in the city of Yogyakarta. These sites – all different but equally significant and beautiful – depict the history and lives of the conservative people of Java. Through the collaboration of the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Cambodia, she gets to experience the best of Indonesia.

Borobudur

If you are a Buddhist monk or a Buddhist follower, Borobudur is a destination you should never ever miss. Located in central Java, the Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

Carving story of Buddha. GT2/Say Tola

This temple was built from 760AD until 830AD. It took about 40 years to build its foundations and 30 years for carving. It was built during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty on the manmade hill, and was built at the center of four active volcanoes as protection from the Sumatran king. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. Importantly, in the 1970s, the temple was restored After the renovation was finished, UNESCO listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991.

When you visit Borobudur, you at least have to be aware that there are two entrances – for monks and for common visitors. Common visitors have to start from the east side because they have to follow lalitavistara when Prince Siddhārtha Gautama went from east to the west, and he went from west to the east into a jungle to be a monk. When monk visitors come to Borobudur, they have to start from west to the east. They can see A different lion position at the base of Borobudur at the west side and it certainly tells that it’s an entrance exclusively Buddhist monk.

At the base of the temple, you will get to see the carvings depicting the story of Maha Kammavibhanga Sutta- Kusala and Akusala. However, at this temple, they show only Akusala and some carvings are not openly shown because they depict punishment and execution. Monks who have visited there said the carvings do not teach people to walk on a positive path. The Borobudur Temple Compounds consists of three monuments representing the phases of attaining Nirvana.

A bas relief in Borobodur temple compound depicting the story of Maha Kammavibhanga. GT2/Say Tola

Ullen Sentalu Museum

Understanding the culture and arts of the place that you visit is really essential. If you don’t take it into account, you miss the whole point of travelling – to know more, to understand deeper. But don’t worry if you come to Yogyakarta, aside from absorbing new knowledge from historical sites, you will also learn significant information about the original Javanese cultures and arts in the private museum called ‘Ullen Sentalu’ which is situated in Kaliurang of Yogyakarta. The museum was established in 1994 and it was officially inaugurated on March 1, 1997, coinciding with the commemoration date of the city’s historical day.

If you have a plan to visit this spot, you have be aware that you will not be allowed to take any photos or record anything. But of course, local tourist are always ready to answer questions.

There, you have plenty of things to see and many stories to hear which portray the lives of the royal families and kratons of Java. You will be able to understand more about Javanese musical instruments and traditional arts such as Gemelan and Javanese mask dance. There are also some sculptures that are relevant to Hindu mythology. The museum is actually inspired by four Kingdoms which are from Yogyakarta to Surakarta Sunanate. Aside from the traditional clothes, you will also find literary pieces like poetry and letters about love and the kindness of kings written in both formal and informal ways.

Statue of Buddha at Borobudur. GT2/Say Tola

Lava Merapi Tour

Let’s take a break from learning histories, cultures and arts! Let’s do some exiting things by taking an off road jeep on a Merapi Lava, breathing fresh air and enjoying the sight of beautiful landscape of Mount Merapi. After getting on jeep and driving on a bumpy road, you will get to see one museum half way to the final destination, the Remaining Treasure Museum.

It is actually a house of local people which they were affected by the Merapi eruption in 2010. Inside the house museum, you’ll be attracted to see cows’ grave which were burned by the hot cloud of Merapi volcano. Inside the room, people can get to see the debris and broken housing materials as well as pictures of the big eruption on November 5, 2010. This massive eruption forced over 350,000 people evacuate from the area. At least 350 people were killed. The ashes of the eruption had been used for construction.

On the way to the edge of the cliff, you will pass through various affected villages that have been slowly transformed into greenery landscapes. Around the cliff, there are huge rivers. There is a bunker close to the mountain which is no longer being used, and if you walk a bit farther, you will get to a see very beautiful view of the villages.

Ullen Sentalu Museum. GT2/Say Tola

There are a lot more that you can see in the city of Yogyakarta. It is not only a city of historical sites and rich cultures; it proudly holds the original form of Ramayana Ballet – a treasure worth preserving. You’ll also not run out of delicious foods and drinks, and traditional clothes at Jalan Malioboro. But more than anything else, Yogyakarta’s greatest attraction is the kindness of the Javanese people.

 

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