Friday, April 19, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
|Prambanan: The Exotic Hindu Temple|
As the largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia, the beautiful and graceful temple of Prambanan is a magnificent spectacle and an icon of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.
Located not far from the Buddhist Borobudur temple, the proximity of the two temples tells us that on Java, Buddhism and Hinduism lived peacefully next to one another.
Prambanan is known locally as Roro Jonggrang, coming from the legend of the ‘slender virgin’. According to the legend once upon a time, there was a young and powerful man named Bandung Bondowoso. He wanted to marry a beautiful princess named Roro Jonggrang. Her father, the king, agreed and forced her to marry Bandung Bondowoso. Butm Sita did not love him yet could not refuse him.
After careful consideration, she thought of a way to refuse Bondowoso, whose magical power was well-known. She decided she would agree but only if Bondowoso built 1,000 temples in one night before the break of dawn.
She insisted that the work must be completed before the rooster crowed, something she believed was impossible. But with the help of genies and his own magical powers, Bondowoso managed to complete 999 temples. Panicked, Jonggrang told the women of her village to start pounding rice so that the rooster would wake up and begin to crow. When Bondowoso heard this he was deeply disappointed and wildly enraged. When he found out that Roro Jonggrang had made the roosters crow, he turned her into stone, The statue of a slender virgin graces the main Prambanan temple, while a group of temples nearby is called the Candi Sewu or the Thousand Temples.
The temples at Prambanan were built in the 9th century. The biggest temple is dedicated to Shiva – the destroyer, and the two smaller ones which sit on its right and left are dedicated to Brahma -¬ the creator and Wisnhu – the sustainer. The tallest temple of Prambanan is a staggering 47 meters high. Its peak visible from far away and rises high above the ruins of the other temples.
After hundreds of years of neglect, the Prambanan temple was rediscovered by CA Lons, a Dutchman, in 1733. Since then, this temple has been revitalized and today is widely regarded as the most beautiful and graceful Hindu temple in Indonesia.
The grandeur, complexity, and integrated architectural concept of Prambanan makes this a truly amazing structure. As a unique cultural and architectural marvel, Prambanan was declared a World Heritage site in 1991 by UNESCO.
Indonesia’s fewest province geologically but its strength spans the archipelago. Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta is pronounced “JOEG-ja-kart-a.” Locals simply call it “Jogja.” It is located in the center of the island of Java, bordered on the south by the Indian Ocean, and to the north by a chain of volcanoes of which meeting Merapi, some 27 kms away, can be seen as a dramatic background to the city skyline. Yogyakarta Special Region is geographically located almost equidistant from Indonesia’s two most important international gateways, about 600 kms from Jakarta and 1000 kms from Bali. Yogyakarta also has excellent transport connections by bus, train or plane to the rest of Java, Sumatera, and Bali & Lombok.
Weather in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta Special Region lays approximately 7 south of the equator line and is bathed in tropical; sunshine along the year. Having a tropic climate the daily atmosphere feels a little bit hot and humid. These are only two seasons along the year, the wet or rainy seasons and dry monsoon. Usually the wet seasons begin at September and lasts about August. Generally there are no rainfalls from May to August and therefore the atmosphere feels hot and humid on the day and cool in the night and early morning. The monthly rain falling Yogyakarta varies between 3mm and 496mm in which those above 300mm take place during the month of January up to April.
History of Yogyakarta
People have lived in Central Java and the Yogyakarta area since time immemorial as over the centuries they have been attracted by the rich soil caused by the numerous volcanic eruptions. Earliest recorded history dares from the 9th century and was dominated by Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms that gave rise to the superb temples such as Prambanan, Ratu Boko, Kalasan, Sambisari and Borobudur found in this area. The Kingdom was divided into two regions namely Surakarta Hadiningrat kingdom under the rule of Sunan Pakubuwono III, and Nyayogyakarta Hadiningrat kingdom under the rule of Sultan Hamengku Buwono I. He was the founder of the present line of Sultans who still live in the Kraton and play important role in Javanese culture. The second kingdom was later called Yogyakarta, now better known as Yogyakarta.
Culture of Yogyakarta
Since the former capital and the center of several kingdoms in the past, Yogyakarta and its people are very rich in its cultural heritage. Civilization, art and culture had developed respectively in the era of the ancient Mataram Kingdom 17th – 18th century, and the Sultanate Ngayogyakarto from the mid of 18th century up to today.
Yogyakarta is Java’s most popular tourist destination for internationals and Indonesians alike. It has unlimited options for hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and tours. It’s a very easy city to get around and is easily enjoyed.Whatever Yogyakarta is, or aims to be, this charming city with its surrounding jungles, rice fields and mountains lies in the heart of Indonesia’s most important ancient empires. In Yogyakarta itself you can visit the impressive Sultan’s Palace under the watchful, but friendly eyes, of a hundred palace guards in their traditional and distinctive uniforms.
Then, a stroll down Malioboro Street is an unforgettable shopping experience where fine batik, silverwork, ceramics, earthenware, locally produced hand rolled cigars, traditional medications, leather, curios, wood carvings, furniture, masks, and puppets are among the many offerings.
Yogyakarta is the easiest and best place in Java to see traditional Javanese performing arts. The Ramayana ballet, traditional orchestra, and a variety of leather puppet performances are held on a regular basis. It is important to note that this is all part of the living culture of Yogyakarta and color of daily activities of live and behavior of the local inhabitants, particularly the Javanese community with its traditional way of life and customs.
So, because of its culture richness and heritage, Yogyakarta has long been known as the cradle of Javanese culture.