Just to the east of Yogyakarta and in the shadow of the highly respected and revered Mt. Merapi is the temple complex of Prambanan and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Building began in the 9th century and continued for another 130 years. The final result being a series of highly ornate and religiously important temples that stand today as a testament to the efforts of generations. One of the more remarkable features of Prambanan is the fact that the complex contains temples of two religious groups; Hindu and Buddhist.
Buddhism had been the earlier religion in Java and temples had been constructed. As Hinduism became the primary religious doctrine in the 9th century the massive temple at Prambanan dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva was built. It is 154 feet tall and was constructed as an answer to the Buddhist temples nearby. It is said to mark the return of Hindu dominance after almost a century where-in Buddhist leaders had ruled the area.
The day begins as all days begin when traveling; map out the town and head to the sites that made you want to come here in the first place. By the time the day would be over I will have explored the city, taken refuge from the heat in the Sultans palace, an underground mosque, and a royal garden swimming pool complex created originally for the wives of the sultan. Continue reading In the Shadow of a Giant Prambanan Temple →
Like Ubud in Bali, Yogyakarta is the cultural and artistic center of Java. You can find everything here from fine art, ballet, dance, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows to the manufacturing of silver, leather, and batik.
It is a city so incredibly vibrant that as soon as you enter, you are completely consumed.
You know you have arrived in a city that is special and it does not disappoint. No traveler to Java should by-pass Yogyakarta.
I spoke of the cities pride in an earlier post and cannot help but mention it again.
(see Merapi’s Fingerprint)
It is relevant to any heritage tour in a way that is opposite to the relevance of other cities. You won’t find a large contingent of Dutch architecture here…there is some but not much.
What you will find is a wealth of Indonesian and world history. Continue reading Tales of Two Cities Yogyakarta and Malang →
If Bali is the gem of Indonesia then Yogyakarta is most certainly the jewel of Java. I arrived by bus from Semarang and at first glance was a little confused by the amount of dust blowing around in the bus terminal. I couldn’t remember Yogyakarta being this dry and gritty from previous visits.
The light brown soot caked everything. Buses and taxis appeared as if wearing Audrey Hepburn sunglasses. An effect of the wiper blades cutting through the dust and leaving two perfectly symmetrical arches through which driver and passengers could view the oncoming world.
After a minute and feeling a little stupid I realized it was ash…more was to come.
I have visited Yogyakarta several times and always found the people here to not only be incredibly friendly but also fiercely proud. They appear to display a joy in explaining the virtues of their city, ensuring you get from A to B without problem, and always requesting feedback, positive of course.
How do you like Yogyakarta?
This question is one of a seemingly standard set that run the gamut from your age to marital status to profession. A “No” answer to the marriage question will then take you on a whole other journey of questions designed to Continue reading Merapi’s Fingerprint →