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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yogyakarta- the ancient city of art

An ancient city existed ever since the 8th Century C.E., located in the middle of Java Island, Indonesia. The work of art  strengthen the image of the Yogyakarta (Jogja) as an ancient city of art.

Night sky of Merapi Mountain foothill, south entrance, Kaliurang. 

Merapi Mountain is my priority, upon setting foot on the ancient city, i compare several transportation fares from the airport to Kaliurang, then hop on to the south entrance to Merapi Mountain. There are 2 entrances to Merapi Mountain, south (Kaliurang) and north (Selo), due to the violent eruptions of Merapi Mountain in 2010, outburst of lava had covered and destroyed the south entrance to Merapi Mountain, if you wish to hike, you ought to go north (Selo). Taxi fares to Kaliurang will cost you around Rp. 200,000 to Rp. 250,000 and Selo will cost around Rp. 300,000 to Rp. 350,000.

In the early 19th century, some Duth geologists living in Yogyakarta intended to find a place for their family vacation. They went along north high land and found Kaliurang, 900 meters above sea level, it was enchanted by nature beauty and coolness, they finally built bungalows and make Kaliurang their vacation place. You can still see these bungalows at Kaliurang, well maintained by the locals. i'd randomly selected a Guest House in Kaliurang, Rinjani, Rp. 100,000 a night, it was a 5 stars service from the owner, Rifki. Kaliurang is surprisingly chill at 26 Celcius day time, 20 Celcius at night, no wonder it was chose as a vacation place by the Dutch.

Rest, and lunch, i make my first hike to Pronojiwo Hill, September is a dry season for Yogyakarta, i wasn't able to witness the magnificent waterfall at Pronojiwo foot hill, it was bald dry. No rest, it'll take you about 20-30 minutes hike to Pronojiwo top. Covered with breeze, even when sun over my head, the coolness instill, the air dances through trees, it was refreshing.

From the top of Pronojiwo Hill, clouds massed over Merapi Mountain. 

This woman carries water, hefty loads hike along with me all the way to the top no rest. She had been doing this everyday, at least 2 hikes or more a day, for the past 26 years. 

 Kids frolicking at Pronojiwa foothill.

 Main income for the Kaliurang people, reaped from running local business (Dagang), restaurants (Warung), plantations, transportation.

 at the Streets of Kaliurang.

 at Rinjani Guest House.

 Little kids big ride.

a home feel Warung at the road side.

 and it serves the best Indomie at Yogyakarta! Yes! i do mean, best!

 Friendly warung owner.

 Kue Leker, one of the local food.

Dinner for Sate Ayam! 

The Merapi's eruption was said by authorities to be the largest since 1870s, 350,000 people evacuated, however some remained at their homes while the eruptions were continuing from late October 2010 to November 2010, 353 people were killed, resulted from pyroclastic flows. The eruptions plumed south heavily populated and covered the slopes of Merapi, sinking several villages a few meters deep, i took a jeep ride for Rp. 250,000 to Merapi foothill, what used to be the south entrance, the ground zero of the tragic.

 at the dawn of Merapi foothill, severely cold.

 Sunrise broke the dawn, it gives life to the deserted ground, shower with blessings.

 Towards Merapi slopes on a 1963's Jeep Wrangler!

Here, Rocks were collected for construction purpose.

 Merapi Mountain breathing gently

 Warung at the entrance to Merapi Foothill.

Some of the local foods, from left, Nasi Gudeg, a traditional food from Yogyakarta made from young Jackfruit boiled for several hours with palm sugar and coconut milk, served with white rice, chicken, hard boiled egg, tofu. Mie Campur, a noodle mixture of bean-curd and eggs. Jadah Tempe, a traditional snacks made of Glutinous rice and boiled soybean cake.

i left Kaliurang for Borobudur, taxi fares cost Rp. 200,000 to 250,000, 50km for 1 and a half hours trip. The first Kingdom, Mataram who built Yogyakarta some thousand years ago, 8th Century C.E.  also built Borobudur Temple, which eventually becomes the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, 300 years before Angkot Wat in Cambodia. Known to the locals, the biggest volcano eruption happended in year 1006, the magnificent temple was buried by the eruption material of Merapi Volcano. It was buried deep for thousand years, only later was rediscovered by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1814.

 Built between 750- 842 C.E. by Samaratungga, measured 60,000 cubic meters with height of 34.5 meters, base measuring 123 meters by 123 meters. The shrine was constructed in 3 layers: pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with 3 round platforms and a towering stupa or a bell shaped chamber.

 Restoration work at Borobudur.

 Stone wall of Borobudur Temple.

 Restoration workers at work.

 Each stupa contained a Buddha Statues, in total of 504 statues.

 Buddha Statues guarding the west Yogyakarta.

 Buddha Statues inside the Stupa.

 The temple teems with relief sculpture, with 1,212 panels with narrative carvings, a love story they said.

 Towering stupa, bell shaped tower, points to heaven, a blissful realm beyond form and concept, known as Nirwana. 

 Some 72 smaller Stupa crowned the top of Borobudur Temple.

 Cloud formation massed over Yogyakarta town.

Sunset at Borobudur Temple.

a Japanese traveler i met at a random guest house right opposite Borobudur Temple, Rp. 100,000 a night.

Next morning, i rented a bicycle for Rp. 20,000, and venture into a little village before Menoreh Hill. Ohh. By the way, did i mention, the entrance fee for international visitors is Rp. 188,000?
 Students exercising at field. 

 Pretty Young Things!

 The making of Gudang Garam!

 Sun dry tobacco leaves.

 Small village with big ancient gems!

 Mr. Sukardi to be exact, inherit the tradition from his father, antique collector and a self taught archaeologist.

 a collections of ancient art wisdom.

 The man with a thousand wisdom, Mr. Sukardi had been running ancient art all of his life, collecting, searching and unearthing artifacts on his own from deep forest or river side. He also, speaks fluent English in American slang.

i came upon Mr. Sukardi in surprise, when i was shooting his hut, he came out and asked if i want to see some ancient art, at first, i thought he was trying to sell me antiques. i was wrong! not only he didn't ever try to sell things, he explained to me one by one, part by part about his collections and some Borobudur history. And all he asking in return is for me to post him some printed pictures.

i was hungry and tired, no Warung at sight after an hour bicycle ride. and then i stumbled upon a 5 stars delight! Yogyakarta is so awesome, i should treat myself with excessive indulgence of luxury.

 Mountain view of the Amanjiwo Resort restaurant.

Could resist the fine-class architecture and interior design of the resort, wonderful food too. Rp. 250,000 for luxury indulgence brunch! 

To travel from Borobudur to Yogyakarta town, you can opt for taxi Rp. 200,000 or bus ride to town for only Rp. 8,000! Yogyakarta is a place where tradition and modern dynamics going on together continuously. In this city, there are institutes that teach and run tradition, numerous traditional and handcraft centers. i'm amazed of how the government respect and embrace their roots.

 Hand drawn Batik on Silk by the art institutes student, Mur. The drawing depicts Bima, one of the brother heroes of the Indian epic, the Mahabharata (the story of the great war), a hero of Bravery.

 Kraton, the palace where Sultan and his family of Yogyakarta live, a living culture museum, where people still reside in the Kraton flame guard the culture. At this place, i learn and see on how Javanese culture continue to live and preserved.

 Inside the palace.

 Wayang Kulit, Leather Puppet.

 Worker flourish the cow leather puppet in colors. 

 the owner of puppet workshop, Putro Wayang. 7 years into making shadow puppet.

 Puppet show!

 Here's Allem, a local tri-shaw and tour guide i hired, Rp. 50,000. Very friendly local guide, brought me around the town, also, i was on his tri-shaw from 3.30pm until 8.30pm. A fruitful ride.

 Inside the Palace, where you can see life started to slow down here.

 Taman Sari, Water Castle in sunset.

 Little girl in at the Palace front gate.

 Hawker at Malioboro.

 at Malioboro road, a shopping paradise, of souvenirs and foods!

 at the center of Malioboro road.

 P.Y.T. of Malioboro.

 Bus station at Malioboro.

 Very very delicious food!

 Hawkers at Malioboro.

 Best Mie Ayam, Chicken Noodle i had so far!.

Young Street Performers! Beautiful bamboo music!

Night at Yogyakarta town. 

Yogyakarta is a place with story, it dwells on the powerful force of nature, compels Ancient art of the city to live. It is a unique combination of ancient temples, history, traditions, culture and natural forces make it a very special place.

 Embrace the charm of ancient city!