Wednesday, September 24th, 2003 – Day 218

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003 – Day 218

I was up around 8.00am and I packed. I was going to Yogyakarta (or Yogya as local call it) today. I wanted to see Kraton Mangkunegaran before I went. As it was only a two hour journey to Jogya, I had the time. I packed in any case.

This beautiful, well maintained Palace (Puro=Karaton) is located in the heart of Surakarta (Solo), in between Ranggowarsito, Kartini, Siswa and Teuku Umar streets. The construction of the Puro dated back in the year of 1757 by the then Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Aryo (K.G.P.A.A) – Mangkoenagoro I (1757-1795). Adipati – Junior King. The Mangkunagaran Principality was founded after a series of bitter struggles against his family and the Dutch V.O.C (East India Company).

The Mangkunegaran Palace is another superb repository of clasical Javanese art and culture. The royal estate contains numerous priceless treasures, mostly from the Majapahit (1293 – 1478) and Mataram (1586 – 1755) empire eras: an exquisite collection of classical dance masks, wayang orang (dance drama) costumes, leather and wooden wayang puppets, religious icons, jewelry, and uncountable other antiques and heirlooms.

Within this magnificent palace is the Reksopustoko Library, where rare volumes of literature, religion and philosphy written in Javanese characters are preserved.

I went there early as there was traditional music and dancing practice from 10.30am for approx. one hour. It was expensive in. It was 10,000 IR (1.05 Euro, hell, thats not expensive) and if you wanted to enter the museum you would need a guide. Donations for the guide were extra. It was a simple place with a nice open air pavillion. The music and dancing were both relaxing and graceful.

I stayed about an hour and a half.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Solo – Java – Indonesia – Kraton Mangkunegaran (24-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Solo – Java – Indonesia – Kraton Mangkunegaran (24-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Solo – Java – Indonesia – Kraton Mangkunegaran (24-09-2003)

After that I went down to the markets to look around. Very crowded but I had my favourite Indonesian dish called Sate Kambing. It was 10,000 IR plus ice tea. It was 11.15am and I headed back to the hotel. I got a rickshaw for the trip to the station and jumped onto the many buses to Jogya. I paid the local 5,000 IR (.52 Euro) price. The train would be nicer, but less flexible. Anyway, it took about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Peacefully cradled at the foot of the Menoreh Mountains in Central Java is the city of Yogyakarta. Often referred to as the biggest village in the world, it is the cultural heart of Java, a culture that spans many centuries. A population of over one million people live in Yogyakarta from a total of four million spread throughout the province.

Yogyakarta has the status of a ‘special area’ and one of only three in Indonesia – Daerah Istemewa Yogyakarta or the Special District of Yogyakarta. It has its own Government and is responsible directly to the Government in Jakarta and not the Government of Central Java.

At one time Yogyakarta was the capital of Indonesia and also the base for the revolutionary forces against the Dutch during their occupation of Indonesia. Located some sixty kilometres from the ocean, Yogya is surrounded by the Menoreh mountain range and shadowed by the volatile volcano Mount Merapi. Yogyakarta is a place that has not only the beauty in its architecture but also in its people and culture.

The Yogyakarta bus station is about 10 km away from the city centre. Rickshaw drivers only want a reasonable 8-10,000 IR for the journey but if you catch the city bus (Number 4) from the station next door, it will get you the main back packer area (Sosrowijayan) for 1,000 IR. It took 30 minutes, but they got me very close to my chosen hotel on that street called – Hotel indonesia. It was a nice clean, quiet hotel for 35,000 IR per night. It had a cold shower, but a shower none the less (I have not seen one of those for a while). I had the best wash for ages and I shaved my hair for the first time in a while. Clean clothes etc and I was a new man. I strutted down the streets. Its a far bigger city than Solo so I needed time to get my bearings. It is supposed to be the central city for back packers but not many (that I could see) about. Not as many facilities either like laundry and email. It took me quite a while to find a laundry which they would hand wash and dry. It seems not many of them have machines. It was 25,000 IR for a big bag.

I found a nice place to eat and I took my time. I walked down the main street which was crazy busy clogged up with horse drawn cart taxis and mptorbikes. I went on the only NET place I could find and I bought two ICE cold beers for after. I sat on my porch and drank the first really cold beers I have had for a while. The owner of the place guaranteed me there were no bed bugs in his hotel. I have been bitten quite badly the last few days. I hope they are not in my blanket!!!

Journalist apologises for ‘cheeky darkie’ jibe at Annan in New Zwaland.

The List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites Issued for 2004. The 2004 World Monuments Watch (http://www.wmf.org) for the first time encompasses all seven continents. It includes 80 sites never before listed.

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