Friday, September 26th, 2003 – Day 220

Friday, September 26th, 2003 – Day 220

Again I was meant to get up at 8.00am but left it until 9.00am. I decided to visit the main Kraton in Yogya.


At the center of Yogyakarta lies a city within the city: the Kraton. Built in the middle of the 18th century, this walled-city serves as the home of the sultans of what remains of the Mataram kingdom to this day.

It is located in the center of the city of Yogyakarta or just Yogya as the local people call it. Karaton means a place where the Ratu-king lives, other word is Kedaton, with the same meaning. In the Javanese teachings, it has a deep philosophical meaning.

The architect designer of this palace was Sultan Hamengkubuwono I himself, who was also the founder of the kingdom of NGAYOGYAKARTA HADININGRAT. His skill in architecture was appreciated by the dutch scientist – DR. Pigeund and DR. Adam who adored him as ” the architect of his brother-Pakubuwono II of Surakarta”.

The first king moved to his huge and magnificent Karaton on October 7, 1756. Although there are some European style of some parts of the building, structurally this is the vivid example of Javanese palace architecture.

The 14.000 sq. m of the Karaton Yogya has deep philosophical meaning with all its building, courts, carving, trees, and location. This is a Karaton full of significant symbols of human life.

Usually visitors are coming from MALIOBORO STREET, southward through the Alun-alun (north square). In order to understand perfectly well the symbolic meaning of the Karaton, one should walk from south to north. Start from Krapyak, a village of about 3 km south of Karaton.

Anyway, I found out (after walking 30 minutes there) that it would be closed today. Damn,. I decided to visit the Water Castle instead. It was about 15 minutes walk through back alleys and winding maze like streets.

Built in 1758 by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I just west of the kraton, part of this pleasure garden and castle is at present no more than an intriguing collection of ruins, pools, arches and underground passages enclosed by massive walls, however, the central courtyard with the nymph-baths has been restored.

The Water Castle is located in the older part of the city within walking distance from the Bird Market. A number of batik workshops line the avenue leading to the pleasure garden’s entrance.

It was 3,000 IR in and 1,000 IR for a camera permit. Although restored, there is no water in the baths etc. Still it was quite nice. Many guides try and latch onto you and try and bring you to batik factories around the area. It was nicer walking around the maze of streets here and watching girls making batiks. They were slaving away and it looked like hard and delicate work.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Water castle (26-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Water castle (26-09-2003)

Batik (also known as Javanese wax painting) is a technique of textile design accomplished by negative (or resist) dyeing. It is also the name of the resulting fabric. Designs are first painted on both sides of a cloth in melted wax, traditionally poured from a copper pot with several spouts, or applied with various hand tools. After patterning, the cloth is dipped in dye, which is absorbed by the uncovered cloth areas but resisted by the waxed design, thus creating a light pattern on a dark ground. After the wax is removed (by boiling or dissolving) the process may be repeated many times to achieve great intricacy of design and richness of color.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Alleys around the Water Palace (26-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Alleys around the Water Palace. Batik Making (26-09-2003)

Batik, known to the ancient Sumerians, was developed into an art of great beauty by the Javanese and other Indonesian peoples. They used traditional geometric or floral motifs, often symbols of religion or social status, most frequently in blue and brown tones. Batik was introduced to Europe by Dutch merchants in the 17th century, and the process has since become commercialized in Indonesia.

Batik is a textile art similar to tie-dyeing. Instead of tying the fabric, however, wax is applied to resist dyes. The wax can be removed and re-applied several times to make beautiful and intricate designs.

They were adding cloured wax to cloth. The wax must be kept at the proper temperature. A wax that is too cool will clog the spout of the canting. A wax that is too hot will flow too quickly and be uncontrollable. The girls often blew into the spout of the canting before applying wax to the cloth in order to clear the canting of any obstructions.

More information on batiks can found here , and here.

It was now 1.00pm and what to do next!!!

To the south of Yogyakarta, where the Indian Ocean is, there are an abundance of beaches stretching for hundreds of miles along the coast of southern Java. It was one o clock and I did know what I would do next. I passed the mini-bus terminal I was left at last night. There was a bus going to Parangtritis 28km away. Why not go!

In the Bantul Regency, twenty-eight kilometres to the South of Yogyakarta, lies the peaceful idyllic village of Parangtritis. Rugged limestone cliffs overlook huge waves pounding the shoreline; the wide expanse of sand dunes merge into the black sandy beach. Parangtritis is immensely popular. Tourists and locals alike travel there not only for the sunbathing and swimming; but also for the fishing and the tranquil setting ideal for meditation. Two wheeled horse drawn buggies called delman transport people to and fro along the vast expanse of sand. The horses aimlessly trudge along in the thickness of the black sand. The heat of the day can be refreshingly satiated with fresh milk from the green coconuts sold at the numerous palm-thatched pagodas. Aging Javanese women chatter amongst themselves in Bahasa Jawa, not caring (or even looking!) as they slice the head off a coconut with one swish of a machete.

Aging Javanese women chatter amongst themselves in Bahasa Jawa, not caring (or even looking!) as they slice the head off a coconut with one swish of a machete.

Parangtritis is steeped in Javanese mysticism and culture. It is believed there is a south axis connecting mount Merapi, the Kraton, and Parangtritis Beach. According to legend, the Queen of the South Seas–Kanjeng Ratu Kidul– together with her confident Nyai Loro Kidul reign over the Southern seas and all within it. It is said that any person wearing clothing coloured green will be lured into the sea and to their fate by the Queen. This superstition is firmly entrenched in the minds of all Javanese, even as far North as Jakarta. It is the legend of Parangtritis that entrances all who listen. According to the legend, Kanjeng Ratu Kidul was at one time wed to Panembahan Senopati, a ruler of the mighty Mataram kingdom, and she enjoyed his company on occasions. The Western section of Parangtritis beach—Parangkusumo beach—is believed to have been the meeting place of the two mighty rulers; that of the sea and of the land. It is also at Parangkusumo beach where the ceremony of ‘Labuhan’ is performed, coinciding with the inaugural commemoration of Sri Sultan Haamengku Buwono X. Each year, on the 30th day of the Javanese month of ‘Rejeb’, offerings are given to Kanjeng Ratu Kidul. These offerings, in the ceremony of Labuhan, consist of food, clothing, hair, and fingernail cuttings of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The offerings are cast into the sea in the hope that the Sultan and the people of Yogyakarta will have continuous peace and prosperity. The same ceremony is held on top of mount Merapi and Lawu.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Parangtritis (26-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Parangtritis (26-09-2003)

Hmm, more battles with transport companies. I paid 3,000 IR to get to the beach. I had a good Sate before I went for 7,000 IR. It tokk about 45 minutes. The beach and town were deserted, although its a great looking beach with hard sand. No hawkers or souvenior sellers. Just horse and cart rides up and down the breach and guys throwing nets into the sea catching something or another. I had a nice hour there looking around. It was hot and I got a little sunburnt. I had Nasi Gudeg there. Food sites here .

Gudeg and other Indonesian dish recipes can be found here. i will be amking some of these when I get home!!!!!

I took a bus back (this time it cost me 5,000 IR). I met a girl (with head scarf) who had a job translating English books ito Indonesian. She was interesting and she was currently tranlating the FIFTH SEASON into Indonesian. For this alrge book, she said she would do it in 2 weeks. By the way she said mind these village to village buses. She had her wallet stolen twice this year. Still. something didnt not sit right with me about her. I dont know….

In the aftermath of Indonesia’s economic collapse, Chinese women are targeted by the President’s son-in-law’s reckless, and brutal Special Forces. In an evolving Islamic climate, anti-Chinese sentiment drives the country to the brink of collapse as international interest is heightened by factual, photojournalist accounts, of true stories of survival.

Given extra urgency by recent events, The Fifth Season predicted the Indonesian economic collapse and subsequent religious and political upheaval as well as links between Indonesian and Islamic extremist groups. A fascinating and eerily prescient look at recent and on-going events that must be read.

Anyway it was near 5.00pm when I got back. I found a cheap NET place where the bus left me off. It was 7,500 IR for three hours. As most attractions open and close early (2.00pm to 4.00pm), there was little else to do for the rest of the evening.

New Foreign Office (UK) warnings issued today saying:

We advise against all non-essential travel to Indonesia. A bomb exploded at the Marriott Hotel in Central Jakarta on 5 August. We continue to receive information that indicates terrorists are planning further attacks, including against Westerners, throughout the country. If you are already in Indonesia you should consider leaving if your presence is not essential.

We advice against all travel to Aceh. The Indonesian government has declared martial law in Aceh and violence has increased.

A few other things tonight: I had already seen a comical accident involving three cyclists on the way to the beach. I know it was terrible, but to see all those conical hats, and mangled steel and body parts had the whole bus laughing. Nobody was injured. It was just funny. At about 8.00pm, I came accross a big crowd. Two motorbikes had crashed into each other. Both parties were still there. A child and a old amn both had very serious cuts, bruising etc. It was ansty. Many people do not use their lights here when on lity lit streets. A pick up truck came and took them away.

On another note, I came accross a cake shop where its birthday and wedding cakes were enormous. They were asa high as the ceiling and maybe 3/4 metres wide. They are so big I though they may be artificial so I stuck my finger into one (opps) as a test. No, they were real. I never saw cakes so big. I wanted one of the girls to stand in front of one so the pictures would have scale but she refused.

Later, I bought two more MP3 Cd’s. One was Rock Legends, the other was all the albums of John Lennon including two live sets.

I see today that Mongolia’s has a drinking epidemic and is going downhill in a economic sence. I only read in NEWSWEEK a few weeks ago that the country was in great scape and was going to be a regional contender. Funny, eh!!!

I also see today that tourists are getting scammed in Thailand. Visitors get a 30-day visa on entering Thailand. Travel shops in the past have sold extensions but this is now illegal. Many still offer the stamps and hundreds of backpackers unaware of the clampdown are stuck with them. The British Foreign Office is warning that the only legal way to get a new visa is from immigration at a point of entry to Thailand. Nice way to get brides!!!!

Did very little the rest of the evening. Suffering from a little sun burn. I had a beer and went to bed.