Monday, September 29th, 2003 – Day 223 to Tuesday, September 30th, 2003 – Day 224

Monday, September 29th, 2003 – Day 223

I decided to stay another night. I also decided not to do any more side trips or major excursions. I just want to take it easy until I leave Indonesia. They are many places you can go in Java but I am tired and need to cut down on traveling a bit. Over seven months of travelin takes its toll.

Again I was up and round 9.00am but did not leave the room until 10.00am. I got a bus to the main station in order to take a bus to the Royal graves of Imogiri . It was 3,000 IR to get there (a 40 minute ride).

The royal burial site of Imogiri ( ‘Mountain of Fog’ ) was built in 1645 by sultan Agung on the western slope of the ‘Thousand Mountain Range'( Gunung Sewu ). Imogiri is located on a hill, 17 kilometres southeast of Yogya, and has ever been the point of reunification with ancestors. At the parking lot behind the quiet village is a big stone stairs towards the mosque on the burial site. After that, 345 steps have to be taken until you reach the actual graves. The story goes that persons who follow the way up count as many steps as when they go down, their wishes will eventually come true.

At the top of the stairs are four big jars filled with water. From west to east they are named Kyai Darumurti ( from the principalty of Srivijaya ), Kyai Danumoyo ( from Aceh ), Kyai Mendung ( from Turkey ) and Nyai Siyem ( from Thailand ). Once a year ther are emptied, cleaned and refilled, in the Jawanese month Suro. It is said that the water from these jars has healing powers and can also bring luck.

Place of pilgrimage

Through a number of gates built in the Indo-Jawanese style you enter the walled area. The highest burial room, with long white curtains along the walls and a strong sweet odour of burning incense and rose-leaves, is the one of sultan Agung. The small room is a favorite place of pilgrimage among Jawanese. Here too, Jawanese clothing is obliged. One of the seventy royal employees from the palaces of Solo and Yogya is available to accept prayers to the deceased.

On the burial site are most of sultan Agungs descendants; the Paku Buwono royals of Solo at the western side, the branch of Hamengku Buwono from Yogya in the eastern part. The biggest burial rooms have marble floors and contain graves of three or four royal leaders and their relatives. The grave of Hamengku Buwono IX, who died in 1988, is at the end of the eastern part. Many graves which surround the central room, belong to family members of the royal rulers.

I walked from the town to the graves (7 minutes) and you are asked for a donation. I gave only 3,000 IR but te guy seemed happy. There are then 350 large steps to get to the graves (its on a hill). You are then asked to sign a visitors book. There are 8 graves here, but only Sultan Agung 111 is important to tourists. Each grave visit costs 1,000 IR (or 8,000 IR for all eight), 2,000 Ir to hire Java Sarong, belt and aht (mandatory)a and a 1,000 IR camera fee (although you can not take pictures of the grave). You can not wear shoes etc. It was like walking on hot coals (cement) but it was red hot. I was hopping from foot to foot. Not many tourists come here. The last one was 7 days ago (from looking at the visitors book).

It was weird. The tomb of the king is covered by a small shed. You go in when an usher tells you and sit beside the tomb in nearly pitch dark. Candles are burning, wax is sizzling, rose pedals everywhere. Its intense as only 4 or 5 people can fit in at one time and they are praying intensely. Its surreal and I did not feel entirely comfortable as I had no knowledge of the Sultan.

I left. They are seven other graves, but one is enough. Visitors can climb the stairs at all time and walk around the graveyard in about ten minutes.

The graveyard itself has special opening times (open 8.00am to 1.0pm today) and is closed during the Ramadhan month. Taking pictures is prohibited, donations are very welcome are you are reminded again and again.

I walked back into town and got a bus back to Yogya. It was only 2,000 IR this time.

I got back to town around 2.00pm and decided to book my bus ticket (overnight bus) to bandung. It is a 10 hour ride. All the bus companies had similar prices for there economic, AC or VIP buses. I did little bargaining and got a AC bus that leaves at 6.00pm tomorrow for 58,000 IR. It should get into bandung at 5.00am on the 1st of October.

A see from today’s Jakarta Post that Cohabitation, oral sex and homosexual sex will soon become crimes in Indonesia. The ministry is drafting an amendment to the country’s criminal code to include acts not currently categorized as crimes but considered morally unacceptable.

These include cohabitation, oral sex, extramarital and non-marital sex, sorcery aimed at hurting other people and homosexual sex, spokesman Sukartono Supangat said. “It’s still in its early stage. We’re still collecting input from various parties and experts,” he said. He said in addition to Dutch colonial law, the proposed amended criminal code will also adopt Islamic law, international conventions and tribal laws. The draft, which is still being debated, proposes that a couple found guilty of cohabitation be punished to up to two years in jail. A man who impregnates a woman but refuses to marry her could spend a maximum five years in prison. Sodomy and oral sex would be punishable by between three to 12 years in jail and homosexual sex would be liable to punishment of between one and seven years

The lonely Planet had desribed Nasi Gudeg as Rice Cooked in Coconut Milk. I have asked three times for this and have gotten rice with various meat. It seems they are wrong again. What I should be asking for is Nasi Uduk. Anyway, more great food today as I had Rice Rolls (Lontong) served with chicken. Hmm, I love the food here. More recipes here.

I think about Muslim head scarfs and how there is so much trouble them them in France , (France 2), Germany , and Europe generally. They are everywhere here in all shapes, colours and styles.

I also hears for the first time that Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is praticed in Indonesia. I was talking to a tourist who said she had met two Western women who converted to Islam to marry locals. There mother in laws had no problem except both women had to undergo the procedure. The above article goes into the practive here in detail but I was a bit taken back that it occurred here.

Some religious leaders believe that the removal or partial removal of the clitoris is beneficial to marriage because a woman would be more likely to remain faithful to her husband if she had no sexual drive. Some religious Islamic leaders consider this practice a mandate of Islam. Other religious leaders believe that this practice is recommended by Islamic teachings but not mandated.

I had alot of trouble with blog in a Net cafe. Blogs kept disppearing and would not refresh. It nearly broke my heart. i was in there until 1.30am trying to sort things out. Finally, they started to make sence. Sorry, if things were messy at your end. Don’t know why I put so much effort into t. Maybe its a hobby. Nice to ahve something to do instead of travelling, reading guidebooks.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Graves (29-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Yogyakarta – Java – Indonesia – Chinnese Temple in town (29-09-2003)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003 – Day 224

My bus is tonight at 6.00pm. I will do little today. i paid my bill for 6 nights at the hotel called Hotel indonesia. It came to 210.000 IR (21.50 Euro) for the whole say. it was a nice quiet place (the ones I like) only 1 minutes walk from the main road (even thought it was down two side alleys). The room was clean and a a good fan. It was ensuite with Western toilet (no flush) and cold shower. The owner was friendly. The only downside were the the half dozen people who played cards in reception every night and if you came ack after 12, you can to strp over 4/5 guys sleeping on the reception floor.

Tyhe journey to Bandung should take 10 hours and I should arrive at 5.00am tomorrow. I will post next from there. I just walked and ate my way around town until the bus left.

FYI,

The cost of a litre of petrol (gas) is 1650 IR (.17 Euro)

The cost of a packet of 20 marlboro cigarettes is 5,800 IR (.60 Euro). No wonder so many people smoke!!!!!!