Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ngobaran Beach

Going to Ngrenehan Beach and enjoying the grilled fish will be complete if you drop by Ngobaran Beach that is located adjacent to it. The location of the beach with high cliff is around two kilometers from Ngrenehan Beach. It is not far, isn't it? Local people of Ngrenehan Beach even talk and visit Ngobaran Beach, why don't you?

Ngobaran is such an exotic beach. When sea water falls, you can see spread of both green and brown seaweed. Being looked from the top, the spread of the algae growing in between coral reef looks like spread of rice field in a densely populated area. Tens of sea animal species also present in between the coral reef, ranging from sea urchin, starfish, to various types of cockle shells.

What you will not find in other beaches is the cultural enchantment, ranging from the building to the local food. One interesting place is four praying places that stand side by side. Is it form of multiculturalism? Who knows.

The most prominent one is a building that looks like a temple with ornaments of god statues in white color. The building was built in 2003 to commemorate the arrival of Brawijaya V, one of Majapahit's king, in Ngobaran. The people who use the place are of Kejawan belief. The name 'Kejawan' originates from the nickname of Brawijaya V's son, namely Bondhan Kejawan. The person who built the building acknowledge to be the descendant of Brawijaya V and appointed one person in the community to keep this place.

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Parangkusumo Beach

Upon entering the gate of Parangkusumo Beach, you will immediately feel the sacred nuance of the beach that is located around 30 kilometers south of Yogyakarta city and it is believed to be the entrance gate to the south ocean. You will soon smell the fragrance of flowers and incense as the materials of an offering; the nuance you will find nowhere but in this beach.

The sacredness of the place feels more distinct when you look at the scattered flowers and sets of offerings on the Love Stone that is located in Puri Cepuri complex where Panembahan Senopati and Queen of the South met and made an agreement. At that time, Senopati was meditating on the bigger stone in the north when Queen of the South approached him and sat on the smaller stone in the south.

The meeting between the two authorities had influence on the relationship between Yogyakarta Kingdom and Bale Sokodhomas Kingdom. It began when Senopati was perfecting his supernatural powers by doing the ritual of tapa ngeli or carrying himself away in the river. Arriving at a certain phase of his meditation, suddenly there was storm on the beach, trees were yanked out by its roots, the seawater was boiling and fish were thrown to the land.

The occurrence compelled the Queen of the South to show up on the surface of the ocean to see Senopati. Senopati expressed his ideal to govern Mataram and asked the Queen of South for her help. The Queen promised him the help with the conditions that Senopati and his descendants would be willing to become her husbands. Senopati took the conditions with the request that the marriage should not bear children.

The agreement made Yogyakarta Kingdom as one of Mataram frictions to have close relationship with the Kingdom of the South Ocean. The proof of such a relationship is the labuhan alit (giving an offering by throwing out certain things to the sea) that is done annually. One part of the labuhan ceremony is planting parts of Sultan's nails, hair and clothes in the area of Puri Cepuri.

The meditation of Senopati that bore useful fruits caused many people to believe that any requests will be answered if they are said by the Love Stone. It is not surprising, therefore, hundreds of people from different classes and religions come to the place on certain days they consider sacred. Going in pilgrimage to the Love Stone is also believed to help someone to release heavy burdens from him and to give new life spirit.

In addition to the Love Stone and the labuhan procession, you can also enjoy the beauty of the beach and the breeze of the seashore on a horse-cart. You only have to pay IDR 20,000 for the pleasant ride.There are many warongs where you can buy meals and drinks. Quite big numbers of visitors makes this area crowded every day, even until late at night. Some of them even spend the night in this beach to say their prayer. If you want to share the spiritual experience in Parangkusumo Beach, you can join the pilgrims praying.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Blandongan Coffee (Warung Kopi Blandongan)

At the south of Plaza Ambarukmo there is also quite comfortable place to meet, namely Warung Kopi Blandongan. It used to have the slogan of saving the nation from cafein shortage; this coffee warong provides special coffee that is processed by the seller himself.The taste of the coffee proves the truth of the slogan. Blandongan coffee has right thickness and bitterness that is served in the right small cups. The thickness of the coffee can even be seen from the coffee deposit in the cup after you finish it.

The atmosphere of this warong is just suitable for people to gather. Many visitors sit crosslegged. Under yellowish light and bamboo walls seem to bring you to a village atmosphere. When you are hungry, you can try light meals such as fried peanut or other fries.

To the south of Warung Kopi Blandongan there is another coffee warong named Kopi Grek. The warong offers coffee with bigger portion but less thickness. Even though it also serves coffee as the main menu, kedai Kopi Grek has different atmosphere, for example the sitting arrangement in an open space to make it comfortable to enjoy the night air. Kedai Kopi Grek also servers rice as its menu, unlike Blandongan that serves light meals only.

The prices both at Kopi Grek and Kopi Blandongan are similar; they are just cheap! A cup of coffee at Warung Kopi Blandongan sells at IDR 2,000 while at Kopi Grek it costs IDR 2,500. Sometimes, Warung Kopi Blandongan also packs its coffee and sells the coffee powder at IDR 10,000 for 250 grams package.

Zero Kilometers of Yogyakarta

Hmm... so, if you go to Yogyakarta, go visit the zero kilometers of yogyakarta, this area is located before the entrance to the Alun-alun Utara.

Sogan Village Resort

Travel anywhere on the island of Java and you will see antiquated and traditional Javanese houses dating from the previous centuries. These places are airy, very large and beautifully constructed. And, you will see a lot that are rundown and dilapidated. It would be great if you could ‘fold up’ all these buildings and carry them to one place and create a grand village. Not such a crazy idea!.

Abandoned traditional Javanese houses dating back to the 19th century have now found a new home at Sogan Village Resort, located some 10 kilometres to the north of Yogyakarta, a unique culinary and cultural recreation destination that offers traditional cuisines and cultural attractions.Built on some 3,000 square meters of land, at Sogan Village visitors can partake of the pleasures and tranquility of village life within an authentic, traditional Javanese atmosphere.

Bakmi Jawa

Noodles are popular among the nations. It's came from the ancestor of China then spread everywhere just like a viruse. In the land of Java, it's called Bakmi Jawa. Bakmi means noodles then Jawa is Java people. It is represent the location of the noodles made of.

In Java, especially Jogjakarta, have plenty of Bakmi Jawa food stalls. It's spreading on many areas as a local tradition cullinary. Usually, the stalls name according to the owner name or where the stall is selling at. For an example, Bakmi Jawa Pak Mul, it's means Mul is the name of the owner or Bakmi Jawa Lor Kretek is noodles stalls where selling at the north of the bridge.  Then many others such as Bakmi Jawa Pak Gino, Bakmi Jawa Pak Suradi, Bakmi Kadin, Bakmi Mbah Mo, etc.

Bakmi Jawa has different taste then another noodles. This kind of noodle made of chicken which not raising on purpose. The chicken usually live on the kampoong or villages. In Javanese, it called as ayam kampung. Javanese believe that kind of chicken made bakmi more delicious.  Normally, bakmi used the yellow noodle mixed with white noodle. Then it's mix together with the chicken and cooked in a clay pot. As the popular Javanese food, Bakmi Jawa is becoming main menu. Sometimes, people eats bakmi and drinks tea with sugar cube.

Bakmi is popular to people who came to Yogyakarta. It wide spread accross age, gender or profession. Even it not expesive, just Rp 7000 to Rp 10.000, bakmi is outstanding meals. It can give you different sensation, like travel imagination from China to Java then else.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kalasan Temple

Candi Kalasan (also known as candi Kalibening) is an 8th century Buddhist temple located 13 km east of the Yogyakarta on the way to Prambanan temple, right on south side of main road 'Jalan Solo' between Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Indonesia. Kalasan Temple is built in Kalasan village about 2 km west of Prambanan, 15 km from Yogyakarta. _It is dedicated to a Buddhist Goddess, TARA. It is 6 meters tall and has 52 stupas. This unique Buddhist temple is located east of Yogyakarta, on the south side of the main road between Yogyakarta and Solo. 

It was built in honor of the marriage between king Pancapana of Sanjaya Dynasty and a Princess of Syailendra Dynasty, named Dyah Pramudya Wardhani. It is beautifully ornamented with finely carved relief and coated with "vajralepa", a yellowish material made from the sap of a certain tree. The vajralepa functioned as an adhesive and as protection against moss and mildew, while at the same time it refined the carvings. This temple is 24 m high and its base built in the form of a Greek cross.


Gudeg is a traditional food from Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia which is made from young Nangka (jack fruit) boiled for several hours with palm sugar, and coconut milk. Additional spices include garlic, shallot, candlenut, coriander seed, galangal, bay leaves, and teak leaves, the latter giving a brown color to the dish. It is also called Green Jack Fruit Sweet Stew. Gudeg is served with white rice, chicken, hard-boiled egg, tofu and/or tempeh, and a stew made of crispy beef skins (sambal goreng krecek).

There are three types of gudeg; dry, wet and East-Javanese style. Dry gudeg has only a bit of coconut milk and thus has little sauce. Wet gudeg includes more coconut milk. The East-Javanese style gudeg employs a spicier and hotter taste, compared to the Yogyakarta-style gudeg, which is sweeter.

Hills of The Stars (Bukit Bintang)

The greatest exotic up here. What do you think about stand with the stars shinning above? You do not need to be an astronauts or becoming NASA members anymore. There's a way to make it happen: visit Bukit Bintang (Hills of The Stars), a southern spot in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. You can get it for free; find the exotics of real life there.

People come by driving their motorbikes and cars, parked it along the downhill way. And wait, then the moment of crazy little things happened: sunset. The color blends, just like a rainbow and sea. Like millions leafs of green, strawberry of red and cheese of yellow. The pretty of sunset blows up my head with question: how it could be.

For the next minutes, dark sky comes. It's almost 6.30 p.m. People who lived in the downside of the hill will turn on the lights. And the next crazy things happened: stars-lights are represented by the lamps. It's more than a sunset. Stars came out from their nest. One by one.  They tried for welcoming you. You are above them.  Please, enjoy it first.

Mostly, people came there for escape from their daily life routines. They think they can away or at least give space for their own. The wide scenery and landscape of Yogyakarta easily captured. And it's time for relax.

Few young men started their living. They are wearing light orange jacket and holding torch in their hand. Yes, they are parking man. Some of local villagers used the empty space as their business places. They sold meal and coffee. You got everything less than $1. They build their building without no one knows for safety and good knowledge of constructions.  Just by bamboo and some with cements.

While people tried to be happy and found greatest exotics, the villagers start to make a living.  The responsible people leaved them high and dry.

The Amazing Ratu Boko Temple

Now, you can see the amazing Ratu Boko Temple. Standing on the top of the hill and hide of it beauty. From this place, you can feel the peace and also able to see Jogjakarta/Yogyakarta city and Prambanan temple with Merapi Mountain as the background. Ratu Boko Temple has a width of 2.5 lakh square meters and boasts beautiful monasteries, terraces, ponds and temples. 

The impressive entrance gate of the Ratu Boko Temple boasts two separate gateways set at different levels. It is decorated with intricate stone facings. About 50 m from the main gate is a temple of white stone. Just nearby you can see two square terraces used for burning corpses. Within the Ratu Boko Temple, there is a well called Amerta Mantana. The water of this well is considered lucky and used on auspicious days by Indonesia's Hindu people. 

At Ratu Boko Temple you'll also see a series of circular pools carved into the limestone. These were used for royal baths. Two caves formed of sediment stones lie at the eastern end of the palace, The upper cave is called Gua Lanang (Male Cave) and the lower cave Gua Wadon( Female Cave). These Buddhist caves also have Hindu elements of Linga and Yoni, and statue of Ganesha. So, visit the beautiful Ratu Boko Temple, Yogyakarta and get an insight into Indonesia's fascinating heritage.

Plaosan Temple

After visiting Prambanan temple, you should not rush to your hotel, because close to the beautiful Hindu temple, you can also see other interesting temples. Moving 1 kilometer northwards, you will find Plaosan Temple; a temple constructed by Rakai Pikatan for her wife, Pramudyawardani. The architect of the temple that is located in Bugisan village of Prambanan sub-district is combination of Hindu and Buddha.

Plaosan complex is divided into 2 groups, namely the North Plaosan Temple and the South Plaosan Temple. Both of the temples have square terrace that is encircled by wall, a pillbox for meditation at the west part and dome on other side. Because of that similarity, the appearance of both temples are the same when they are seen from distant so that Plaosan temple is also called the twin temples.The North Plaosan Temple has middle courtyard encircled by wall with the entrance at the west side. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a hall as wide as 21.62 m x 19 m. At the eastern part of the hall, there are 3 altars, namely north, east and south altars. The pictures of Amitbha, Ratnasambhava, Vairochana, and Aksobya are at the east altar. Samantabadhara statue and Ksitigarba figure is at the north altar, while Manjusri picture is at the west alter.

The South Plaosan temple also has a hall at the center that is encircled by 8 small temples that is divided into 2 ranks and each rank consists of 4 temples. There also pictures of Tathagata Amitbha, Vajrapani with vajra attribute at the utpala and Pranjaparamita who was considered "the mother of all Buddha". Some other pictures can still be found but not at their original places. Manujri figure that according to a Dutch scientist named Krom is significant can also be seen.

Part of this bas relief has unique picture of man and woman. There is a man described as sitting cross-legged with worshipping hands and a figure of a man with vara mudra and vse at his leg encircled by six smaller men. A woman is described as standing with vara mudra hands, while there are book, pallet, and vase around her. Krom explains that figures of those man and woman are descriptions of supporting patron from two monasteries.

The entire complex of Plaosan temple has 116 ancillary domes and 50 ancillary temples. Ancillary domes can be seen on each side of the main temple, as can smaller ancillary temples. Walking northwards, you can see open building called Mandapa. Two inscriptions can also be found; they are the inscription on gold coin at the north of the main temple and an inscription written on a stone in the first line of the ancillary temples.

One of the characteristics of Plaosan temple is the smooth surface of the terrace. Krom explains that such a terrace is different from other temples of the same time. To his opinion, it is related to the function of a temple by that time that is predicted to keep canonical texts owned by Buddhist monks. Other prediction by Dutch scientists, if the number of monks in that area is small then the terrace might be used as a place for Buddhists to pray.

If you go around the temple complex, you will notice that the complex of Plaosan temple is wide. That can also be noticed from long fence stretching 460 meters from north to south and 290 meters from west to east. There is also moat inside stretching as long as 440 meters from north to south and 270 meters from west to east. The moat can be seen by walking eastwards through the middle part of this historical building.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Soto Pak Slamet, Yummmy...

Cooking is expertise, the Javanese word for a mention talent. That's why many owners like the traditional food stalls, the brand name for its own business. For example, of Sate Mangun Pak, Gudeg Mbok Sadhem, Ayam Goreng Suharti day or so.

Similarly, Slamet choose the name Soto Pak Slamet sotonya to stall. The type of food that he be selling "generic" because soto can be found in almost every road in Yogyakarta. However, soto-owned Pak Slamet different stalls soto other. No need to talk about taste, the evidence stalls Pak Slamet has stood since a quarter century ago.

Starting from a small shop reot the roadside near the railway Patukan Road, south of Hamlet Mejing, Ambarketawang, Dalkeith, Dollar, the original Slamet buyers expect only from workers who each day pass in the lane next kiosk.
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