JOGJA HIGHLIGHTS

Prambanan
Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple complex in Central Java. It was built around 850 CE by either Rakai Pikatan, king of the second Mataram dynasty, or Balitung Maha Sambu, during the Sanjaya Dynasty. Not long after its construction, the temple was abandoned and began to deteriorate. Reconstruction of the compound began in 1918. The main building was completed in around 1953. Much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction sites. A temple will only be rebuilt if at least 75% of the original stones are available, and therefore only the foundation walls of most of the smaller shrines are now visible and with no plans for their reconstruction.

Local Legend:
The legend tells of the story about Prince Bandung Bondowoso who fell in love with Princess Loro Jonggrang, the daughter of King Boko. But the princess rejected his proposal of marriage because Bandung Bondowoso had killed King Boko and ruled her kingdom. Bandung Bondowoso insisted on the union, and finally Loro Jonggrang was forced to agree for a union in marriage, but she posed one impossible condition: Bandung must build her a thousand temples in only one night.

The Prince entered into meditation and conjured up a multitude of spirits (demons) from the earth. Helped by supernatural beings, he succeeded in building 999 temples. When the prince was about to complete the condition, the princess woke her palace maids and ordered the women of the village to begin pounding rice and set a fire in the east of the temple, attempting to make the prince and the spirits believe that the sun was about to rise. As the cocks began to crow, fooled by the light and the sounds of morning time, the supernatural helpers fled back into the ground. The prince was furious about the trick and in revenge he cursed Loro Jonggrang to stone. She became the last and the most beautiful of the thousand statues. According to the traditions, the unfinished thousandth temple created by the demons become the Sewu temple compounds nearby (Sewu means “thousands” in Javanese), and the Princess is the image of Durga in the north cell of the Shiva temple at Prambanan, which is still known as Loro Jonggrang or Slender Virgin


We were lucky to have a crew of guides — students from local colleges, who offer their services as guides at the temples to practice their English.


Prambanan is also the location of some of the earliest Buddhist temples in Indonesia. Not far to the north are found the ruins of Bubrah temple, Lumbung temple, and Sewu temple. Further east are found Plaosan temple. To the west are found Kalasan temple and Sari temple, further to the west are Sambisari temple. While to the south the Ratu Boko compounds on higher ground.


lunch!

Jamu
Via Via Cafe is one of the best resources for travelers to Jogja. In addition to the great food, local art exhibits, performances, binders of resources, and tours offered, Via Via also provides classes on local culture — Bahasa Indonesian, cooking, religion and jamu. Eliza and I decided to try the jamu workshop — very interesting and fun!

Jamu is traditional medicine in Indonesia and uses local herbs and roots for treating a broad range of ailments (read more here). One of the most common uses today is for vaginal drying. As our great guide Wiwit put it, “Men here always want to have a new pussycat.”


We started our workshop with a trip to a traditional jamu stand.


Then to the local market to become familiar with the raw ingredients for making our own jamu.


tumeric


Our fabulous instuctor Wiwit


Next to Tyas’s home to learn how to make a face mask for better skin and a remedy for more energy.


Wiwit applying the face mask on Eliza


Tyas’ mother-in-law teaching us how to make the energy drink.


Mashing up the tumeric


Voila!

Ramayana Ballet at Pariwisata
The Ramayana is one of the two great Hindu epics, the other being Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. The story is retold in various versions throughout India, Nepal, and Southeast Asia. The best place to see it in Indonesia is at the open air theater outside the Prambanan temple. However, it’s only presented there during the dry season. The performance at Pariwisata, while it pales in comparison, is still very good.

JOGJA HIGHLIGHTS: SANGKRING ART SPACE

Nano and Dani took us out for a day of visiting art spaces. One of the new spaces is Sangkring, a spacious gallery on the western outskirts of Jogja. Sangkring is owned by artist Putu Sutawijaya, who is building a much larger space across the road that will be used for artist residencies. During our visit we were happily surprised to run into Samuel Indratama and Putu. They gave us a tour of the residency in progress and shared their latest collaborative project — a salon series that invites other artists to come and work together painting and making music.