Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Kaliurang – Prambanan

Kaliurang – Prambanan, Yogya Sun 13/2/11

Ah rise and shine! Today we would be visiting Kaliurang, a view point of Mount Merapi in the morning and Prambanan temple in the afternoon. Tri suggested that from Kaliurang we go to Borobudur instead, but because we wanted to watch the Ramayana ballet which was scheduled tonight (or so I thought, there's a story behind it, read on, I'll tell you later), we decided to stick with our original plan. I have checked the Ramayana ballet schedule online beforehand here.

After breakfast, we headed to Kaliurang (900m above sea level) which is about 30km (45 minutes) from our hotel. “Kali” means river, while “urang” means prawn, so literally it means prawn river. It is located on the southern slopes of Mount Merapi. We then proceeded further to the village of Kinahrejo near to Kaliadem which is 1100m above sea level and about 6km from the Merapi summit. In its original state, it is a scenic lush green pine forest with cool mountain air.


Kinahrejo was badly affected by the recent Merapi eruption in Nov '10. We could see trails of destruction from the ravenous Merapi lava spewing hot clouds of 800-1000 C air. The lava flow left a valley of dried river.The hot lava set afire the houses, villages and plantations, burying them under the hot sands. What was left is grey sands and rocks from the lava. Trees were destroyed, but the people of Kinahrejo have come back to build back their lives by planting new crops – we could see patches of greenery sprouting up. Some were also seen trying to salvage whatever they could from what was left behind and building back their houses. There was also a CSR effort going on where we saw volunteers cleaning up the area under the “Peduli Merapi” campaign.

Valley of dried river

Trail of destruction

Peduli Merapi

Ooops excuse us, we like to jump around :-p

We saw a house that was missing its roof, part of the walls tumbled down, with chairs, tables and bed frames half submerged in the volcanic ash. Clothes were strewn around. A car was flipped with only its chassis carcass left behind, its metal melted by hot molten lava (tongue twister intended hehe)

Carcass of a car

Houses destroyed

Unfortunately also, the Gatekeeper of Merapi – Mbah (wise old man or grandfather) Maridjan perished in the Nov 10 eruption. I was told his body was found in a prostrating (sujud) position. Mbah Maridjan was a royal servant, born in 1927, and was given an order by the King of Yogyakarta Palace to be Mount Merapi's gatekeeper, continuing his father's job. Every year he lead the ritual of Labuhan Merapi, a ritual which hundreds of people climb up near to Merapi's peak and pray to God to protect them.

Read more here

We visited the spot that used to be his house and took a picture of his daughter. We also visited the site that used to be Masjid Al Amin.

This is where Mbah Maridjan's house used to be - completely destroyed

Mbah Maridjan's daughter (with black headgear, seated 2nd from left)

Before heading back, we had jagung bakar and some drinks. Prambanan temple was next in the list, but before that, we had lunch first at Rumah Makan Nyonya Muharti and had nasi padang. Lunch cost only IDR 113K (or RM39) with nom nom chocolate and cheese banana fritter as dessert. Otw for lunch, we passed by a village where there was a traditional wedding ceremony going on. All were dressed in traditional Javanese attire and we saw the bride and groom seated at the dais, quite similar to a Malay wedding. We couldn't stop by as it was a narrow road, plus everyone was dozing off actually hehe, we were awoken by the loud traditional music.

Jagung bakar @ Kaliurang

Cheese banana fritter @ Ny Muharti

It was scorching hot so we took our own sweet time to finish lunch. After praying at the nearby masjid, we proceeded to Prambanan temple just across the street. Entrance fee is IDR117K (or RM40). There is a big difference between locals and international tourists – locals only pay IDR17.5K (about RM6!!) We didn't dare to pose as Indonesians as Tri told us one of his customers from Malaysia were caught by the guards – their accents blew the cover. Maybe one should just keep quite as to not arouse suspicion hehe.. The Malaysians were brought to the guards office and were not allowed in.

Feeling the entrance fee quite expensive, we decided not to take a guide which would cost us another IDR75K (RM26), but then regretted the decision as we could only guess what the statues / carvings were about (told ourselves to google them up later or check our Lonely Planet guide book), plus we didn't have a tripod with us and there was no extra hand to take pictures of 4 of us together. The guide cost would be shared with the 4 of us anyway, so we should have taken a guide – lesson learnt for next day's trip to Borobudur!

Braving the sun, we entered the temple complex with the museum in mind first – for us to seek shelter. I told you it was really hot!

Otw to the museum, we saw a traditional Javanese performance of “Kuda Lumping” (sort of kuda kepang). Common Kuda Lumping performances comprise only of the troops riding horses, however the one we saw also incorporated trance. We saw 2 teenage girls seeking 'permission' from the elders to perform, and later being possessed and was screaming, it was quite scary.

The girls being possessed

Kuda Lumping dance

Anyway, back to Prambanan – here's a little bit of background:

Prambanan is a ninth century Hindu temple dedicated to Trimurti Gods -the Creator (Brahma), the Sustainer (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). It is no. 642 on Unesco's World Heritage List, declared in 1991. It is the biggest temple complex in Java.

Prambanan:No 642 on the list

It was first built by either Rakai Pikatan or Balitung Maha Sambu the Sanjaya king of the Mataram Kingdom. It signified the Medang court shifting from Mahayana Buddhism to Shivaist Hinduism. It served as the royal temple of the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram where the state's religious ceremonies and sacrifices were conducted. In all there are 224 temples in the entire complex. The Siva temple is at the centre, which is a tower at 47m high Brahma temple at the North and Vishnu temple at the south. The temples of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma are decorated with reliefs illustrating the Ramayana period (history of the Hindu hero Rama). There are also other smaller temples around Prambanan e.g. Candi Plaosan, Candi Sewu, Candi Bubrah etc.

The architecture of Prambanan temple follows the Hindu architecture of Vastu Shastra (like the Chinese Feng Shui). The compound site consists of three zones :

Bhurloka - the lowest realm of common mortals; humans still binded by their lust, desire and unholly way of life

Bhuvarloka - the middle realm of holy people. People here began to see the light of truth

Svarloka - the highest and holiest realm of gods

In the 930s, the court was shifted to East Java by Mpu Sindok, who established the Isyana Dynasty, probably caused by Merapi eruptionor a power struggle. That marked the beginning of the temple's decline. It was soon abandoned and began to deteriorate. The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. The ruins however are still recognizable and known to local Javanese people which inspired the Loro Jonggrang folktale.

In 1811 during Britain’s short-lived rule of the Dutch East Indies, Collin Mackenzie, a surveyor for Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, came upon the temples by chance. Reconstruction of the compound began in 1918, and proper restoration only started in 1930. In 1992 the Indonesian government created a State-owned PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan, dan Ratu Boko to manage the parks. Now it is privately managed.

More info here

Candi Prambanan

As usual, we had our mandatory jumping shots here, but we had to take turns as we didn't have a tripod with us, so we didn't get a complete quorum jumping, sigh. We took pictures until closing time at 6pm, and then planned to watch the Ramayana ballet at 7.30pm. We also bought some souvenirs from the stalls here.

When Tri came to fetch us, he told us that there was no performance tonight, the next one would be on Tuesday night. I swore I have checked the schedule correctly – later when I re-checked, I realised that it was not an updated one – I didn't realise it was for 2010! Double whammy. Now we have to come back again to watch Ramayana. Careless me, I should have asked Tri to just check again the schedule on the day we arrived. There was a performance on Saturday, so we've missed yesterday's show.

So we decided to drown our sorrows with eating instead hehe...Eating never fails to make one happy :) We ate at the Lesehan Citra Rasa. Ah a lesehan is a roadside eating place where you sit down on the mats strewn on the floor. When the shops closes late evening, lesehans take over – the operators open their stalls until the wee hours of the morning – offering various types of food such as nasi gudeg, nasi liwet, gurame bakar, burung dara, B1, B2, tongseng jamu....ooopsss be careful there.

A lesehan

We ordered the nasi gudeg komplit which comprises of rice with jackfruit (nangka) cooked in coconut milk, ayam penyet (smashed chiken, literally), tauhu, tempe, egg (looks like telur pindang, tastes like one too, I think) and beef skin stew (sambal krecek). The krecek is soft – jelly like, and yellow in colour. Only Manto ate everything on the plate lol! I ate everything except the krecek – I did try it, but erm, it was weird. But the other things on the plate were nom nom! Razeif and Liza fared worst – only eating the chicken and tauhu/tempe. Ah I survived the lesehan food yeay! We also ordered our all time fave - ikan gurame bakar and lalap (ulam) to complement our nasi gudeg.

Nasi Gudeg komplit.

Oh, back to B1, B2 – what is it you wonder? It's actually pork – B1 for matured ones (b*b* dewasa), B2 is the meat of the younger ones (b*b* remaja - as told to me by a guide in Medan). Another version I found is B1 is dog meat. Dog meat is also known as tongseng jamu. So be careful when choosing your lesehan – look out for a halal sign before plonking yourself on the mat.

Dinner cost us only IDR 199,000 or RM68. By this time, each of us were fighting to pay the bills – as we wanted to finish up the rupiah lol!

After eating, we dropped by Malioboro wall, just killing time there as it was still early :-p There was a school band competition going on, they performed their own songs, not bad :) But the sound system was really bad though. Liza also bought some tokens and played some games at the mall, but didn't win anything, and in the end gave her token balance to a little girl.

We then decided to go back by taking the horse carriage ride. Well, actually Liza wanted to, so the rest relented hehe. The horse ride only cost us IDR50K (RM17). I liked the sound of the horse trotting with the horse shoe (yes ladam is horse shoe in English, simple as that – we tried to figure this out for days lol!)

On our horse carriage!

Ah, tomorrow will be another candi tour. Stay tuned!



Post a Comment

<< Home