:: Mengunjungi Prasasti Cikapundung (Visiting Cikapundung Inscription) ::

•January 6, 2014 • 1 Comment
Cikapundung Inscription

Prasasti Cikapundung

Alkisah, sekitar tahun 2010, terdengar kabar ditemukannya sebuah prasasti di tepi Sungai Cikapundung. Tepatnya di Kampung Cimaung Kulon, Kel. Tamansari, Kec. Bandung Wetan, Kota Bandung. Prasasti ini unik karena diketemukan berada di tengah pemukiman padat penduduk dan sampai saat ini, masih merupakan satu-satunya prasasti yang di temukan benar-benar di tengah Kota Bandung. Prasasti raja Thailand di Curug Dago mungkin ada juga, namun letaknya sudah berada di perbatasan luar kota.

 Suatu siang, selepas Shalat Jum’at di Masjid Lautze 2 Bandung, rasa penasaran saya terhadap prasasti ini menguatkan tekad untuk melihat situs ini. Bermodalkan GPS, dan informasi dari warga yang ditemui sepanjang perjalanan, saya mulai menyusuri rute Merdeka-R.E Martadinata, lalu berbelok kearah Universitas Pasundan. Sampai disini sudah masuk wilayah Kelurahan Tamansari, namun Kampung Cimaung bukan disini, karena letaknya justru berada di bawah Cihampelas. Hanya tinggal menyusuri Jalan Tamansari hingga perempatan Balubur (dibawah fly-over Pasopati), lalu sekitar 50 meter dari simpang tersebut, ada simpang berbelok kearah kiri memasuki Jalan Pelesiran. Lurus saya ikut jalan tersebut hingga akhirnya tiba di tepian Sungai Cikapundung yang cukup deras dikarenakan hujan sempat menggayut di pagi harinya. Bertanya sana-sini diikuti dengan keluar masuk gang sempit, akhirnya saya tiba di prasasti tersebut setelajh 30 menit berjalan.

 Prasasti ini memang hanya sekitar 5 meter dari tebing di tepi Sungai Cikapundung. Berukuran sekitar 1.8 meter dan sepertinya telah tertanam cukup dalam dengan tanah. Selain itu didekat batu ini, telah tumbuh pohon tua yang cukup tinggi, sehingga batu prasasti ini benar-benar dalam kondisi terjepit. Menurut seorang kakek yang bernama Uwak Oong Rusmana (65 tahun), prasasti ini di tahun 2004 sampai 2010, cukup ramai dikunjungi oleh orang-orang peneliti, baik dari Balai Arkeologi Bandung maupun peneliti luar. Bahkan stasiun televisi lokal pun sempat berdatangan di prasasti ini. Rumah Uwak Oong sendiri tepat bersebelahan dengan prasasti dan rupanya beliau sudah menetap di sana sejak 1950-an. Sehingga batu prasasti ini tidak asing bagi beliau.

 Terdapat tiga komponen utama pada prasasti ini. Yang pertama adalah lambang kepala tengkorak berdiameter sekitar 5-8 cm. Lalu ada telapak tangan kecil, dan yang ketiga adalah dua baris tulisan berbahasa Sunda Kuno. Menurut peneliti dari Balai Arkeologi Bandung (Drs. Lutfi Yondri) dan Kepala Seksi Purbakala Disbudpar Jawa Barat (Romlah), isi tulisan tersebut berbentuk uga (ramalan) dan bila dua baris tulisan tersebut disatukan, maka terjemahan dalam aksara latin adalah:

“Ung ga l ja ga t, jal ma h dha p”

Artinya adalah “setiap manusia akan mengalami bencana”. Jadi isi dari prasasti yang diduga berasal dari masa Sunda Klasik di sekitar abad 7 dan 11 Masehi ini lebih cenderung berupa ramalan dan pesan masa depan agar tidak melakukan sesuatu yang merugikan.

 Tulisan tersebut sangat rapi dan jelas sekali dengan tinggi huruf bervariasi dari 2.5 sm hingga 3.5 cm. Sungguh sangat disayangkan apabila perhatian dari pemerintah tidak tercurahkan pada prasasti ini. Terlebih letaknya yang berada di pemukiman padat penduduk, dan ironisnya dekat sekali dengan kamar mandi umum milik warga. Untuk itu, kesadaran warga dan juga pertolongan dari pemerintah melalui dinas terkait sangat dinantikan untuk menyelamatkan situs ini.

 Setelah puas dengan prasasti tersebut, saya segera pamit dan pulang. Ternyata, rute pulang jauh lebih mudah. Saya susuri jalan di depan masjid di depan prasasti, dan sekitar 100 meter darinya, saya keluar di Gang Marga Setia. Yang cukup mengejutkan, gang ini berada tepat di depan Rumah Makan Pringgodani di Jalan Cihampelas No. 97. Lokasinya pun tidak jauh dari fly-over Pasopati. Dengan demikian, justru kita lebih mudah menjangkau lokasi prasasti ini dari Jalan Cihampelas.

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Uwak Oong with Cikapundung Inscription

Uwak Oong with Cikapundung Inscription

Once upon time in 2010, there was news about the discovery of an old inscription on Cikapundung riverbank. It is precisely located in Kampong Cimaung Kulon, Tamansari Village, Bandung Wetan District, Bandung Municipality. This inscription is unique, because it was found in the middle of a densely populated residential and until now, it is the only one inscription that founded in the middle of the Bandung city. Thailand inscription in Dago waterfall may exist as well, but it’s located in the border of city.

 After Friday prayer in the Masjid Lautze-2 Bandung, my curiosity towards these inscriptions strengthens my will to see it. With GPS guidance, and information from local people along the way, I started to walk-down from Merdeka Street – RE Martadinata, and then turned toward Pasundan University. Up here, I’ve already get into Tamansari Village, unfortunately, Kampong Cimaung Kulon is not here. Local people told me, that the kampong is precisely located under Cihampelas area. I decide to stay along the Tamansari Road into the intersection of Balubur (Pasopati fly-over), and approximately 50 meters from there, a left-road which named as Jalan Pelesir is waiting. I then follow this road straight until arrived at the Cikapundung riverbank which the stream quite heavy due to rain in the morning. Thanks to local people, I finally arrived at the inscription after walked 30-minutes following narrow alley.

 This inscription is located only 5 meters from the edge of Cikapundung River. With sized as 1.8 meters, it seemed this inscription have embedded enough in the ground. Besides the inscription, there is an old tree which has grown tall enough which makes the inscription actually in wedge position. According to an old man named Uwak Oong Rusmana (65 years), between 2004 and 2010, the inscription was routine visited by archaeologist, both from Bandung Archaeology Office or outside. Even the local television station also had come to this inscription. Uwak Oong house is right in the next of inscription, and apparently he has lived there since the 1950’s. So, he is really familiar with this this inscription.

 There are three main components in this inscription. The first is the epitome of head skull, approximately around 5-8 cm in diameter. Then there is a small palm on the left side, and the third is a two-lines inscription from ancient Sundanese language. According to archaeologist from the Bandung Archaeology Office (Drs. Lutfi Yondri) and Section Head of Antiquities Tourism and Culture Department West Java (Romlah), the inscription contents of uga (prophecy spell) and when the two-lines inscription put together, the translation in latin alphabet is:

“Ung ga l ja ga t, jal ma h dha p”

The meaning is “every human will sustain a disaster”. So the content of the inscription which allegedly from Sunda Classical period around the 7th and 11th century AD, is more likely future prediction and message for human to not do something harmful.

 The text is very neat and clear with a letter height varies from 2.5 to 3.5 cm. But it is so pity, this inscription lacks of attention from local government. Moreover, it lies in the densely populated area, and ironically close to public bathrooms. Because of that, the awareness of citizens and also attention from the government through the relevant agencies highly anticipated to save this site.

 After pleased with the inscription, I immediately excused to Uwak Oong Rusmana and went home. It turns out, the way home so much easier. I trace the alley in front of the small masjid in front of the inscription, and about 100 meters away, I was out in the Gang Marga Setia (Marga Setia Alley). Surprisingly, this alley is located right in front of Pringgodani Restaurant on 97th Cihampelas Street. The location is not far from Pasopati fly-over too. Therefore, obviously, it is easier to reach the inscription from Cihampelas street.

:: Loji Tunjungan, Surabaya [Tunjungan Loge, Surabaya] ::

•December 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Loji Tunjungan Surabaya

Loji Tunjungan Surabaya dengan logo persaudaraan di atas tympanum

Sebuah kebetulan di hari minggu pagi kemarin, langit Surabaya sangat cerah. Tanpa membuang waktu, selepas shalat shubuh, kami (saya, ibu, dan adik) mengayuh sepeda dari rumah menuju ke pusat kota Surabaya. Sekedar informasi, jarak dari rumah ke tengah kota Surabaya adalah 15 km, dan itu kami tempuh dengan bersepeda, mumpung ada event car free day J. Saat melintas di depan Hotel Majapahit di Jalan Tunjungan, ada satu bangunan tua yang membuat saya penasaran. Bangunan itu kini telah berubah menjadi kantor Badan Pertanahan Nasional Surabaya. Yang menarik dari bangunan ini adalah adanya logo jangka, penggaris, dan jabat tangan diatas bagian tympanum. Yup…ternyata dahulu bangunan megah ini adalah Loji (Loge) Tunjungan, dan merupakan markas besar Perkumpulan De Vrienschap atau di beberapa buku tentang konspirasi disebut dengan…Persaudaran Freemasons. Bangunan ini didirikan oleh Mr. B.H.J. van Cattenburch pada tanggal 28 September 1809. Beliau wafat pada 27 Agustus 1811 dan dimakamkan di tempat ini juga. Menurut informasi dari sesepuh di sana, dahulu gedung ini dikenal sebagai gedung setan…terkait dengan aktivitas berbau mistis dari anggotanya di masa lampau.

Bangunan ini sudah berubah menjadi benda cagar budaya oleh Pemerintah Kota Surabaya dan dilindungi oleh hukum. Sangat mudah untuk menuju kesana, dikarenakan letaknya berada di Jl. Tunjungan 80, persis di depan Hotel Majapahit Surabaya.

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Tunjungan Loge, Surabaya with tympanum style

Tunjungan Loge, Surabaya with tympanum style

It was a coincidence, when Sunday morning, Surabaya sky so bright. Without any question, after Shubuh pray, we (I, my mom, and my sister) took bicycle and went to Surabaya. As information, it took 15 km to Surabaya from our house, and we did it with bicycle due to car free day event J. While we rode in front of Majapahit Hotel at Tunjungan Street, there was old building that made us curious. This old building has now been turned into Surabaya National Land Bureau office. There are arc, elbowed-ruler, and shake-hand image above the tympanum, which makes this building so interesting. Yup…long time ago, this building were known as Tunjungan Loge, and a quarter base of De Vrienschap association or in some of conspiracy book, it called by…Freemasons. This building was built by Mr. B.H.J. van Cattenburch on September 28th, 1809. He died on August 27th, 1811 and buried in this place also. According to the Surabaya’s elders, once, this building also known as Satan Building…regarded with mystic activity among De Vrienschap members.

This building has now been awarded as Surabaya Heritage Building and be protected by law. It’s so easy to go there, since it located on side 80th, Tunjungan Street, just in front of Surabaya Majapahit Hotel.

:: Lirik, Against Forget ::

•December 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Sunset Behind Rig

Sunset Behind Rig

28 November 2013 is a day that will not be forgotten Lirik people. Why? Because on that day, Kampar Block ownership shifted, from the private company to the public enterprises. Although it has not been fully detached, however, based on de-jure, people of Indragiri Hulu Regency will manage this 80 years old oil and gas blocks. For me, so many memories left in Lirik. This town, which located 158 km from Pekanbaru,  is a place where I learned everything. People’s warmth, and its familiarity society, indirectly colors my life. I spent 2.5 years in this town, working as a well service engineer. Here, also I began to start photograph and writing. I still remember the green stilt house where my inspiration created. That wooden house is located on a small hill, faced on a green valley towards the western side, and surrounded by shaded green trees. Some of them have more than half a century old. When sunrise comes, I can hear and see the sparrow chasing, making out, and talking each other on morning dew. But during the day, heavy vehicle bustles across East Sumatra Road which famous with it solid traffic. Evening is the time to indulge for those who want to sweat. They can play soccer, badminton, jogging, or just relax and enjoy the evening sun on the western horizon. I, more likely to spend time on the porch of the wooden house, with Kayuaro tea steeping in my side, enjoy listening Malay rhythm while watching nature works, until faint of adzan calls for maghrib pray.

Old Mosque Ar Rahman in Lirik

Old Mosque Ar Rahman in Lirik

According to history, Lirik was built by Stanvac (Standard Vacuum) workers from USA who dominated Indonesia’s oil since 1931. From Lirik under soil formation, million barrels of oil has been flown into company and automatically, spur on economic passion and development in this area. In point of fact, Lirik provide all the best social facilities in Riau, not in Pekanbaru which is the capital city. Let say Stanvac Hospital, Japura Airport, until all the pleasure inside Stanvac Employee Complex (now Pertamina own it) are the best, safest, and sophisticated building during that time.

Local Barbershop in Lirik Market

Local Barbershop in Lirik Market

Day by the month, months into the years, and years changes into decades. Lirik’s oil production is getting lower. All the luxurious facility slowly starting decrease and getting languish, following operational efficiency cost which applied by company after Stanvac. Lirik which once busy and massive, slowing down sly and feels like a half death-town. Cheap and easy electric power now is getting hard and similar with drink medicine, two times cut-off in a day.

My Green Stilt House in ex-Stanvac Camp

My Green Stilt House in ex-Stanvac Camp

However, Lirik still Lirik which for some people like me, still offering it charm and their multi ethnic solidarity. I still remember, I have a lot of friends who came from Jogja, but they able to speak Minang, Java, and Malay with smoothly. Ah..Lirik..If the times choose me, I want to breathe your dew-aroma after dawn. I miss adventure trip into deep jungle and visit traditional tribal of Talang Mamak in Binio. Or, I want to explore again, remain culture of Indragiri Kingdom, while enjoying delicious boiled fish food from Meduyan Lake. And I want…I don’t know, there are so much desire and memory that forces me to return in this town. Hopefully, in the best government hand, Lirik can return its glory, and my passion will be materialized.

:: Lirik, Melawan Lupa ::

•December 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Sucker Rod Pump and Lirik Sunset

Sucker Rod Pump and Lirik Sunset

28 November 2013 merupakan hari yang tidak akan bisa dilupakan oleh masyarakat Lirik. Mengapa? Karena pada hari itu, kepemilikan Blok Kampar beralih dari pihak swasta kepada pihak BUMD. Walaupun belum terlepas secara keseluruhan, namun secara de-jure, rakyat Indragiri Hulu kelak akan mengelola blok migas yang telah berusia 80 tahun ini. Bagi saya, begitu banyak kenangan yang tersisa di Lirik. Lirik, yang terletak 158 km dari Pekanbaru, merupakan tempat dimana saya belajar segala hal. Kehangatan, serta keakraban masyarakatnya secara tidak langsung mewarnai kehidupan saya. 2.5 tahun saya habiskan di kota kecil ini, bekerja sebagai well service engineer. Disini pula saya mulai menggeluti dunia fotografi dan menulis. Saya masih teringat, rumah panggung hijau tempat inspirasi saya terbentuk. Rumah dari kayu tersebut terletak diatas bukit kecil, menghadap kearah lembah hijau yang berada di sebelah baratnya, dan dikepung oleh rindangnya pepohonan hijau berusia lebih dari separuh abad. Jika pagi tiba, bisa saya dengar dan lihat rombongan burung gereja saling berkejaran, bercumbu, dan berbincang diatas langit Lirik yang masih bergumul dengan embun pagi. Namun di siang hari, hiruk pikuk kendaraan berat beriringan menguasai Jalan Lintas Timur Sumatra yang terkenal padat. Sore merupakan waktu untuk memanjakan diri bagi mereka yang ingin mengeluarkan keringat. Ada yang bermain sepakbola, bulutangkis, jogging, atau sekedar bersantai menikmati matahari senja di ufuk barat. Saya, lebih cenderung menghabiskan waktu di beranda rumah panggung kayu ini, dengan menikmati seduhan teh Kayuaro sembari ditemani music Melayu dan aktivitas alam, hingga suara adzan maghrib memanggil untuk shalat.

Old Church in Lirik

Old Church in Lirik

Konon, Lirik dahulunya dibangun oleh para pekerja Stanvac (Standar Vacuum) dari USA yang mendominasi dunia perminyakan Indonesia semenjak tahun 1931. Dari bawah tanah Lirik, jutaan barrel minyak telah mengalir ke perusahaan dan otomatis meningkatkan gairah ekonomi serta pembangunan di wilayah ini. Bahkan, semua fasilitas terbaik seantero Riau, justru ada di Lirik, bukan di Pekanbaru. Sebut saja RS Stanvac, Bandara Japura, hingga fasilitas di Kompleks Perumahan Karyawan nya, merupakan yang terbaik, teraman, dan tercanggih pada masa itu.

Lirik Ginpole Workers

Lirik Ginpole Workers

Hari berganti bulan, bulan berganti tahun, dan tahun berganti dekade. Produksi minyak Lirik pun mulai berkurang. Fasilitas yang dahulunya mewah, berangsur-angsur mulai berkurang atau merana tidak diperhatikan lagi mengikuti efisiensi operasional yang diterapkan oleh perusahaan setelah Stanvac. Lirik yang dahulu ramai, kini tak ubahnya menjadi kota setengah tak bernyawa. Listrik yang dahulu murah dan mudah diperoleh, kini ibarat meminum obat, hidup dan mati bergiliran.

Keakraban Warga Lirik Dalam Panjat Pinang

Keakraban Warga Lirik Dalam Panjat Pinang

Namun, Lirik tetaplah Lirik yang bagi beberapa orang seperti saya, menawarkan pesona dan keakraban masyarakatnya yang multi etnis. Disini, saya memiliki teman dari Yogya yang mahir menggunakan bahasa Minang, Jawa, dan Melayu secara bersamaan. Ah..Lirik..bila waktu memihak, saya ingin menghirup aroma embun paginya kembali. Saya merindukan bertualang kembali memasuki alam liar dan perkampungan suku tradisional Talang Mamak di daerah Binio. Atau saya ingin menjelajahi bekas peradaban Kerajaan Indragiri sambil menikmati lezatnya makanan pindang dari Danau Meduyan…dan saya ingin..ah entahlah..begitu banyak hasrat dan kenangan yang ingin saya ulangi kembali di kota ini. Semoga di tangan yang terbaik, Lirik bisa kembali mengembalikan kejayaan, dan hasrat saya untuk kembali ke sana, terwujud.

:: Bandara Hussein Sastranegara, Airport Komersial Mini ::

•November 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Entrance of Airport

Entrance of Airport

Cuaca cerah berawan menyambut saya di Bandara Husein Sastranegara Bandung di hari Jum’at (22 November 2013). Sudah hampir seminggu ini cuaca kota Bandung cukup baik untuk kegiatan penerbangan di bandara ini. Rasa penasaran saya akan bandara di kota nomor tiga (atau empat ?) terbesar di Indonesia setelah Medan ini, mengalahkan rasa kekhawatiran untuk menggunakan moda transportasi udara pada daerah yang dikepung oleh gunung dan bukit, serta berada di ketinggian 742 meter dari permukaan laut ini.

Bandara ini didirikan oleh Pemerintah Hindia Belanda pada tahun 1921 di daerah Cicukang, Desa Cibeureum, menggantikan bandara Cipagalo, Sukamiskin. Karena daerah ini berada di dekat daerah Andir, maka disebut juga Bandara Andir. Dahulu, bandara ini dipakai sebagai fasilitas pendukung untuk angkatan udara Hindia Belanda dalam usaha menaklukan Bumi Parahyangan.

Bandung Aerial

Bandung Aerial

Usaha tersebut gagal, mengingat 24 tahun lalu kemudian, Indonesia meraih kemerdekaannya dan ditahbiskan secara de-facto pada Konferensi Meja Bundar 1949. Dengan demikian, seluruh aset milik pemerintah kolonial diserahkan ke Pemerintah Republik Indonesia. Bandara Andir sendiri diambil alih oleh pemerintah pada tahun 1950 melalui serah terima dari Mayor E.J. van Kappen kepada Mayor Udara Wiweko Soepono.

Nama Husein Sastranegara sendiri dilekatkan di bandara ini pada tahun 17 Agustus 1952 untuk menghormati salah seorang tokoh penerbangan Indonesia tersebut. Husein Sastranegara sendiri merupakan bangsawan Priangan yang meninggalkan kehidupan ningrat nya untuk mengabdi dalam peletakan dasar-dasar dunia penerbangan bagi negara kepulauan yang baru seumur jagung ini. Namun pengabdian beliau hanya sebentar, dikarenakan gugur saat menunaikan tugas untuk menguji kehandalan pesawat rampasan Jepang di Yogyakarta pada usia 27 tahun. Sejak saat itu, untuk mengenang perjuangan dan keuletan beliau, nama Bandara Andir diubah menjadi Bandara Husein Sastranegara.

GA 360 Before Take-off

GA 360 Before Take-off

Saat ini, Bandar Husein Sastranegara melayani penerbangan domestik (Pekanbaru, Medan, Surabaya, Pontianak, Yogyakarta, Denpasar, Semarang, Bandar Lampung, dan Batam) maupun internasional (Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, dan Singapore). Dengan panjang landasan 2,244 meter membuat bandara ini cukup mini dibandingan dengan bandara Surabaya, Cengkareng, bahkan Jambi yang memiliki landasan pacu sepanjang 2,400 meter. Namun demikian, pesawat sekelas Boeing 737-800 dan Airbus A320 dapat mendarat pada landasan bandara ini.

Mengenai fasilitas, tergolong komplit dibandingkan Bandara Sultan Thaha di Jambi (sekarang sedang dilakukan renovasi pada bandara ini untuk menaikkan kelasnya ke bandara internasional) dengan adanya ATM, pujasera khas Bandung yang tertata rapi, took buku Periplus, ruang tunggu yang nyaman, musholla ruang tunggu, tempat parkir yang cukup memadai walau terbatas, dan tempat pelampiasan hasrat lapar saya, Solaria Resto.

Waiting

Waiting

Secara keseluruhan, bandara ini sangat kecil dan berada di lingkungan militer. Walau demikian, kesan nyaman sangat terlihat bagi calon penumpang yang akan berkelana keluar atau datang ke Bandung. Perlu diingat, tidak semua taxi bisa diterima di bandara ini kecuali taxi yang dibawah pembinaan Primkop Angkatan Udara. Kecuali, bagi calon penumpang yang datang ke bandara menggunakan taxi apapun, akan tetap diterima.

:: Hussein Sastranegara Airport, Mini Commercial Airport ::

•November 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Landing Position

Bandung Landing Position

Sunny cloud hailed me at the airport in Bandung Husein Sastranegara at Friday afternoon (22 November 2013). It’s been almost a week, weather in Bandung good enough for aviation activity at the airport. My curiosity to the third largest in Indonesia (or fourth ?) after Medan, beating sense concerns for using air transport modes in the area surrounded by mountains-hills, and on altitude of 742 meters above sea level.

The airport was established by the Dutch government at 1921 in the area of Cicukang, Cibeureum Village, replacing Cipagalo Airport, Sukamiskin. Because this area is also in Andir, it is also called Andir Airport. In the past, the airport was used as support facility for the Dutch East Indies Air Force in attempt to conquer Earth of Parahyangan.

Check in Room

Check in Room

The effort finally failed after 24 years later, Indonesia proclaimed independence and was ordained as a de-factocountry on the Round Table Conference in 1949 (KMB). Therefore, all assets belonging to the colonial government handed over to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia. Andir Airport was taken over by the government in 1950 through the handover of Major EJ van Kappen to Major Air Wiweko Soepono.

Husein Sastranegara name attached at the airport on August 17, 1952 to honor one of the pioneer of the Indonesian airlines. Husein Sastranegara was Priangan nobles who left his nobility life to serve in built foundations of the aviation world for this new islands nation. But his devotion only brief, after he killed in accident during reliability test of booty Japanese plane in Yogyakarta at the age of 27. Since then, to commemorate his struggle and tenacity, the airport name was changed from Andir Airport into Husein Sastranegara Airport.

Waiting Room Airport

Waiting Room Airport

Currently, Husein Sastranegara Airport serves domestic flights (Pekanbaru, Medan, Surabaya, Pontianak, Yogyakarta, Denpasar, Semarang, Lampung, and Batam) and international flights (Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and Singapore). The airport runway length only 2,244 meters, and make it as mini airport compared to Surabaya Airport, Cengkareng Airport, even Jambi Airport which has runway length of 2,400 meters. However, Boeing 737-800 aircraft and Airbus A320 class able to land on the airport runway.

Regarding facilities, this airport relatively complete, rather than Sultan Thaha Airport in Jambi (now being renovations at the airport to raise its class into international airport). It completed with the ATM, a typical food court Bandung neat, Periplus bookstores, comfortable waiting room, prayer room, adequate parking even though the space so limited, and impingement where my hungry-passion, Solaria Resto.

Parking Aircraft

Parking Aircraft

Overall, the airport is very small and is in the military environment. However, highly comfort impression is visible for passengers who would wander out or come to Bandung. Keep in mind, not all taxis can be accepted at this airport since only taxi under Primkop (Primer Koperasi) Air Force that accepted in the airport. Except, for the passengers who came to the airport using any kind of taxi, will still be accepted.

:: Bengkulu, the Fabulous of Heritage City ::

•October 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

 “…cut-off from its neighbors by the Bukit Barisan range, Bengkulu remains Sumatra’s most isolated province-and nothing much seems to have changed here for years…”           

Lonely Planet, 2007 edition

Dutch VOC medals for local chief in Bengkulu

Dutch VOC medals for local chief in Bengkulu

A citation from Lonely Planet book about Bengkulu above could make my heart sank and lazy to visit one of the provinces in west coast of Sumatra. However, passions for exploring Sumatra, at least its provincial capital, strengthen the intention to keep visiting Bengkulu, moreover its capital. Bengkulu city or Bencoolen, identic with Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, a lieutenant governor of British Empire which ruled the west coast of Sumatra since 1818-1824. Previously, this rich region in nutmeg and pepper, has become a nightmare since the murder of the British resident for Bengkulu (as same as governor level) Thomas Parr, and his assistant Charles Murray, 11 years before the arrival of Raffles. Raffles is not just a skillful in art of military, but also a genius person for understanding local culture and science. He is fluent in Malay and has a certain amount of trace memory in this archipelago, such as the discovery of Borobudur, expedition around Sumatra which recorded by William Marsden, the discovery of the Bunga Bangkai flower (gigantic flower in the world) with botanist Dr. Joseph Arnold, develop villa resort Pangkal Balam (30 km to the north of Bengkulu), built Bogor Botanical Gardens, and several historical record such as History of Java.

I.    First Day

Coast of Malbro Beach

Coast of Malbro Beach

I went to Bengkulu through Lubuk Linggau, South Sumatra at 14.00 PM via travel. I prefer Lubuk Linggau than Palembang since the distance only about 109 km from Bengkulu and also adjacent to my office area. The trips taken 4 hours pass the snaking road and beautiful area around Curup until Kepahiang. However, my uncle said, we have to careful in Kepala Curup. Once, this area is quite thick with crime figure, either by now.

I arrived in Bengkulu at 17.00 PM and stay at Dena Hotel (Fatmawati Street) around Simpang Lima Boulevard. Well, just a place for sleep and save the electronic goods, for me is enough. Moreover, the position of Dena Hotel is strategic to go anywhere, even on foot though. The first objective is the Sport Center in Pantai Panjang area, only 1.5 km (based on map information) from hotel and just walks away. There is a festival named as Festival Pantai Rafflesia and the selection of Bengkulu Bujang Gadis (Boys and Girls) 2013. However, since there are storm and heavy rains in the festival arena, around 21.00 PM I ran straight to the hotel. Unfortunately, the second day trips, was not according to plan.

II.   Second Day

Rain lashed since 22.00 PM until 16.00 PM at the next day. I fell asleep and did not realize there was a small earthquake in the midnight. It is useless, just due to the rain, Bengkulu’s time only spent in bed. So I pull out the blankets, took a bath, and immediately walked out to several interesting places in the city, although the rainfall is still dancing in the sky.

Bung Karno’s Exile House

Fatmawati Airport, Padang Kemiling

Fatmawati Airport, Padang Kemiling

Bung Karno or Soekarno is an Indonesian national hero and famous figure until now. He was first Indonesia’s president from 1945-1966. During Dutch occupation, he has been exiled into Bengkulu, where the remains house still standing now. Bung Karno’s exile house is located around 1 km from Simpang Lima Boulevard towards Soekarno Hatta Street. In this place, there are large collection of books, a Bung Karno’s bed (there is a mystical rumor side about this bed), bicycles, and old wells where the water is still there. Currently, this house being renovated, however it opens for the public. Formerly, this house owned by Chinese merchants who are contracted by the Dutch as an exile place for Bung Karno. But, in this place also, his love with Fatmawati (will became first lady) blossomed.

Thomas Parr Monument 

Thomas Parr Monument

Thomas Parr Monument

One night, two days before Christmas in 1807, a group of Malay civilian came to Mount Felix and raided the residence of the Resident Thomas Parr (now turn into the governor’s palace). They are led by Depati Sukarami, Depati Lagan, and Depati Pagar Dewa claim revenges the resident atrocities toward Bengkulu people. In this incident, Thomas Parr and his assistant Charles Murray killed. Several years later, to commemorate the tragedy, the British colonial government established the Thomas Parr Monument about 170 meters from Fort Marlborough or on A. Yani Street, Kampung Melayu, Bengkulu. Currently there are project of local governments to beautify this building by creating an underground tunnel that connected with Mount Felix. Unfortunately, these plans have been abandoned and remains construction worsened the monument.

Masjid (Mosque) Jamek Bengkulu

One of the architecture heritages from Bung Karno during his exile and it located in Soeprapto Street, Bengkulu or about 1.5 km from Fort Marlborough. Originally, it was founded by Daeng Makulle, a dato’, leader, and trader from Bugis in the 18th century. To strengthen the building construction, Bung Karno redesigned this masjid. This masjid jamik perhaps not as big as in other areas, but it is comfortable and convenient, because it is located in the midst of the economic heart of Bengkulu.

Second day trip is enough, and it’s time to take a rest for the third days trip. Before walk back to the hotel, I also tasted Satay Padang in traditional food court at Brokoto Market or Barukoto. This place is just in front of Thomas Parr Monument. The satay looks like was named “Padang”, but seemed to have mixed with local tastes rich pepper and nutmeg, so it feels warmer in the chest. Quite as heated when drizzle approached.

III.   Third Day

Praise to Allah for Bengkulu’s sunny sky, its coming back to wander again. This time I was accompanied by Mas Deky from Bung Karno’s Exile House as a partner traveler. Actually, his parents came from Wonogiri, Central Java and he has stay for long time in Bengkulu. Walking with British and Dutch tourists are a common thing for him. One that I remember from him, he suggested heritage trail by walk on foot, since Bengkulu can be surrounded within one day. Out of curiosity, I follow his advice.

Hamilton Monument

Approximately 0.5 km from Bung Karno Exile House, we were welcomed by Hamilton Monument in Teluk Segara district. Designed as obelisk shaped, this monument was established by British colonial government to commemorate Cpt. Robert Hamilton, a commander of British infantry who slain by Bengkulu’s people during riot in 1793.

British Cemetery

British Cemetery

British Cemetery

Leaving Hamilton Monument, we walked about 100 meters and turn it into an alley toward the British Cemetery. How pity that this cemetery complex mixed and surrounded with local community infrastructure. And of course it reduces the impression and sacredness from cemetery. However the cemetery is well organized and ordered. There are about 15 tombs in this cemetery area, ranging from 1775’s to 1940’s. There is also a chapel behind the cemetery, and it reminds me with the cemetery around Edinburgh, Scotland which is completed with a chapel on the outside.

Malbro Beach

Only about 300 meters walk from British Cemetery, we came into Malbro Beach, where the beach is the continuation of Panjang Beach and Tapak Padri Beach. It is quite fun here, because the waves are relatively calm amongst a coral reef. Besides that, it is also crowded with fishing activities, ranging from tidying up the nets, marinate fish, and repair the boat.

Fort Marlborough

Gate of Fort Marlborough

Gate of Fort Marlborough

If Jakarta has Monas, Surabaya has Tugu Pahlawan, Bukittinggi with the Jam Gadang, then Bengkulu has Fort Marlborough as the landmark. This fort is the second largest British fortress in Asia after the fort Goa, India. To build it, British government mobilized Sephoy infantry unit from Nepal and the people of Bengkulu itself. Meanwhile, the fort name was taken as an honor to one of the British military commander, the Duke of Marlborough. In 1714, Joseph Collet moved the center of British forces from Fort York to this fort. The fort formed as pentagon-shaped, in which at the ends, equipped with surveillance bastion to secure sea lanes as well as hinterland. Joy and sorrow passed in this fort, from conquered twice by Bengkulu’s warrior, fluttered during Sir Stamford Raffles reign, occupied by the Dutch VOC, until retaken again by Indonesian military unit. That said, Bung Karno had interrogated by Dutch government in this fort, shortly after Adolf Hitler invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. They were asked him to set up a memorial, but Bung Karno refused and just put three bricks in front of the fort.

Hamilton Obelsk

Hamilton Obelsk

Inside the fort, also buried Resident Thomas Parr and his assistant Charles Murray as the main victim of Mount Felix tragedy in 1807. The reason to bury them inside the fort was to protect their body from the angered people of Bengkulu who still hate them and swore to ruin their graves. The fort scene is beautiful and worthy incorporated as a cultural heritage that should be protected. For British and Dutch tourist, this fort has its own memory when they visit.

After visited Fort Marlborough, my next destination was the Fatmawati Airport in Padang Kemiling which is located 30 minutes from downtown. Yes, I had to end my exploration in Bengkulu city on the third day. There are still many places I want to visit so, especially witness Raflessia Arnoldi bloom, sunrise on the Dendam Tak Sudah Lake, wandering Lebong Highland. Moreover the people are

friendly, polite, and shows welcoming attitude. A unique things was, the people are quite orderly in traffic (as long as I stayed there, those people so rare breakthrough the traffic light when red sign appeared). One time, as long as Allah gives me strength, I’ll come back and trying to date again with this marvelous heritage city.

IV.   Having Fun Cost

Herewith I share having fun cost (that’s my idiom regarding travelling cost), including relish one of favourite pempek (local food which made from fish mince combined with flour) in Bengkulu, Cek Toni’s Pempek. There is also local famous syrup, most of tourist buy this and pack into another city, Kalamansi Orange Syrup.

No.

Cost Type

Cost in Rupiah

1.

Travel Lubuk Linggau-Bengkulu via Toyota Avanza  Rp                   70,000

2.

Dena Hotel (2 night via Agoda) @ Rp. 200,000 per-night  Rp                 400,000

3.

Public transport when needed (only 3 times) @ Rp. 2,500  Rp                     7,500

4.

Satay Padang Brokoto with bottle tea  Rp                   18,000

5.

Simpang Lima Meatball with bottle tea and crackers  Rp                   18,000

6.

Pempek Cek Toni  Rp                   25,000

7.

Kalamansi Orange Syrup  Rp                   35,000

8.

Bengkulu-Jakarta Ticket by Garuda  Rp                 600,000

Total

 Rp            1,173,500
Pempek Cek Toni

Pempek Cek Toni

Those cost above probably a little bit expensive than backpacker travel. However, since I want to enjoy relaxed condition after working in site, those cost still reasonable. Someday, if you want visit Bengkulu, don’t forget to taste waved pempek in Cek Toni, Satay Padang with Bengkulu recipe, pindang (fish fresh soup with spice, unfortunately I didn’t try this), and so on.

 
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