:: 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.


Cost Type

Cost in Rupiah


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


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


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


Satay Padang Brokoto with bottle tea  Rp                   18,000


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


Pempek Cek Toni  Rp                   25,000


Kalamansi Orange Syrup  Rp                   35,000


Bengkulu-Jakarta Ticket by Garuda  Rp                 600,000


 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.


:: Jejak Pendiri Kesultanan Palembang Darussalam, Ki Gde Ing Suro (An Impression of Palembang Darussalam Sultanate Founder, Ki Gde Ing Suro) ::

•July 18, 2012 • 1 Comment

Tepat sebelum Shalat Jum’at, Pak Ismail Ishak dari Dinas Pariwisata Kota Palembang, memberikan pesan bahwa saya akan diajak keliling Palembang, tentunya setelah selesai shalat dan makan siang. Secepat kilat saya berikan jawaban setuju untuk menerima ajakan beliau. Setelah bertemu, opsi yang saya minta (sedikit memaksa) adalah menuju ke Candi Angsoka dan Makam Ki Gde Ing Suro. Ternyata, beliau juga belum pernah ke lokasi tersebut, dan beliau berniat untuk inspeksi lapangan ke target-target tersebut. Tanpa banyak cakap lagi, kita langsung menuju ke Candi Angsoka di dekat RSK Charitas Palembang. Disini bukan candi yang kita temui, melainkan batu yoni setengah jadi yang ironisnya, sudah menempel pada rumah penduduk. Karena itu, kami hanya menghabiskan waktu sekitar 30 menit di lokasi ini.

Target berikutnya adalah Kompleks Pemakaman Ki Gde Ing Suro yang terletak di Kelurahan 1 Ilir, Kecamatan Ilir Timur II, Palembang dan berada dalam jangkauan wilayah hijau PT Pupuk Sriwijaya (PUSRI) Palembang. Lokasinya memang tidak jauh dari Pelabuhan Boom Baru dan area industri pupuk tersohor di negeri ini. Kompleks makam ini berada dalam jalur segitiga Kawah Tekurep, Sabokingking, dan Ki Gde Ing Suro sendiri. Untuk menuju kesana, cukup memusingkan karena tidak adanya papan penunjuk jalan. Akan tetapi jangan khawatir, kompleks makam ini terkenal di kalangan masyarakat sekitar. Sehingga dengan bermodalkan tanya dan sopan, kami akhirnya tiba di areal kompleks pemakaman tersebut.

Layaknya kompleks pemakaman kerajaan bercorak Islam, kompleks ini memiliki 8 bangunan dengan total ada 38 makam. Yang unik adalah, 8 bangunan penyokong makam berasal dari bekas pondasi candi bercorakkan agama Buddha yang diduga sisa peninggalan Kerajaan Sriwijaya. Pondasi ini dilengkapi dengan tangga naik, relief Bunga Seruni, batu bata merah, dan beberapa tumpukan batu bata putih. Kondisi kaki candi ini mirip dengan kompleks percandian Bumiayu di tepi Sungai Lematang dan Masjid Indrapura di Aceh Besar yang pondasinya terbuat dari bekas candi.

Ki Gde Ing Suro sendiri merupakan putra dari Ki Gde Ing Lautan, salah satu dari 24 bangsawan Kerajaan Demak yang melarikan diri ke Palembang, dikarenakan terjadinya kekacauan di dalam istana. Kekacauan ini membuat rezim Demak harus tumbang ke wilayah Pajang, setelah berjaya selama 65 tahun. Diatas puing-puing Kerajaan Sriwijaya inilah, Ki Gde Ing Lautan mendirikan imperium Kesultanan Palembang yang bercorakkan Islam di tepi Sungai Musi. Wilayah ini dikembangkan lagi oleh putranya yang bernama Ki Gde Ing Suro dengan pusat pemerintahan berada di Istana Kuto Gawang. Sayangnya, istana yang diapit oleh sungai kecil ini luluh lantak diterjang oleh invasi militer VOC Belanda. Diperkirakan lokasi bekas istana tersebut berada di dalam lingkungan pabrik PT. Pusri.

Walaupun Ki Gde Ing Suro telah wafat, tentunya beliau tersenyum bangga, melihat Palembang sekarang telah berubah menjadi lebih maju dengan bumbu kesatuan etnis diatasnya, serupa dengan yang beliau terapkan di masa pemerintahannya dahulu. Namun, beliau pun juga tidak ingin Palembang tidak memiliki sebuah semangat untuk mempertahankan warisan leluhurnya. Sungguh ironi bagi kita, bila geliat pembangunan yang marak di sekitar area makam saat ini, justru mengorbankan tempat peristirahatan terakhir salah satu tokoh pengembang Kesultanan Palembang. Sudah sepatutnya kita harus memiliki kepedulian yang sangat besar untuk menjaga salah satu aset jati diri kota ini.

Just before Shalat Jum’at (Friday Pray), Mr. Ishak Ismail from Palembang City Tourism Office, sent me an invitation to join him walk-around Palembang. Of course, it will happen after prayer and lunch. I gave my answer immediately, that I accept his invitation. After we met, I asked for the option (a lil’ bit force him J) to visit Angsoka Temple and the Tomb of Ki Gde Ing Suro. Apparently, he also had never been visiting that location, and he intends to field inspections for these targets. Without much conversation, we went straight to the Angsoka Temple which is near of Charitas Hospital. It wasn’t the temple that we found, but half-finished stone of Yoni (female symbols in Hinduism) which ironically, is attached to the houses of local people. Therefore, we only spent 30 minutes in the location and then we go again.

The next target is Tomb of Ki Gde Ing Suro in 1 Ilir Village, Ilir Timur II District, Palembang City. This location is inside the green area of PT Pupuk Sriwijaya (PUSRI) Palembang. And it is not far from the Port of Boom Baru. This tomb is located in a triangular path of Tekurep Crater, Sabokingking, and Ki Gde Ing Suro itself. A little bit confusing to go there, since there is no location sign along the road that we crosed. But don’t worry, this tomb complex known among the local community. So, with polite conversation ask, we finally arrived at the tomb area.

Like the Islamic royal tomb, this complex has 8 buildings with a total of 38 graves. The unique one from this tomb is it foundation. 8 buildings foundation are made above the Buddhist foot-temples. It has suspected as remnants of the Srivijaya Empire. The foundation is equipped with a ladder-up, relief flower Chrysanthemum, red brick, and several piles of white bricks. The condition is similar to the foot of Bumiayu Temples in Lematang riverbank and Mosque of Indrapura in Aceh Besar, which the foundation of mosque is made from the temple.

Ki Gde Ing Suro is Son of Ki Gde Ing Lautan, one of the 24 Demak nobles who fled from Demak to Palembang, due to the occurrence of chaos in the palace. This mess makes Demak regime fall into the Pajang, after succeeding for 65 years. Above the ruins of Srivijaya Empire, Ki Gde Ing Lautan set up the Sultanate of Palembang on the banks of the Musi River. This region is further developed by his son who was named Ki Gde Ing Suro with the mighty palace was in the Kuto Gawang Palace, a big building which surrounded by two canals. Unfortunately, this palace devastated in 1659 due to military invasion from the Dutch VOC, led by Joan van der Laan. Nowadays, the former palace is located inside PT. Pusri factory, without any trace.

Although Ki Gde Ing Suro has passed away, he might be smiled proudly, looking at Palembang now been changed to be more forward with unity of various ethnic on it, similar spirit that applied in his first reign. However, he also doesn’t want Palembang miss a passion to preserve the legacy of their ancestors. Its irony for us, when rampant development around the tomb area at this time, will be sacrifice the final resting place of Palembang figures. It is must for us to have big concern, to maintain the identity assets from this city.

:: Raos Pacinan, Alliance of Majapahit and Mongol Army (Raos Pacinan, Aliansi Majapahit – Tentara Mongol) ::

•March 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Surabaya’s border at 7:15 o’clock in the morning is still quite warm, but it did not relieve my intention to get up from the bed and began adventuring. This time, my destination is Carat, a small village in Gempol district which is about 10 km south of Sidoarjo City. There is a signboard on the sidewalk Gempol- Mojosari road which made me curious since a year ago. The board state “Site Raos Pacinan 1.5 km” which indicates the existence of historical relics in the village. Carat has old name as Rabut Carat where listed in the inscription of Mount Butak (1294). In those inscription mentioned that, after defeating the rebel army of Gelang-Gelang (Kediri) in Kedung Peluk and Kapulungan, Raden Wijaya, son in law of Singhasari’s King, Kertanegara, facing his last victory in Rabut Carat. He soon moved to the north along with his relatives in law, Ardharaja. But from the Hanyiru, there was a large Gelang-Gelang’s army that broke defense line of Singhasari’s men. Ardharaja was deserted and left Raden Wijaya fought alone. In the end, Raden Wijaya with the rest of his army, amounting to 600 men, escaped and hid for a while in Rabut Carat.

1.5 km traveling through sugar-cane plantations and the canals of the River Porong, enough to give me sense of adventure. Finally I arrived at the scene and found this site, leaving only two statues of Dwarapala (a giant keeper) which faced toward west. According to Pak Soemari, the caretaker, once time ago, this site has a cupola and the pavilion. The site is also frequently visited by Chinese ethnic to ask for “guidance and inspiration”. However, in 1965, political turmoil in Indonesia damaged the part of this site.

There is also history regarding the existence of these Dwarapala’s. Rabut Carat was formerly a military base with alliances Majapahit-Mongol Army before retaliating against rebellion of Gelang-Gelang in Kediri. Not surprisingly, this location is just 30 meters from the banks of the River Porong. So, most likely, this statue is one of the gates into the office of the allies force. It’s a thing that I could not imagine, that this place used to be very important, large, and historic. Delta Brantas-Porong does have its own history in the eyes of Indonesia. We have a duty to maintain this asset for our next generation.


Perbatasan Surabaya pada pukul 07.15 pagi masih cukup hangat, namun tidak menyurutkan niat saya untuk bangkit dari peraduan dan mulai bertualang. Tujuan kali ini adalah ke daerah Carat, Kec. Gempol yang letaknya sekitar 10 km di selatan Sidoarjo. Ada satu papan penunjuk di tepi jalan Mojosari-Gempol yang membuat saya penasaran sejak setahun lalu. Papan tersebut bertuliskan “Situs Raos Pacinan 1.5 km” yang menunjukkan adanya peninggalan sejarah di sekitar Desa Carat tersebut. Desa ini merupakan nama lama dari Rabut Carat yang tercantum dalam Prasasti Gunung Butak (1294). Disebutkan bahwa setelah mengalahkan tentara pemberontak Gelang-Gelang (Kediri) di Kedung Peluk dan Kapulungan, Raden Wijaya yang merupakan menantu Raja Singhasari, Kertanegara menghadapi kemenangan terakhirnya di Rabut Carat. Beliau segera bergerak ke arah utara bersama Ardharaja, namun dari arah Hanyiru, muncullah armada besar Kediri yang memporak porandakan barisan pertahanan Singhasari. Ardharaja pun membelot dan meninggalkan Raden Wijaya berjuang sendirian. Akhirnya beliau bersama sisa pasukannya yang berjumlah 600 orang melarikan diri dan bersembunyi sementara waktu di Rabut Carat.

Perjalanan 1.5 km melewati areal perkebunan tebu dan kanal-kanal dari Sungai Porong cukup memberikan nuansa petualangan tersendiri di areal ini. Akhirnya saya tiba di lokasi dan ternyata situs ini hanya menyisakan dua buah patung Dwarapala (raksasa penjaga) yang menghadap ke arah barat. Menurut penuturan Pak Soemari yang menjadi juru kunci, dahulu situs ini memiliki cungkup dan pendopo untuk melindunginya. Situs ini juga sering didatangi oleh pebisnis-pebisnis etnis Tionghoa untuk meminta petunjuk dan ilham. Akan tetapi di tahun 1965, gejolak politik di Tanah Air ikut merusak keberadaan situs ini.

Ada cerita sejarah terkait keberadaan dua patung Dwarapala ini. Rabut Carat ternyata dahulunya adalah pangkalan militer bersama aliansi Majapahit – Tentara Mongol sebelum melakukan serangan balasan terhadap pemberontak Gelang-Gelang di Kediri. Tak heran, lokasi ini hanya berjarak 30 meter dari tepi Sungai Porong. Jadi, kemungkinan besar, arca ini adalah salah satu gerbang masuk ke kantor persekutuan dua pasukan tersebut. Sungguh sebuah hal yang tak bisa saya bayangkan, bahwa tempat ini dahulunya sangat penting, besar, dan bersejarah. Delta Sungai Brantas-Porong memang memiliki kesejarahan tersendiri di mata Indonesia. Kita harus menjaganya demi generasi mendatang.

:: Candi Tawangalun, Sebuah Persembahan Cinta Sang Raja (Tawangalun Temple, A Tribute of King’s Love) ::

•March 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

Sekitar 30 menit saya perjalanan saya dari Waru menuju ke sebuah situs purbakala yang tidak pernah saya sadari, berada di dekat rumah. Terletak sekitar 400 meter dari Jalan Desa Buncitan-Gedangan atau sekitar 10 menit berkendara dari Bandara Internasional Juanda, bangunan arkeologi ini nampak tidak terawat dengan baik, walau “keangkuhannya” masih terasa Tidak ada papan penunjuk ataupun informasi tertulis terkait cara menuju candi ini, hanya bermodalkan jurus bertanya sajalah, akhirnya saya bisa tiba di tempat ini. Dibangun pada masa Kerajaan Majapahit masih bercokol di Nusantara, Candi Tawangalun berdiri dengan tujuan untuk “menyumbat” aliran lumpur yang keluar dari Gunung Uyah, sebuah bukit kecil dimana tempat candi ini berpijak. Jauh sebelum terjadinya Lumpur Lapindo, wilayah Buncitan sering mengeluarkan lumpur dan gelembung uap. Hingga saat ini, uap-uap dan gelembung tersebut masih keluar walau tidak sebesar jaman dahulu. Menurut legenda dan penuturan dari tokoh masyarakat setempat, candi ini dibangun oleh Raja Brawijaya II pada tahun 1292 (Majapahit baru berdiri 1293, dan gelar Brawijaya baru ada di masa Majapahit, mungkin maksudnya adalah Singhasari). Entah apakah benar atau tidak, candi ini adalah perwujudan rasa cinta dari seorang raja kepada selirnya. Kesan mistis sangat terasa saat kita memasuku areal candi. Tak jauh dari posisi candi, terdapat kompleks pemakaman rakyat. Hanya saja, komposisi dari candi ini sangat eksotis, karena terletak diatas bukit dan diapit pohon rindang. Semoga kedepannya, ada perhatian dari arkeolog dan pemerintah Sidoarjo agar mengelola candi ini dengan baik, bukan sebagai arena untuk meminta togel seperti saat ini. Penelusuran secara resmi dari kisah berdirinya candi ini juga diperlkan, agar anak cucu Buncitan mengetahui bahwa desanya di masa dahulu adalah tempat penting dan bersejarah.

About 30 minutes I was on my way from Waru towards an archaeological site that I never realized, it was near my house. Located about 400 meters from Buncitan-Gedangan village roads or about 10-min drive from Juanda International Airport, this archeology site is not well maintained, although the “arrogance” still feels. No signposts or written information which relevant to the temple, only with asking style, finally I can arrive at this temple. Built during the Kingdom of Majapahit was still entrenched in the archipelago, the temple Tawangalun stand in order to “block” the mudflow, which come out from Gunung Uyah, a small hill where the temple stand. Long before the mudflow happened in Lapindo Porong, the Buncitan region frequently cough-up mud and steam bubbles. Until now, the vapors and the bubble are still out, though in small scale. According to the legend and the narrative of local community leaders, the temple was built by King Brawijaya II in 1292 (newly established Majapahit 1293, and name of Brawijaya appeared during Majapahit period, perhaps the intention was Kingdom of Singhasari). Whether true or not, this temple was love manifestation of King Brawijaya to his mistress. Mystical impression is felt when we are entering temple. Not far from the temple, there is a local cemetery. However, the temple has exotic composition, since it is located on the hill and flanked by shady trees. Hopefully in the future, there is concern of archaeologists and Sidoarjo government to manage this temple, not as an arena for gamblers looking for inspiration. Official search of temple history is also needed, therefore Buncitan’s children and grandchildren understand that their village was an important village and historic places.

:: Peranap, a Short Story of Luhak Tigo Lorong (Peranap, Cerita Singkat Luhak Tigo Lorong) ::

•January 27, 2011 • 1 Comment


Peranap Rubber's Plant

Peranap is a buffer city in Indragiri Hulu Regent, 50-km from Japura Airport in Japura or 200-km away from Pekanbaru, Riau capital city. It is located beneath main road between Kiliran Jao (West Sumatera) and Rengat (Riau), which is very strategic for business. In 1990’s, Stanvac, a multinational oil company, decided to build a road from lantung (crude oil). In summer season, the road really hard and smooth but in rainy season, this road will be filled with slippery-mud. Nowadays, a hot-mix design has already applied, therefore a little bit stable in every season.


Ruins of Peranap's Viceroy Palace

No one knows for sure about Peranap history. Once upon time ago, Peranap was known as Luhak Tigo Lorong (A Country with Three Village) which covering Baturijal Hilir, Pematang, and Baturijal Hulu. At those moment, Indragiri Kingdom, led by Raja Hasan or Sultan Salehuddin Keramatsyah (1735-1765 AD), faced a local chaos that caused by Datuk Dobalang, a sultan’s subordinate in Negeri Sibuai Tinggi (Taluk Kuantan nowadays). Within his ability and skillful martial arts, Datuk Dobalang succeeds to disrupt local stability in south side of Indragiri Kingdom. In order to handled this chaos, sultan hired three brothers (Tiala, Sabila Jati, and Jo Mahkota) from Batu Jangko (believed in Jambi now), which expert in Silat Batanghari (Jambi’s martial art), as his “secret agent”. Thanks to patience, perseverance, and their cunning, Datuk Dobalang finally killed in a fierce battle. Sultan really happy and gave them a parcel of land in Indragiri’s riverbank (near Pauh Ranap). They divided and controlled the area into three sub-regions (Baturijal Hilir, Pematang, and Baturijal Hulu. They also had sworn to protect each other and maintain peaceful situation until now. Over the time, this area growth and became Ibrahim’s residence, a viceroy of Indragiri Kingdom. He was proposed Viceroy Mosque (Masjid Raja Muda) in Pauh Ranap and build by a Chinese muallaf at 1883. From this Pauh Ranap words, finally peoples derive it as Peranap until now.


A Peranap's Old Man

Peranap peoples works as river fisherman, trader, rubber and palm plantation farmer. Most of them came from Melayu and Minangkabau ethnics which in old time, wandered from Pagaruyung Kingdom. No wonder, their accent influenced by Minangkabau language. There so much potential which can be extracted from this old town, especially in culture and heritage. With the construction of the bridge between the Pauh Ranap Old Village and Peranap Town, it is expected the economy from tourism and culture could be a recent mainstay of the region.


Peranap Viceroy's Old Mosque

Peranap merupakan salah satu kota penyangga di Kabupaten Indragiri Hulu, berada sekitar 50-km dari Bandara Japura, Japura atau 200-km dari Pekanbaru, ibukota Riau. Letaknya yang berada di lintasan utama Kiliran Jao-Rengat, memberikan efek bisnis yang cukup menjanjikan. Di tahun 1990-an, jalan raya di daerah ini masih berupa tanah bercampur lantung (minyak mentah) yang dibangun oleh Stanvac, salah satu perusahaan minyak asing di Indonesia. Pada musim kemarau, lantung ini mengeras layaknya aspal, namun pada musim hujan, jalanan berubah seperti medan off-road yang licin. Kini, aspal hot-mix telah menggantikan peran lantung dalam pembuatan jalan di wilayah ini.

Typical Pauh Ranap Village House

Tidak ada yang tahu pasti mengenai sejarah dari Peranap. Dahulu, wilayah Peranap disebut juga sebagai Luhak Tigo Lorong yang meliputi Baturijal Hilir, Pematang, dan Baturijal Hulu. Pada waktu itu, Raja Hasan dari Indragiri yang bergelar Sultan Salehuddin Keramatsyah (1735-1765 M) mengalami kesulitan dalam mengatasi ulah bawahannya, Datuk Dobalang, yang berkuasa di Negeri Sibuai Tinggi (Taluk Kuantan sekarang). Berkat kesaktian dan keahlian beladirinya, Datuk Dobalang berhasil memporak-porandakan stabilitas keamanan wilayah selatan Indragiri dan membuat masyarakat di wilayah ini menderita. Untuk itulah beliau merekrut tiga orang bersaudara (Tiala, Sabila Jati, dan Jo Mahkota) dari Batu Jangko (wilayah Jambi sekarang) yang mahir dalam ilmu Silat Batanghari, sebagai “agen rahasia” dari sang sultan. Berkat kesabaran, ketekunan, dan kecerdikannya, akhirnya tiga bersaudara ini berhasil membunuh Datuk Dubalang pada sebuah pertarungan yang sengit. Atas jasa-jasanya, sang sultan menganugerahkan tanah di tepian wilayah Sungai Indragiri (dekat Pauh Ranap) kepada mereka bertiga. Dibawah janji dan sumpah persetiaan yang berlaku sampai sekarang, mereka membagi wilayah tersebut menjadi sama rata (Baturijal Hulu, Pematang, dan Baturijal Hilir). Seiring dengan perjalanan waktu, daerah tersebut berkembang dan sempat menjadi kediaman bagi Raja Muda Kerajaan Indragiri yang bernama Ibrahim. Beliau juga turut membangun Masjid Raja Muda di Pauh Ranap. Konon masjid yang didirikan pada tahun 1883 ini diarsiteki oleh muallaf dari Tionghoa. Dari kata Pauh Ranap inilah, nama Peranap berasal.

Optimistic of Peranap's Old Man

Kehidupan masyarakat Peranap lebih banyak berkutat pada perkebunan karet, sawit, nelayan sungai, dan berdagang. Mayoritas dari mereka adalah etnis Melayu dan Minangkabau yang dulunya berasal dari wilayah Kerajaan Pagaruyung. Tak heran, aksen bicara mereka seperti aksen orang Minang dalam berbicara. Banyak potensi yang bisa digali dari wilayah tua ini, terutama dari budaya dan warisan sejarah. Dengan dibangunnya jembatan penghubung antara Desa Tua Pauh Ranap dan Kota Peranap, diharapkan ekonomi dari sektor pariwisata bisa menjadi andalan terbaru dari wilayah ini.

:: Magnificent Cow Race (Pacu Jawi Yang Luar Biasa)::

•December 10, 2010 • 4 Comments
Cow Race

Cow Race

Pacu Jawi or Cow Race (in Minang Language) is one of cultural event that has been famous since ancient times. These events are spread throughtout Tanah Datar and Lima Puluh Koto Region. According to accounts from Uda Nel, a former jawi’s jockey from Parambahan, Tanah Datar, this event has been flying since The Padri’s Horde established their influence in Minangkabau. At the same time, the throne of the Kingdom Pagaruyung decreased due to intervention of the Dutch East India Company or VOC. In the first time, this activity is undertaken to fill the spare time of farmers class, who will enter the growing season. Therefore, the race is arrange in a rice field with full of mud or wet land. This race is so contrast with Karapan Sapi in Madura which actually do on dry land.

The unique one from Pacu Jawi is, the race is done by release only one pair of jawi (cow) with the jockey, not with an opposed-partner like as usual race. The jockey stand on a pirate who was in the middle of two cows. As a controller, the jockey hold cow’s tail. When the jocket need high speed, he must bite the cow tail. Not infrequently, the teeth of the jockey had become casualties of the above actions they do.

The winners are those who can managed the cow still drove in straight line from start to finish. The prize? Indeed there is no prize for the jockey in this Pacu Jawi. However, the price of the winning cow, could rise rapidly. Not surprisingly, many jawi that recognized as the winner of this race, have millions rupiahs as their price.

However, this event has changed the map of tourism in the domains Minangkabau, Indonesia, and even the world. If previous domestic and foreign tourists know only natural and historical attractions like the legendary canyon Sianok, Harau Valley, Sikuai, Palace Pagaruyung, Sawahlunto Mine Tour, etc., then Pacu Jawi has filled an important slot in the repertoire of cultural tourism in this region. Therefore, this event must be protected and developed, in accordance with the local wisdom and Minangkabau society. Hopefully in the future, one of these “Pearl of Minangkabau” culture, will be flying over the world.

Cow Race

Cow Race

Pacu Jawi atau Pacu Sapi (dalam Bahasa Minang) merupakan salah satu event budaya yang sudah terkenal semenjak zaman dahulu. Event ini tersebar di wilayah Tanah Datar dan Lima Puluh Kota. Menurut penuturan dari Uda Nel, salah seorang mantan joki jawi di daerah Parambahan, Tanah Datar, kegiatan ini telah berkibar semenjak zaman Kaum Paderi mengakkan pengaruhnya di Ranah Minangkabau. Pada saat yang bersamaan, tonggak tahta dari Kerajaan Pagaruyung juga mengalami penurunan akibat intervensi pihak VOC Belanda. Pada awalnya, kegiatan ini dilakukan untuk mengisi waktu luang dari golongan petani yang akan memasuki musim tanam. Jadi kondisi perlombaan dilakukan diatas sawah yang penuh dengan lumpur. Hal ini sangat berbeda dengan karapan sapi yang justru dilakukan di tanah kering.

Yang unik dari pacu jawi ini adalah, perlombaan dilakukan dengan melepas hanya satu pasang jawi plus jokinya, bukan dengan pasangan lawan layaknya perlombaan secara umum. Sang joki berdiri diatas bajak yang berada di tengah-tengah 2 ekor jawi (sapi). Sebagai alat pengendali, ekor sapi-sapi tersebutlah yang dijadikan sebagai gantungan harapan. Ketika dia mengingikan jawi-jawi tersebut melaju kencang, maka dia harus menggigit buntut jawi. Tak jarang, gigi-gigi sang joki pun menjadi tumbal atas aksi yang mereka lakukan.

Sang pemenang adalah mereka yang berhasil mengendalikan jawi-jawi tersebut tetap melaju dengan lurus dari start hingga finish. Hadiahnya? Justru tidak ada hadiah bagi joki dalam pacu jawi ini. Namun yang menjadi sorotaan adalah, harga jawi yang menang ini, harganya  bisa melonjak tajam. Tak heran, banyak jawi yang diakui sebagai pemenang perlombaan ini, harganya bisa menembus puluhan juta rupiah.

Bagaimanapun, event ini telah mengubah peta wisata di Ranah Minangkabau, Indonesia, bahkan dunia. Bila sebelumnya wisatawan domestik dan luar negeri hanya mengetahui wisata alam dan sejarah legendaris seperti Ngarai Sianok, Lembah Harau, Sikuai, Istana Pagaruyung, Wisata Tambang Sawahlunto, dan lain-lain, maka Pacu Jawi telah mengisi satu slot penting dalam khasanah wisata budaya di wilayah ini. Untuk itu, sudah sepatutnya event ini wajib dipertahankan keberadaannya dan dikembangkan sesuai dengan kearifan lokal masyarakat Tanah Datar dan Minangkabau. Semoga salah satu mutiara pesona Minangkabau ini semakin berkibar di dunia.

:: Jelajah Sekitaran Solo ::

•November 28, 2010 • 5 Comments


Gerbang Utara Kraton Kasunanan

Kali ini, angin membawa saya menjelajahi kota yang selama ini cuma jadi perlintasan kami menuju Jogja, yup..betul sekali sodara..kota itu adalah Solo. Sebenarnya keinginan untuk menjelajahi Solo sudah cukup lama terpendam, namun ya itu tadi..kalah kuat dengan aura Jogja. Penjelajahan Solo kami bagi menjadi 3 tahap. Tahap I menuju ke Karang Anyar (yah ini mah udah keluar Solo), tahap II jelajah Prambanan (ini juga di luar kota), dan tahap III keliling kampung di kota Solo.

Oia, perjalanan ini saya tempuh bersama keluarga, kebetulan saya lagi cuti, dan hari lebaran juga sudah lewat 2 hari..so, kita coba “family backpacking”. Singkat cerita, jalur yang kami tempuh melewati rute selatan Madiun-Ponorogo-Pacitan. Cerita mengenai Pacitan kita skip saja yak, tapi sumpah deh..memang cantik nih alam Pacitan. Kalau di Vietnam ada gua (yang kata orang sana sih cakep) dekat Halong Bay, maka di Pacitan ada Goa Gong dan Tabuhan yang luar biasa cakepnya. Timbul penyesalan, kenapa dari dulu gak kemari. Tapi ya sudahlah, namanya juga cari pengalaman..lain kali, maen ke Pacian lagi deh.

Setelah semalam menginap di Pacitan, perjalanan kami tempuh menuju Solo. 2 jam perjalanan kami tempuh hingga memasuki tapal batas kota. Target utama adalah tempat bobok di daerah Kauman. Kenapa milih disini? Ya, maen feeling aja lah..Cakra Home Stay akhirnya menjadi pilihan. Homestay ini merupakan kediaman dari Danar Hadi, Saudagar Batik Solo jaman dahulu. Tempatnya sederhana. unik dan banyak barang-barang antik di dalamnya. Rasanya kalau tinggal disini, serasa terbawa aura Solo tempo doeloe. Apalagi pada malam-malam tertentu, ada acara kesenian di salah satu hall nya. Kamarnya pun lumayan murah, yakni Rp. 150,000/malam.<


Malam harinya, disaat perut merasakan penderitaan akibat lapar, kawasan Galabo (Gladak Langen Bogan) menjadi pelampiasan. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, timlo dan mie goreng menjadi korban keganasan kami. Karena rasa lapar yang menggelora inilah, kami tidak memikirkan, mana yang “the best culiner” nya, semuanya sama saja, tak heran kami pun jadi kalap =). Kawasan sepanjang kurang lebih 1 km ini membentang di sepanjang Jl. Mas Sunaryo (Beteng), Solo. Lokasinya pun tidak jauh dari pintu menuju alun-alun utara kraton. Selesai mamam, kami balik ke homestay untuk berlayar ke pulau kapuk.


Tahap I

And the journey begin…hasrat untuk mengunjungi kompleks candi super-unik sudah tak terbendung. Perjalanan menanjak ke arah Tawangmangu terasa menarik saat sekumpulan perbukitan yang disulap menjadi perkebunan teh menyambut kedatangan kami. Yup..tempat tersebut terkenal dengan nama Kemuning. Saya membayangkan kalau, Puncak sekitar 20 tahun yang lalu seperti ini. Udara segar, aliran air jernih, serta langit biru yang cantik turut menghiasi bukit-bukit teh di Kemuning. Sempat terpikirkan, apakah dasar wallpapers Windows XP diambil dari perkebunan ini yak? Wallahul a’lam. Sekitar 30 menit dari kompleks perkebunan

Gerbang Ratu Boko

teh, dengan jalan yang cukup tajam tanjakannya, tibalah kami di Candi Cetha. Disini, yang unik adalah, adanya simbol alat kelamin wanita dari batu andesit. Struktur percandiannya juga berundak-undak mirip di Bali. Bangunan candi ini dibangun pada masa akhir Kerajaan Majapahit. karena cuaca sudah mulai mendung dan kabut mulai turun, kami bergegas menuju Candi Sukuh yang berada kurang lebih 1 km dari Candi Cetho. Candi ini pun juga unik, karena banyak sekali ditemukan perlambang alat kelamin laki-laki. Candi ini juga dibangun sezaman dengan Candi Cetha, yakni pada masa pemerintahan Ratu Suhita dari Majapahit. Ya, tak heran, alat kelamin laki-laki di ekspos, karena yang memberi titah ratu…Struktur candi ini lebih menyerupai candi-candi piramida di Aztec. Hmm..apakah nenek moyang kita sudah berlayar hingga ke Mexico yak? Wallahul’alam juga. Setelah puas dengan Candi Sukuh, tiba saatnya untuk menikmati

Ratu Boko

keindahan alam dari Air Terjun Jumog. Dimana itu? Letaknya tidak jauh, sekitar 500-meter dari Candi Sukuh turun menyusuri jalan beraspal yang kondisinya cukup baik. Di hari libur, na’udzubillah ramenya, apalagi dengan lahan parkir yang cukup luas, jejeran sepeda motor mendominasi kawasan air terjun ini. Ya sudahlah, kita nikmati saja kesegaran air terjun ini, walaupun foto-foto banyak yang gagal saya dapatkan. Tak terasa sudah sore hari, saatnya kembali ke Solo untuk beristirahat.

Tahap II

Reruntuhan Candi Ijo

Kompleks Prambanan menjadi target keesokan harinya..!! Tak heran, kami pun berangkat pagi-pagi sekali karena mendapat informasi kalau jam 06.00, Prambanan sudah buka tapi masih sepi banget. Saat berjalan menuju ke Prambanan, pandangan saya menoleh ke arah timur, ke arah bukit dimana Ratu Boko berada, dan saya lihat langit cukup bagus..yess..!! that’s my point. Mobil langsung diarahkan menuju ke sana, dengan sedikit tanjakan sekitar 400-meter dpl, kawasan Candi Ijo menjadi tempat pertama yang kami singgahi. Ada 5 candi dimana kelima-limanya masih tegak berdiri kokoh diatas sebuah bukit. Sejatinya, kompleks ini memiliki sejumlah bagunan kuno sebanyak 17 buah, namun hanya beberapa yang berhjasil direnovasi. Candi Ijo adalah candi yang letaknya paling tinggi di tapal batas Yogyakarta yang menyuguhkan pesona alam dan budaya serta pesawat yang tengah landing. Menurut informasi, keberadaan candi ini membuat landasan Bandara Adisutjipto tak bisa diperpanjang ke arah timur.

Candi Banyunibo

Selanjutnya, perjalanan diteruskan menuju Candi Banyunibo. Candi Buddha ini berada tidak jauh dari Candi Ratu Boko, yaitu di bagian sebelah timur dari kota Yogyakarta ke arah kota Wonosari. Candi ini dibangun pada sekitar abad ke-9 pada saat zaman Kerajaan Mataram Kuno. Pada bagian atas candi ini terdapat sebuah stupa yang merupakan ciri khas agama Buddha. Ada sebuah kanal yang memisahkan antara candi dengan jalan utama, sehingga kita akan terhubung oleh jembatan. Candi ini cukup cantik dengan latar belakang perbukitan hijau. Tak terasa sudah tengah hari, saatnya kami balik ke Solo, ups…Candi Ratu Boko jangan sampai dilewatkan…cerita mengenai candi ini sudah cukup melegenda dan mengakar. Dahulunya, kompleks ini merupakan tempat tinggal biksu-biksu Mataram Kuno yang disulap menjadi istana kerajaan. Candi ini juga yang menjadi tempat terakhir Balaputradewa menginjakkan kaki di Bhumi Mataram, sebelum dia melarikan diri ke Sumatera untuk bertahta disana. Well, badan sudah capek-capek dan perut udah laper, saatnya balik ke Solo.

Tahap III

Kampung Batik Kauman

It’s shopping time..kalau ke Solo tak lengkap rasanya tidak membawa oleh-oleh batik. Tapi, sebaiknya kita berkeliling di kawasan kampung-kampung Solo terutama Laweyan dan Kauman. Suasana tradisional mengingatkan saya pada deretan kampung di kawasan Peneleh, Surabaya. Rumah berjejer berhimpitan serta beberapa industri batik mendorong tingkat perekonomian masyarakat sekitar. Bisa dikatakan, Solo memang ditakdirkan untuk berkembang dari batik. Perjalanan kami susuri mulai dari hiruk pikuknya suasana Pasar Klewer, antiknya Masjid Kauman, serta beberapa bangunan tua yang menghiasi putaran Kraton Solo.

Berjalan menyusuri peradaban Solo layaknya melintasi peradaban tiga jaman, mulai dari jaman kesultanan, perjuangan

Generasi Muda Kraton

kemerdekaan, hingga moderen. Bagaimanapun perkembangan kota ini, sebaiknya janganlah mengaburkan identitas diri dan budaya kota, kareha hal tersebut yang menghubungkan kenangan masa lalu dan proyeksi masa saat ini. Kita patut bersyukur, bahwa hal tersebut masih dipegang oleh mayoritas masyarakat di Solo, walaupun tantangan besar dan modernisasi terus menggerogoti ruang nafas kota ini. Hmm..memang tidak salah bila pemerintah memberi julukan bagi kota ini “The Spirit of Java” (Semangatnya Jawa).

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