Kamis, 20 Juni 2013

The majestic Prambanan Temple

A three-week late posting about our trip to Yogyakarta, Central Java.


On the third day of our stay in Yogya, we scheduled a visit to the Prambanan temple and the hometown village of my father-in-law.

It was cloudy and overcast the whole day, with some drizzles every now and then. It certainly was not a good weather to shoot photos, and I was kind of disappointed. There goes my chance to get good photos of the famous temple, but we must stick to the plan so off we went ahead with it.

The mysterious temple from a distance
The cool weather affected our mood. The group was pretty quiet after a short while, lost in their train of thoughts during our journey to the temple. However, as soon as we saw the tall tower of Prambanan, everyone went alive! How magnificent the Prambanan temple was seen from a far. The cool misty weather created a mysterious ambiance surrounding the temple. I imagined hundred of years ago, the King from SanjayaDynasty performed Hindu religious rites there, what a humbling feeling it must have been to witness the ritual.

Once we reach the temple complex, we could see some renovation works in progress. The temple is undergoing renovation as it was quite damaged when Mt. Merapi expelled its hot lava and hot clouds in 2010. Most parts of the temple was still accessible however some main chambers were closed to public for safety reason. We also needed to wear helmet during our visit.

Reconstruction and renovation works is underway

I learned during my conversation with my in-laws that my husband’s paternal granddad was one of the supervisors during the first reconstruction of Prambanan temple back in 1950s. Sadly, he died from a fall when he was on duty! May he rest in peace.

Look at these pictures, you can see how majestic the temple is!

With the majestic temple in the background

Errr...it is a steep climb! 

Such happy faces. You have never seen this kind of marvel, have you boy? 

What a beautiful background!

Donning a helmet for safety

Yours truly :)

After spending about one and a half hour around the temple, we left the the compound to pay our respect and say our prayers to my husband’s grandparents in the village cemetery located not far from the temple.

On our way to there, guess what we saw! A cow carriage! It was a carriage pulled by two cows, how wonderful to come across this traditional mode of transportation! Its bell jingled when the cows moved, what a unique sound it produced.  This type of carriage was a rare sight nowadays, even for village standard.

Oh dear...such a commotion when the carriage is making a U-turn!

Feels like a farmer boy? hehe

There were many of them in the open field!

We were able to overtake the carriage as it moved quite slowly on the road. We then stopped our car by the roadside so we could take pictures of this vehicle. And then it hit me. Suddenly there were many oncoming motorcycles also overtaking the carriage after us. And the last one in the row was a while mpv-like vehicle, that surprisingly pulled over by the roadside too. Out came a western tourist with his camera. Apparently, he wanted to shoot the cow-carriage too! Hahaha. 

Uh oh…the cow-carriage was then making a U-turn into an open field nearby. It was kind of hilarious scene as the cows were reluctant to go back but the driver and his assistant were trying hard to make them turn around! LOL! And once we turned our gaze to the open field…look and behold, in there, were so many other carriages, apparently waiting for some local government dignitaries to come and attend a function. We could not believe our luck! What did we do? Follow the carriage to the field of course !

One of the owner of the carriages told me that there were going to be a big gathering / carnival called Yogya Art Festival on 16 June (or today!!) and there would be hundreds of cow-carriages from across central and east Java joining the event. This time they would be in Yogyakarta town!  How exciting! And here is what I found from the internet about the festival (link and photos)

Done taking pictures of the cow carriages, we continued our plan to pay our respect to my husband’s grandparents. The cemetery was tucked away from the village, in an open area next to a cluster of cows’ pens, among paddy fields. The fun part began after the prayers. Sombre mood was replaced with cheerfulness.

We were greeted by ‘moo’ and ‘eeeeeek’ from the cows and the goats housed in the pens.  My son was so excited as it was his first time seeing these animals with his own eyes! He grinned so wide when we took pictures of him with the cows in the background. He pointed to the smelly cow dungs and shouted excitedly of his discovery! Aiyaiyaai!

We met a farmer named pak Wagiman who had two cows, a female cow and its calf in there. He said the calf would be sold for its meat once its big enough.

Not far for where Pak Wagiman cows were kept, there was a working well waiting to be explored. My husband taught our little boy how to get water from the well, explaining to him in the process that there are still many people in the village get their clean water in this way. 

After we had enough of mingling with the cows we went straight to the rice fields that lie vast in front of eyes. The paddy fields were gorgeous green. Harvest time was still several months away, I think. We walked through the rice fields, along the grid embankments that divided the rice fields into smaller segments. My husband caught a grasshopper and showed the insect to our son, before it jumped off from my husband palm and disappeared into the paddy. The kiddo then tried to catch one himself, to no avail, but it was still so much fun 

What a wonderful and precious experience we had that morning. It was an eye opener for my son and a way to rekindle and reconnect to our younger days for us. I hope my son will remember what he experienced today for a long time to come.

The fun did not stop there though. After exploring the rice fields we realised that we were all hungry and cold as it was drizzling still. My parents-in-law suggested us to make a stop by and fill up our fuel at Pondok Sate and Tongseng Bu Darmo, just slightly outside the village. The Pondok Sate was a simple and descent eating house selling Mutton Tongseng (stew with dark soy sauce), Satay and Gulai (Curry-like). The food was simple, prepared on the spot based on order yet heavenly. My son was addicted to its hot kampong tea that was sweetened with rock sugar! It was comforting in a cool afternoon like that day. 

Hot tea with rock sugar. Sedapnyaaa!

Hot lime drink

We headed back to Yogya after refuelling, feeling happy and contented. 

More images of Yogya will be posted soon.

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