Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Candi Jedong: Paduraksan Gate in Ngoro, Mojokerto, East Java, Indonesia

Jedong Temple is a gate temple, in the shape of Paduraksan, a type of gate which its roof merged.  The gates were made of andesite while the wall which connects both gates made of brick. And on the both upper gate are engraved with kala as the characteristic of other classical building in Java. This temple is located not far from Ngoro Industrial Area, Mojokerto and geographically nestles on the northern slope of Mount Gajah Mungkur, one of peaks of Mount Penanggungan.

Local people call the two gates as Gapura Lanang (Male’s Gate)  for Candi Jedong I and Gapura Wadon (Female’s Gate) for Candi Jedong 2. 

One of the Gate is bigger, and a date is carved at the temple wall, 1307 Saka or 1385. The smaller gate is not dated, yet there was an andesit dated 1378 Saka or1456.  The function of the temple is assumed as gate to a  free-tax area or known as Perdikan (Sima). There is an assumption that this area has existed for thousand years.

From various literature, 12 inscriptions were found here, and named as Jedong  I- XII. The inscriptions are primary source for history data as the  they contain accuracy.

Jedong I, Tulangan inscription was made on bronze and written in old Javanese script in Jedong Area, which has already been existed since 832 Saka or 910 AD and in that period the area had been a free-tax region or locally known as Perdikan (Sima) Tulangan. Tulangan is the first term of Jedong. This period, is concurrent with the reign of King Balitung (898-913 AD) who ruled Old Mataram Kingdom in Central Java.

Jedong II (Kambang Sri), is date back 848 Saka (929 AD), explaining about King Rakai Layah Dyah Tolodong who reigned Old Mataram Kingdom in Central Java 920-928 AD and in this period Jedong name altered to Kambang Sri.

Jedong III (Kambang Sri II) is made of andesite stone in old Javanese script dated back 850 Saka (928 AD) (Verbeek 1891). This period was when King Sendok reigned from 929-948 AD in Old Mataram Kingdom East Java.

The conclusion is there are 2 periods: King Tulodong reigned Old Mataram Kingdom in Central Java and King Sendok ruled Old Mataram Kingdom in East Java, and the site was still named as Kambang Sri. Since Old Mataram King, Candi Jedong had been a  Sima known as Tulangan area, and then later became Kambang Sri. Three inscriptions above are long inscriptions, while others from Jedong IIIa-XII are short inscriptions, which only written a date. The newest inscription was dated back 1378 Saka or 1456 AD.  According to those findings, Jedong as fee-tax region had been existed since Old Mataram Kingdom until Majapahit Kingdom. period.

(Various source)

Candi (Temple) Belahan or Sumber Tetek Temple : King Airlangga’s Bathing Place

This temple  is located on the eastern slope of Mt Penanggungan, overlooking lush forest and not far from a beautiful rice terraces. The temple is constructed of red brick, and andesite with the main feature is two goddesses  and Garuda Wisnu in the middle of both goddesses.  Laksmi dan Sri are the wife or Sakti of  Wisnu. And it has been a long tradition in East Java that a king is dietified for prestide and legitimacy.  In Belahan Temple, King Airlangga is deitified as Wisnu. The Garuda Wisnu is not in the temple anymore but now displayed in Trowulan Museum. The queen, is the one wearing prabha, she was the daughter of King Dharmawangsa and  the other one is king’s second wife.

Airlangga was the king of Kahuripan. When he was 16 years old, King Dharmawangsa, his father in law was overthrown, and  Airlangga and his guardian, Narotama,  could escaped to forest. In the future he could defeat his enemies and then built a kingdom, Kahuripan Kingdom.

The size of the bathing place is 6.14 M X 6,14 M, the water sprouting from the bare breast of Laksmi. Laksmi and Sri are the symbol of fertility and prosperity. Both beautiful goddess standing on a lotus, bare breasted, wearing crowns and elaborate jewellery and draped clothing.

Because of the good quality of water, locals use the water in this temple for drinking water. You can sometimes meet locals carrying water jar.

Javanese come to this place for some ritual, the water also believed to have virtue. And it is never dry or lessen in dry season,


Han Family Altar House, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesa

Han Family Altar House

Surabaya is indeed has been a magnet for immigrant or traders from overseas in the past, either from Europe, Asia, India and Arab countries. Today there are some evidence can still be seen, especially at the northern part of Surabaya, as the old town of Surabaya.
One of the evidence is Han family altar house located in the Chinatown of Surabaya. This establishment was built in the 1876 by Han Sie Lok, and it was known as Han Sie lok Hian Tjok Biauw. The architecture is very interesting as it adopts Indische Empire style and Chinese style as exterior. Han family initially arrived in Lasem and in China this family was a rich merchant. The descendants moved to Surabaya and involved in business of sugar cane plantation, sugar factory, and weed. Pilars inside the house were imported from Glasgow, the floor is made of marble.

The house has never been renovated. And it is still in good state. Inside the house you can find the original chairs and table and glass. The ceiling is high and open. The doors are made of teak wood, very solid and thick, especially the main door.

PICTURES : Broken Beach , Nusa Penida

Broken Beach located in Nusa Penida Island. The beach is very unique as it is a secluded beach separated by a cliff hole. The beach itself is not accessible, however the view has is amazing that it draws visitors to visit and take a picture of this beach.  Below is the pictures of the Broken Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali , Indonesia. 

And to book trip to Broken Beach of Nusa Penida and Nusa Penida Tour or Bali Tour in general, please contact  Getaway Tours: Indonesia Tour Operator.


Batak House at Samosir Island

There are still some traditional house of Batak exist until today. Not so many left anymore in some areas in North Sumatera. The house has two kinds: Ruma and Sopo. Ruma is a dwelling while Sopo is an establishment without wall which is used as barn or as living room.

The house has 3 major section, the lower, middle and upper. The lower section is the foundation and pillar which support the house and used for livestock. The middle is used as dwelling and the upper to keep weapons.

Ruma and Sopo have steep roof made of grass. The house usually decorated with carving, known as gorga. Gorga is usually made of soft wood which is sunlight and water resistant, such as Ungil wood. The Gorga has three colors: white, red and black. White color is made out of lime stone, red color made out of a red stone and black color is made of plants.

In front of the house there is a stair as entrance. It is a pride for Batak people when the stair is worn out as it is an indication that the house has welcomed many guests and that the owner is friendly.

The door if the house is low, that when one is entering the house must bow which has meaning guest must respect the house owner.

River Cruising at Tanjung Puting National Park

I always love seeing the lush green forest, and river. And i think Tanjung Puting National Park is a very lovely place to visit. Not just to getaway from my mundane environment but also to understand more of the flora, fauna, wildlife and environment.

It is thrilling to enter this park, as it is one of the so called lung of the earth. Cruising through the Sikonyer river, passing nipah trees, pandan trees and some vegetation can be seen from the river. In the afternoon, those proboscis monkey or locally known as bekantan can be seen enjoying afternoon from tree branches. Not only that, macaque sometimes busy eating nipah’s fruit and birds roaming.

Orangutan which attract mainly visitors to come can be seen at feeding area. Usually the tour will include visiting the 3 feeding area, at Tanjung Harapan, Pondok Tangguy and Camp Leaky. Those orangutan can be seen there are semi wild, which once was rehabilitated and then released to the jungle. As the orang utan from rehabilitation is different and automatically could not compete with wild orangutan, feeding is still ongoing.  Beside this will make any disease that maybe will be spreaded through contact from semi-wild to the wild ones. 

The feeding station just located about 1 KM from the camp located at the river bank, which can be reached by about 30-45 minutes walk.  It is such a privilege watching this big apes in their habitat  from close distance. They swing from branch to another and especially when seeing how attached the young orangutan is very clingy to their mother.

The very informative station of Camp Leaky is very interesting. That it can take a while for me to read carefully to learn and understand more about orangutan,  other wildlife, the forest, the research. Camp Leaky was established in 1971 by Dr Birute Galdikas and her former spouse Rod Brindamour and it was named after legendary paleo-anthropologist, Louis Leaky, the mentor and inspiration for Dr. Galdikas.

Other memorable experience at Tanjung Puting National Park was the night we dock the boat nearby nipah tree was were full of fireflies. The whole night was magical with the twinkling bugs. I could not remember when was the last time i saw fireflies, maybe twenty years ago.  According to the guide, few years back, the fireflies was along the river every night. And now, only they are only in some Nipah trees, due to firest and the carbon of the fire affect the fireflies.

Sekonyer River was clear black in color all along. Now the down stream is brown, and it is said to be the effect of mining activities. But upstream is still well preserved. I love the color of the river, so clear and black. The black color was due to the acid from the leaves of the jungle.



Aek Natonang Lake: A Lake on A Lake

This 100 hectares lake is located in Samosir Island, this can be called as lake on a lake. Located about 1 hours drive from Tuk Tuk or Tomok, this lake has small number of visitors.

The road is winding and can be foggy, in the morning or noon or afternoon, especially in rainy season. You can rent scooter to get here. For your information, there is no public toilet in the location.

Aek Natonang Lake  is surrounded by forest, and on the edge is grass where bulls grassing. Along the ride to the lake, you will pass scarcely inhabited area, and also  pond to wash bull.


Mount Sinabung, the active volcano erupts for long term since 2013 until now (2017)

Mount Sinabung has been long active and endanger people living in the vicinity. Due to its activity, inhabitants of the village must leave their house to evacuation area.

Visiting Berastagi, you can see this volcano erupts ash, almost everyday. This becomes very popular view among travelers. I went closer to the slope of Mt Sinabung, Berastepu village, where the ash can be seen destroyed the plants on the slope and many houses were abandoned because of the volcano. I find it very sad, seeing houses, churches and schools left and damaged.

Until today, villagers are not allowed to return to their house, as Mount Sinabung activity has not back down. Even this August, the activity raised, the volcano erupts 4.5 km ash.

Mt Sinabung had slept for 1,200 years, and then in 2013 it starts active. According to Matteo Lupi and Stephen Miller, the volcano activity might have been triggered by quake in Nias in 2005 and Mentawai Enggano quake in 12 September 2007.

For me it was kind of a bit nervous visiting the Red Zone (Zona Merah) where people may not live. However farmers work  in the red zone in the day time. They plants cabbage and potatoes on the fertile soil.

Mount Sibayak, Berastagi, Karo Regency, North Sumatera

Located in Berastagi, this active volcano is now still safe to climb, unlike its sister, Mt Sinabung, who has been erupting for almost 4 years. Located not very far from Brastagi city, climbing Mt Sibayak can be an option for visitors to see a beautiful view from Mt Sibayak Peak.
Mt Sibayak is 2,094 m, and to reach the peak only take s about 1 hour walk. I think this is very convenient for beginners. I heard there are other climbing trails to the peak which take longer.
As other mountain which is most convenient hiked in the morning before sunrise, i climbed early morning about 04.30 depart from hotel in Brastagi and then drive to foot of Mt Sibayak.
I was not prepared with warm clothing, so i just had two layers top and trousers. After walking about 10 minutes i felt it was not cold anymore. The climb was a little steep in the beginning and then passing tall pandanus plants, afterwards no more steep path.
At the peak, you can hear the loud hiss of from the crater and if you go down to the crater, you can see bubbling hot water. And the view from the ultimate peak is very beautiful. The ridges of nearby peaks, and Mt Sinabung which still active and smolders ash can be seen from here. On the other side the view of Berastagi and nearby village twinkling down there.
Even though the trail is not long, still recommended to have local guide to go with. Do not forget to bring small backpack with water and maybe bread or snack or banana. Comfy shoes will be helpful for the trail.
About 07.00, you will finish climbing and then drive to Sedebuk debuk hot spring located not far from the base camp. I find it perfect to relax after the hike. You can also choose the various temperature of the sulfurous water.