Yogyakarta – A Stroll Up Garland Bearing Street

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Yogyakarta’s main thoroughfare, Jalan Malioboro, begins directly in front of the royal audience pavilion,

At the fron of the palace, and ends at a phallic lingga some two kms (1,25 mles) to the north – a shrine dedicated to the local guardian spirit, Kyai Jaga. It was laid out by Hamengkubuwono I, as a ceremonial boulevard for colourful state processions, but also as a symbolic meridian along which to orient hid domain. Local folk etymologists insist that the street somehow takes its name from the Duke of Marlborough, perhaps as a consequence of the humiliating English assault on Yogyakarta in 1812. But in fact “Malioboro” derives from Sanskrit terms meaning “garland bearing” – the royal processional route was always adorned with floral boutiquets.

Today, Jalan Malioboro is a bustling avenue lined with shopfronts and teeming with vehicles and pedicabs – primarily a shopping district but also an area of historical and cultural interest. Begin at the town square (alun – alun) and stroll up this latter day processional, stopping fisrt at the Sana Budaya Museum, just on the northwestern side of the square. It was opened in 1935 by the Java institute, a cultural foundation composed of wealthy Javanese and Dutch art patrons, and today houses important collections of prehistoric artifacts, Hindu – Buddhist bronzes, wayang puppets, dance customes and traditional Javanese weapongs. (Open Tuesday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Closed Mondays and holidays). Visit also the nearby Grand Mosque (completed in 1773), and notice the two fenced off banyan trees standing on either side of the road in the square’s centre. These symbolize the stable balance of opposing forces within the Javanese kingdom.

Northwards from the square (completed in 1773), and notice the two fenced off banyan trees standing on either side of the road in the square’s centre. These symbolize the stable balance of opposing forces within the Javanese kingdom.

Proceed northwards from the square through the main gates and out across Yogya’s main intersection. Immediately ahead on the right stands the old Dutch garrison. Fort Vredeburgh, which is slated to become a cultural centre, complete with exhibition and performance halls. Opposite it on the left stands the former Dutch Resident’s mansion, used during the revolution as the presidential palace, now the Governor’s residence. Farther along on the right, past the fort, is the huge, covered central market, Pasar Beringan – a dimlylit women’s world of small stalls. Back out on Malioboro, both sides of the street are lined with handicraft shops selling a great range of traditional textiles, leather goods, baskets, tortoise shell, jewellerly and endless knick knacks. Many resturants here also cater especially to foreign tourist, serving refreshing iced fruit juices. Chinese, Indonesian and Western fare. The Tourist Information Office faces onto Malioboro not far from the hotel Mutiara. Stop in to get a copy of their up to date information sheet about temple tours and dance performances.

Read Also : Yogyakarta – Yogya’s Peerless Performing Arts

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