Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yogyakarta - The Palace and The Museum

Day 2 -

After an interesting peek into the past and a short lesson on the history of Buddhism, from Borobudur, we checked out another Buddhist temple (I cannot remember the name - although come to think of it, I don't even know if we ever found out the name!) around the vicinity. Here we also saw the Bodhi tree, the tree under which Buddha received enlightenment. We did stand under the tree for a short while, but were probably not exactly in the right frame of mind to be enlightened in any way whatsoever.

The Bodhi Tree: No enlightenment found here

The second Buddhist temple
We later hit the Sultan's Palace, another somewhat popular tourist destination judging from the number of non-local looking people around with cameras and backpacks. The strangest thing here is that the Sultan actually still lives there, in his palace. Of course we didn't go into the palace to say hi or anything, but if I was the Sultan, I'd go berserk if so many people were within such a close range to me every single day. We did see some people carrying food from the royal kitchens to the palace, though... At the palace, there was a wayang kulit show, which we watched for awhile (it's also popular in Malaysia, though I've never sat down to watch an actual show)
Wayang Kulit at the Sultan's Palace
There was a museum connected to the palace depicting the life of the previous Sultan. Based on the exhibit about his life, he seems to have been one of those genuinely nice people, and is/was well loved by everyone. It's kind of hard to explain, but that's how you feel as you walk through the different stages of his life via photos, articles and some real stuff he used, such as clothes and equipment. It is a well known fact that the term Sultan indicates a Muslim ruler, and so it is, however, it is interesting to note, that despite the fact, some of the architecture around the palace grounds itself is of Hindu/Buddhist origin, for instance the statues that symbolise guardians. Later on, we went ahead to the private pool of the Sultan, not to swim , but to just see the architecture I guess - part of the itenerary (not so private anymore, I guess)

Later on it was lunch, at one of the places outside the silver factory. Lunch was pretty good this time, thank goodness! And after that we went into the silver factory, where they looked for someone who could speak in English (it wasn't exactly necessary either as we can understand their lingo to a certain extent, although their first question was did we speak Japanese? Hehehe...) The English speaking silver girl took us around and explained some of the processes involved in silver making and most importantly, how a certain local fruit can be used to clean tarnished silver. (Honestly, I've forgotten most of the details here. Genius didn't bother to document stuff later that night, not realising that details can go missing with time!)

As the afternoon shifted to evening, we found ourselves in the grounds of Prambanan, an ancient Hindu temple complex which was also built when modern machinery were yet to exist. While the complex was open to all visitors, many of the temples themselves were off-limits due to them being feared unstable after a certain earthquake in the area in 2006. In fact, a much older earthquake had reduced the temples to ruins, and they were then reconstructed. But many of the stones were either taken away for people's personal collection (and even construction) while many more couldn't be put back together because no one could figure out where they went. (All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again)

The view of (almost) the whole complex. On the right and left are the scattered stones which couldn't be placed together again after a (much older) earthquake

We ended the day with some shopping before dinner. Our initial plan of shopping at Malioboro street was discarded as we were too tired- being up and about since 4 am (really!), we were not really in the mood for bargaining, and our guide asking us to be careful seeing that the street boasted of pick pockets with varying degrees of skill. Instead, we shopped at an indoor shoplot where prices were fixed (we're not really into bargaining, to begin with) and was probably safer despite being crowded. So was Malioboro street, actually.

We had dinner at another restaurant recommended by users of Trip Advisor, which was lovely too. And then it was back to the hotel for packing, some sleeping and catching the flight out before sunrise the next morning.

Other posts in the series:
Food and Volcanoes
Sunrise at Borobudur

6 comments:

  1. Lunch was some local food... it was pre-ordered, so we never really found out the names of the dishes.

    As for dinner, we had some fusion cuisine (Asian - Western) We didn't know this until much later, but the owner of the place is actually an Australian :)

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  2. The Bodhi Tree: No enlightenment found here

    Oh my lol. Well played.

    You're a very honest tourist ;)

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  3. Hehehe... no harm trying, eh?

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  4. This kind of stuff makes me realize how poorly traveled I am.

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  5. Well, you probably feel that way because Asia is so far away... I've never been outside of Asia.

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