Yogyakarta: Where Heritage Meets Harmony - From Sacred Temples to International Music Feasts

Yogyakarta: Where Heritage Meets Harmony - From Sacred Temples to International Music Feasts
Image by Wonderful Indonesia

Even though we are still at the beginning of 2024, have you made any exciting vacation plans? If not, perhaps it is time to consider Indonesia as a fascinating destination. In this country, there are many fascinating destinations worth visiting, one of which is the city of Yogyakarta, which was recognized as the best city for tourism according to a survey conducted by GoodStats.

In the survey, the main factors that influenced respondents in choosing a city as a tourist destination include the availability of interesting tourist spots, natural beauty, historical sites, and culinary offerings.

In this city, your admiration will not only be focused on its tourist attractions, but you will also feel the strength of its cultural diversity reflected in its tourism activities and community life.

Yogyakarta plays an important role as the center of Javanese culture, where the strength of Javanese traditions is reflected by the presence of Kasultanan Kraton Yogyakarta and Puro Paku Alaman as important Javanese cultural centers. Meanwhile, the presence of historical sites such as  Sewu Temple, Boko Temple, and Prambanan Temple in Sleman enriches the cultural landscape with the heritage of the Hindu religion from ancient times. In addition, the local community still preserves and cherishes traditions rich in local wisdom.

The largest Hindu religious site in the country is also located in Yogyakarta, namely Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temple), which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, the Prambanan temple complex consists of three main temples surrounded by 244 smaller temples.

This temple complex was built in 778 Saka (856 AD) during the reign of Sri Maharaja Rakai Pikatan of the ancient Mataram Kingdom. The total area of the temple complex is 39.8 hectares. The entire area is divided into three courtyards separated by surrounding walls, with entrances at each cardinal point.

In the first courtyard, the center of the complex, there are three main temples, three auxiliary temples, two corner temples, and eight smaller shrines. The second courtyard contains 224 auxiliary temples, while the third courtyard is the outer area with no temple structures.

In the past, Prambanan Temple served as the main temple of the Mataram Kingdom, where important royal ceremonies were held. At its peak, it is estimated that hundreds of Brahman priests and their disciples gathered in the outer courtyard of this temple to study the Vedas and perform various Hindu rituals and ceremonies.

Today, the temple is mainly used as a venue for traditional ceremonies, including Melasti, Tawur Agung Kesanga, and various other rituals. In addition, the area of the temple complex has become popular for photography sessions, such as pre-wedding shoots, and the use of drones. However, prior permission from the relevant authorities,such as the DIY Cultural Heritage Preservation Center (BPCB) for drone flights.

The temple complex also serves as a venue for international music events such as Prambanan Jazz. This annual music festival showcases renowned musicians from the local and international scene. This year, Prambanan Jazz will be held over three days, from July 5 to 7, 2024. A notable change from previous years is the addition of three stages within the Prambanan Temple complex: the Special Show Stage, the Festival Stage, and the NAVASRPM Stage. This initiative reflects Prambanan Jazz's commitment to inviting jazz lovers to enjoy a diverse range of performances at the event.

The decade-long music festival is also known as a "family-friendly event" that caters to children and people with disabilities. It is supported by comprehensive facilities, including toilets, prayer rooms (mushola), breastfeeding rooms, children's play areas, and smoke-free zones. In addition, the organization complies with UNESCO regulations by designating the Prambanan Temple area as a smoke-free tourist zone.

Meanwhile, in addition to music concerts, visitors can enjoy a variety of culinary delights ranging from traditional to contemporary dishes, as well as unique Yogyakarta crafts offered at the festival. This event is an attractive option for those planning a mid-year vacation. Here, visitors can not only enjoy internationally acclaimed music concerts, but also immerse themselves in the beauty of Yogyakarta's history and culture while enjoying delicious cuisine, all within the same time frame.

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