From the all-night shadow-puppet performances to the bold and socially aware graffiti covering many a wall, Yogyakarta, the cultural and spiritual capital of Java, Indonesia, is above all a city of art and culture.
On any given day of the week, visitors to Yogyakarta can pick from an array of cultural events, including rock concerts, puppet shows and art exhibitions, taking place in and around the city.
Despite Indonesia being largely an Islamic nation today, the most spectacular of these cultural performances is the Ramayana ballet. It features dozens of dancers and musicians, elaborate costumes and explosive pyrotechnics as it recounts the story of the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic poem.
Although Ramayana ballets take place at a couple of venues in and around Yogyakarta, by far the most impressive is held in front of the thousand-year-old Prambanan temples just outside Yogyakarta.
Around 200 people, including dancers, lighting technicians, musicians and make-up artists, are involved in the main outdoor ballet production, which takes place several nights a week between May and October.
The ballet tells the story of how the Hindu god Rama rescues his wife Sita from the clutches of Rahwana (or Ravana), a demon king who kidnaps her and takes her to Lanka.
The culmination of the ballet is a spectacular fire ‘fight’ during which dancers leap through flames and wave burning torches as they recreate the final battle to rescue Sita from Rahwana.
Wayung kulit, a type of shadow-puppet play, is the one of the more visible forms of traditional Javanese culture in Yogyakarta. As with the ballet, the stories told in a wayung kulit performance are usually based on one of the Hindu epics, the Mahabharata. The Sonobudoyo Heritage Museum (www.sonobudoyo.com) hosts performances most nights of the week.
It’s not all classical culture in Yogyakarta. The people are naturally musical and it can sometimes seem as if every young Indonesian wants to be a rock star. This photo of the punk band Only Kids was taken at a concert in Yogyakarta.
There are myriad other tourist attractions around Yogyakarta. Constructed around 800AD, the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, a one-hour drive from the city, is one of the world’s largest Buddhist temples. It was conceived as a Buddhist vision of the cosmos in stone and contains over 500 Buddha statues and more than 2500 decorative and narrative relief panels. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful of all Buddhist temples.
For those who don’t know, Darma Yudha is a Junior High School located at the Province of Riau, Indonesia. Last week on January 11th, the school’s Principal Mr. Yohanes Mulyanto and the managing director Mr. Christian Pramudana had an orientation for the StudyTour with the Seniors of Darma Yudha Junior High School.
So they decide that the students will go to Jogjakarta for the StudyTour on the middle of May, some students were very excited whereas some were dissapointed because they think they would be going to Bali just like the previous year.
Well, Jogjakarta is already quite a far place for Junior High School students, but it will be fine.
Some of the Senior High School Student’s Council members were also there to tell the students about the benefits for continuing High School at Darma Yudha. Including the President, the Secretary and three members of the Student Council.
Then Mr. Chris takes over, He explains to us some of the connections Darma Yudha have with some universities, He also told us all the requirement to register to Darma Yudha High School.