The province of Central Java, around the city of Jogyakarta, is the most famous part of Java and is, in fact, its cultural centre. This is in part because of the presence there of a variety of religious influences-Buddhist, Hindu, and other indigenous beliefs, which resulted in the construction of the impressive temples of Borobudur, Prambanan and the Dieng temple complex.
The 300 year old city of Jogyakarta is the cultural heart of Java. Here also is Indonesia’s oldest palace ‘The Kraton,’ still the domicile of Jogya’s royalty. Even now the current Sultan of Jogyakarta retains remarkable political prestige. Jogyakarta offers an abundance of Javanese art, painting, silverwork, batik handcraft, traditional Javanese dances, as well as contemporary art. The city is the cultural centre not only of Java, but of the whole of Indonesia. From Jogyakarta one can travel easily to the Borobudur and Prambanan temples, which are half-day trips from the city. Jogyakarta is situated between the foot of the still-active Merapi volcano and the mystical Indian Ocean, home of ‘Loro Kidul,’ Queen of the South Seas.
The most famous of Indonesia’s temples is this huge Buddhist pyramid. This is a Buddhism’s largest shrine in Indonesia, built in the 9th century. Located north west of Jogyakarta, Borobudur was completed in the second half of the ninth century. Like the Hindu temple complexes Prambanan and the Dieng plateau, Borobudur was unknown and neglected for almost a thousand years, covered under thick layers of volcanic ash. From a far Borobudur looks like a huge but ordinary stone construction. But from nearby we can see that it consists of hundreds of wonderfully detailed statues and sculptures, representing Buddhist teachings mixed with images of Javanese life of a thousand years ago…[read more]