Java is one of 5 major islands in Indonesia. It is the most populated and the most developed island in the archipelago. Java is a rich spiritual and unforgettable destination. Island of Java consists of 6 provinces: Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Special Regon of Yogyakarta.
Located in the central of Java, the city of Yogyakarta (Kingdom of Jogjakarta) is center of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, drama, music, poetry and puppet shows Wayang Kulit, a leather puppet used for shadow puppet performance. Originated from Yogyakarta shadow puppet performance is the most famous and probably one of the oldest continuous traditions of storytelling in the world. In 2003, UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Yogyakarta is a special administrative region in Indonesia. It's the only province in Indonesia that is still headed by a monarchy. The King (Sultan) Palace was built in 1756-1790 by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I. Its architecture is the example of Javanese cosmos style and reflects Javanese culture. The Palace is still used as the residence of King or Sultan and also as Javanese art and cultural center. Taking a glimpse of the guards and abdi dalem (people who voluntarily subjugate their service to the Sultan (King) and his extended family) with their traditional uniforms is one of the highlights.
Yogyakarta is also known as being a student city. There are many temples in and around Yogyakarta. Two of the most important temples, Borobudur and Prambanan, are listed on 50 tours of a lifetimeby National Geographic magazine.
Sunrise at Borobudur temple
Borobudur is located just 1 hour North of Yogyakarata. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and UNESCO world heritage site. Built between the year of 750-850, Borobudur is a world heritage archeological site which has 7 levels and 1460 carved stone. The illustration carved on the stones depicting the Buddhist story and reflecting the life in the world before reaching heaven. Witnessing the sunrise and experiencing the silent and lonely dawn at Borobudur is one of the most unique experiences in one's life.
Located 17 km from center of Yogyakarta, Prambanan temple is an inheritance of the Hindus in 9"1 century. Prambanan is one of the grandest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. It consists of three main temples surrounded by small temples called Perwara. At night, Prambanan temple open theatre presents an interesting love story dance, Ramayana, and unique gamelan music performance. The performance is especially popular during the full moon night.
Malioboro street is a major shopping street in Yogyakarta. The street is the center of Yogyakarta's largest tourist district surrounded with many hotels and restaurants nearby. Sidewalks on both sides of the street are crowded with small stalls selling a variety of goods.
Three hours drive to the east of Yogyakarta is city of Solo or also called Surakarta. Together with Yogyakarta, Solo is well known as the cultural heartland of Java. As the center of surviving Javanese court, Solo is famous for its refined, highly polished aesthetic, and sophisticated Javanese art. The batik of Solo is known as among the oldest batik tradition in Java. Batik fabric is a cloth that is traditionally processed using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique which developed centuries ago in Central Java. The design is very unique, and the application technique is regarded as one of the country's most highly developed form of art. Danar Hadi antique batik museum houses a complete collection of batik from centuries ago. You can also watch the dyeing process of hand-made batik and printed batik.
Solo Palace is where the current Sultan of Surakarta (Pakubuwono XIII) lives. Like Yogyakarta, at one point, Solo was once awarded the status of special administrative region within Republic of Indonesia. Today the Surakarta holds no actual political power and authority on governing their realms. Its power was limited in royal prestige and its special position as the patron, preserver and the protector of Javanese culture.
Kotagede is a small and historical old city known as silver handicraft town. Silver handicraft started to rise when Sultan Agung reigned because of demand for silver and gold items at Sultan's palace. Many people live in Kotagede earn their living as silversmith. You can buy silver art for souvenir or private collections.