Posted by: Mark | February 5, 2008


Despite having lived in Yogyakarta over five months now, I’ve actually seen very little of it. Having returned from Jakarta in the middle of January, I decided that I would dedicate myself to getting around and seeing all the things I planned to before leaving Australia. Finally, on the first day of February, I started doing just that, with a trip to Parangtritis and Imogiri.


Parangtritis beach, essentially unswimmable, but still quite impressive.

Just over an hour south of the city, Parangtritis is a small town mostly facing a beach of the same name. The water is too dangerous for swimming, but the area is a very popular weekend retreat for city dwellers. One oft-repeated bit of folklore is that the Queen of the Sea is particularly volatile, and that as part of a bargain between her and the royal family, each Sultan of Yogyakarta must marry her in a ceremony down by the beach. So, while the current Sultan isnt really into polygamy, he technically has two wives I guess.


Climbing over these surprisingly jagged rocks ripped the heels off both my new sandals. Quality shoemaking indeed!

After a brisk walk across the scalding hot sand, my companions and I had lunch at an empty cafe, then headed off to Imogiri, about thirty minutes from Parangtritis, off the main road.


Java can be much quieter than the roads of Yogya would indicate.

Imogiri is the site where the former Sultans of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, their wives, extended families, and other people of status, national heroes and the like, are buried. To get there, one must ascend 346 stairs…


and don traditional Javanese dress…


Taking photos is not permitted in the tombs, so this description will have to suffice. The main point of interest is that of Sultan Agung Prabu Hanyokrokusumo, the oldest tomb in the complex. The tomb is located in the central wing, and is located inside a dark, boiling hot Javanese-style building. Each door is cut into the side of the wall, approximately one meter by one meter, and the rooms are lit by candle alone. Inside, Javanese men is similar dress pray and solicit donations, clustered around a fairly non-descript Islamic headstone. The room is absolutely sweltering, and definitely a claustrophobic’s nightmare.


As Steve discovered, mango trees at Imogiri are swarming with fire ants. Luckily, going shirtless is acceptable Javanese dress.

The complex itself is quite beautiful, though a little damaged from earthquakes. The newest tombs are better ventilated than the older ones, dating from the 17th century. The biggest of the interior doors are still only about 5ft, and the architecture is beautiful in places.


The descent down leaves one feeling shakey-legged for quite some time. In my case, it lasted to the carpark, for the hour ride back to the city, and all the way to the warung where I recharged my pulsa almost two hours later.

Overall, it was an interesting day, and definitely stoked my desire to visit more of these places. I didnt buy anything to take home, but the scorching hot sun left me with two very painful souvenirs.



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