One of the foremost cultural centers of Java, Yogyakarta or Yogya as it is called will keep visitors enthralled with its inherent charm and diverse cultural entertainment and attractions.
Gamelan music, classical and contemporary Javanese dances, the wayang kulit leather puppet theater and other expressions of traditional art will keep the visitor spellbound. Local craftsmen excel in the arts of batiks, silver and leather tooling.
The melding together of traditional life and modernization is best personified in the Sultan’s Palace. In Yogya’s refined and cultural society, contemporary art has made its place beside its more classical forbears.
The palace court with its grand and elegant Javanese architecture lies in the center of the city.
Life-size dioramas of wedding ceremonies and puppet re-enactments of the wedding rituals offer tourists a sneak peek at one of Indonesia’s traditional rituals. Sets of Javanese musical instruments, antiques and heirlooms have made the palace of Yogyakarta worth to visit.
The official cemetery of the royal descendants from Yogyakarta and Surakarta, visitors may visit the royal graveyard, which is located on a hilltop, reachable by 345 stone steps leading to it.
Entry into the smaller courtyards housing the tombs of the princes is allowed only on Monday 09.00 – 12.00 or Friday 13.00 – 16.00. Traditional Javanese dress has to be worn, which can be hired on the spot at a modest fee. The cemetery is closed during the Moslem month of Ramadan.
Named after its location, this magnificent Shivaite temple is also known as the Loro Jonggrang Temple, or the Temple of the “Slender Virgin.” It is considered to be the biggest and most beautiful Hindu temple in Indonesia.
Visitors to the Temple may explore the parapets adorned with bas-relief structures depicting the famous Ramayana story. The Ramaya ballet is performed on full moon evenings at the open-air theaters in the Temple. The temple complex itself houses eight shrines, three of which are dedicated to the Hindi gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
Designed by Dutch architect Kersten, this museum built in traditional Javanese architecture now exhibits weapons, leather and wooden puppets of wayang theater, masks, statues, textiles, curios and old Javanese gamelan instruments. The museum is situated on the northern side of the city’s main square in front of the Sultan’s Palace.
In this old palace town with its walled-in houses, the graves of the first rulers of Mataram are still to be found. Since the 1930s, however, Kotagede has become famous for being the center of the Yogya silverwork industry. Kotagede is easily reached by “andong,” the four-wheeled horse-drawn cart, by taxi, bus, or car.
The Affandi Museum pays tribute to Indonesia’s foremost impressionist painter, Affandi (1907 – 1990). Located in a lush garden next to his peculiar house on stilts, Affandi’s artwork is displayed side by side with the artwok of his artist-daughter Kartika. Visitors may also visit the artist’s grave, which rests in the backyard next to the museum. .
Known for its artistic pottery and earthenware is the village of Kasongan found southwest of Yogyakarta. Visitors may purchase Kasongan earthenware that has become unique works of art through the guidance of contemporary Indonesian artists all over art shops at Java.
Situated on the eastern outskirts of the city, it has an interesting permanent exhibition of batiks in classic and modern designs. The process of batik can also be seen here, both the hand drawn and hand stamped.
This resort on the slopes of Mt. Merapi, 24 km north of Yogyakarta is surrounded by an enchanting countryside. The “Telogo Muncar” waterfall and swimming pool make this resort a very pleasant recreation place. Bungalows are available for rent.
Visitors to Yogyakarta may expect to do a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes, lightweight yet conservative clothing, basic medicine pack, sun protection and bottled water should be part of any visitor’s list.
Batik, leather puppets, silverware, tortoise shell and horn ornaments, pottery, antique jewelry and paintings are widely available.