Yogyakarta: The most liveable and lovable city in Indonesia

Text and pictures by Ashanthi Warunasuriya in Yogyakarta


Indonesia is a country with diverse communities and Yogyakarta is considered the most liveable and lovable city.

According to Lonely Planet, if Jakarta is Java’s financial and industrial powerhouse, Yogyakarta is its soul.

Central to the island’s artistic and intellectual heritage, Yogyakarta (pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’ and called Yogya or Jogja for short), is where the Javanese language is at its purest, the arts at their brightest and its traditions at their most visible.

Visitors to Yogyakarta can take time to visit some of the most important archaeological sites, Borobudur and Prambanan.

Fly with Singapore Airlines

Sri Lankans can now fly to Yogyakarta via Singapore Airlines and SilkAir in absolute comfort and style.

Shihana Cader, Public Relations and Premium Services Manager in Sri Lanka for Singapore Airlines said that all passengers are pampered with the award winning brand of personalized services on Singapore Airlines to ensure a great experience on the ground and in the air.


“There are 13 destinations in Indonesia to which Singapore Airlines and SilkAir fly. We operate SilkAir flights from Singapore to Yogyakarta,” she said.

Customers travelling with Singapore Airlines can redeem their Changi Dollar voucher worth S$ 20 when transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport. The voucher can be used at retail, food and service outlets at Changi Airport.

SilkAir Manager – Yogyakarta Hanafee Abdrahman said inbound tourism was growing strong. “SilkAir started with just three flights a week and today it has grown to seven times a week.

The demand and possibilities of travel are picking up in Yogyakarta as connectivity inbound as well as outbound is good. The Government is also pushing inbound tourism. In terms of sightseeing, activities, food, and shopping we see potential in Yogyakarta. We are always trying to create a new Bali.”

Yogyakarta is one of the newest destinations attracting Sri Lankan tourists as it is climatically close to Sri Lanka’s weather patterns and also has a number of Buddhist temples.

Borobudur: A must see

While in Yogyakarta, a must see for Sri Lankan tourists is the Borobudur Temple Compounds.

The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, and was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the centre of the island of Java, Indonesia.

The main temple is a stupa built in three tiers around a hill which was a natural centre: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,520 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.

The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology. It is believed that the universe is divided into three superimposing spheres, kamadhatu, rupadhatu, and arupadhatu, representing respectively the sphere of desires where we are bound to our desires, the sphere of forms where we abandon our desires but are still bound to name and form, and the sphere of formlessness where there is no longer either name or form.

At Borobudur Temple, the kamadhatu is represented by the base, the rupadhatu by the five square terraces, and the arupadhatu by the three circular platforms as well as the big stupa. The whole structure shows a unique blending of the very central ideas of ancestor worship, related to the idea of a terraced mountain, combined with the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.

The Temple should also be seen as an outstanding dynastic monument of the Syailendra Dynasty that ruled Java for around five centuries until the 10th century.

The Borobudur Temple Compounds consists of three monuments: namely the Borobudur Temple and  two smaller temples situatued to the east on a straight axis to Borobudur. The two temples are Mendut Temple, whose depiction of Buddha is represented by a formidable monolith accompanied by two Bodhisattvas, and Pawon Temple, a smaller temple whose inner space does not reveal which deity might have been the object of worship. Those three monuments represent phases in the attainment of Nirvana.

The temple was used as a Buddhist temple from its construction until sometime between the 10th and 15th centuries when it was abandoned. Since its re-discovery in the 19th century and restoration in the 20th century, it has been brought back into a Buddhist archaeological site.

Prambanan: A cultural treasure

Another place to visit is the Prambanan Temple Compounds. The Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of the Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple.

The Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples. All the mentioned temples form the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island.

While Loro Jonggrang, dating from the 9th century, is a brilliant example of Hindu religious bas-reliefs, Sewu, with its four pairs of Dwarapala giant statues, is Indonesia’s largest Buddhist complex including the temples of Lumbung, Bubrah and Asu (Gana temple). The Hindu temples are decorated with reliefs illustrating the Indonesian version of the Ramayana epic which are masterpieces of stone carvings. These are surrounded by hundreds of shrines that have been arranged in three parts showing high levels of stone building technology and architecture from the 8th century AD in Java. With over 500 temples, Prambanan Temple Compounds represents not only an architectural and cultural treasure, but also a standing proof of past religious peaceful cohabitation. (Addition information courtesy UNESCO)


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