Yogyakarta: Sumur Gumuling


Hi, guys!

Previously, we’ve explored the Taman Sari bathing complex. Today, we’ll be exploring Sumur Gumuling, a defunt mosque which used to house underwater tunnels.

You see, the whole Taman Sari area was part of an artificial lake called “Segaran”. The buildings in the complex were connected by underwater tunels. The royal family members would be transported by small boats to go to the buildings.

Sumur Gumuling is a circular building which can be accessed through one of the water tunnels. It is circular in shape, with arched holes on all four (upper level) and all eight (lower level) wind directions.

On the center of the building is a raised platform with four staircases ascending from the lower level, and one staircase to connect the raised platform with the upper level. A lot of people shoot photos on the raised platform, so expect it to be packed especially on peak hours and peak season).

The building was used as a mosque, so you will find a small niche/opening on the wall that was used as a mihrab (it indicated the direction of kiblah).

Sumur Gumuling can be reached by passing through gangs of local residents’ houses, which were particularly interesting because of the batik mural paintings on its walls. You can also purchase artworks or take up painting lessons with the locals. We’ll discuss about this street on the next post!

To us, the whole Taman Sari complex was mesmerizing, especially with the fact that it doesn’t resemble anything European (a style San is familiar with, having travelled extensively through Europe and having had art history classes in college).

Write to us in the comments if you want to visit this place or leave us your impression if you’ve visited 😀

Trivia: look up Nyai Roro Kidul to understand more about the Yogyakarta sultanate. Rumors say that there is a tunnel in Sumur Gumuling leading to her palace, exclusively known to the inner circle of the sultanate, incuding the Sultan himself.

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Front part of Sumur Gumuling.

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A tourist on the raised platform, seen from the lower level.
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Fi on the raised platform, seen from the upper level.
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San at one of the arched holes on the wall. Photo taken from the raised platform.



Magelang, Indonesia: What’s with Bukit Rhema & Gereja Ayam

You may know this place through one very well-known Indonesian movie sequel Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2. At least, that’s the case for us hahahah! While this place was probably already known by many of the locals, the movie admittedly played a role in promoting this place. Bukit Rhema, or Rhema Hill’s beauty was successfully captured in that movie. And indeed, during our visit, though it was cloudy at the time, the place definitely gives a meaningful vibe to it.

Gereja Ayam or the Chiken Church(?) gives more of the intriguing vibe as you enter the building and read all the history from how it was built. How So? Originally, this place was built for everyone who believes in the existence of God, as a place for them to do their prayers. And the plan was to build them into a Dove (the bird) shape – as a symbol of peace. But as time goes by and monetary issues hits, the development was paused though it was already made halfway, with the head and tail of a bird/chicken formed. Because of that, most people started calling this building Gereja Ayam (The Chicken Church).

The building itself is actually really huge. I can honestly say you can do a 500 invitees-wedding in that hall itself. You can climb up the stairs to the top of this building – just like in the movie – to get a beautiful 360 view around Magelang for about Rp 15,000 (USD 1.50) and of course, the great Borobudur Temple can be easily seen from up top. While you’re only allowed to stand there for a couple of minutes due to the weight limit, and queues from tourists, I personally think that it is enough to get it all in. I’d say the ticket price is worth it because you can definitely see the effort for their future development. Sunrise would be the best timing for the best view.

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Before you get there:

Definitely get comfy. Pair of sneakers is recommended because to reach the church hill you need to actually climb a steep slope. While there was a staircase made instead of just the slope, I am not kidding – it is hella tiring. I think you can opt for a jeep ride up but for a sum of money <- this I am not too sure.

But I’d say, experience the pain guys! XD