Sunday, January 15, 2012

Learn something about Sambisari Temple, Indonesia

This card specially produced to commemorate 250th years Yogyakarta (17560-2006)

Postcard from Yogyakarta: Durga Mahissasuramandini Statue - Sambisari Temple


After being buried under the earth for hundreds of years, the first slab of the stone was discovered in 1966. It took 21 years to excavate and construct hundreds of "puzzle" pieces of the stones before Sambisari temple finally stands firmly.
Mr. Karyowinangun did not have any hunch of what was going to happen on one early morning in 1966. When he was preparing the ground for cultivation with his hoe, he felt it bumping a big stone. When he checked it, he saw carvings on the stone. Karyowinangun and the local people wondered about the existence of the stone.
Knowing the discovery, the archeological department came to the site and defined Karyowinangun's field to be archeological site. The carved stone was supposed to be part of a temple that possibly was buried in the area. Excavation was then executed to find hundreds slabs of stone and ancient statues. It turned to be true that those stones were components of a temple.
Sambisari temple is predicted to be constructed between 812 - 838 AD, possibly under the government of Rakai Garung. The complex of the temple consists of 1 main temple and 3 supporting temples. There are 2 fences surrounding the temple complex, on the fences was totally reconstructed, while the other was only showed a little in the east side of the temple. Still function as borders, there are 8 stand phalluses distributed in each point of direction.

The main temple building is unique since it does not have shoe basement like other temples in Java. At the same time, the foot of the temple functions as the foundation to make the temple even on the ground. The foot part of the temple is left plain, without reliefs or decorations. Various elements most of them are of plants ornaments are found on the body to the outer part of the temple top. The ornaments look like batik motif.
Stepping up the stairs of the entrance of the temple, we will see an ornament of a dragon in the open mouth of makara (the magical animal in Hindu mythology). The figure of makara in Sambisari is an evolution of the makara form in India that can be in the form of a unification of elephant and fish or a crocodile and curved-tail fish.
Entering the primary compartment of the temple, we can see quite big phallus and yoni measuring at around 1.5 meters. Its existence shows that this temple was build as the place for worshipping Siva. The phallus and the yoni behind this temple were also used to make the holy water. Usually, the water is poured on the phallus and let flow toward the small ditch on the yoni, then it is accommodated in a container.The narrow verandah as wide as 1 meter will be found after passing through the last stair of the main temple entrance. Walking around it, you will see 3 cavities with one statue in each of them. In the north part, there is a statue of Durga (the wife of Siva) with 8 hands each of which is holding a weapon. Meanwhile, in the east side, there is Ganesha statue (son of Durga). In the southern side, there is Agastya statue withaksamala on his neck.

Exiting from the main temple to go westwards, we will be able to see the three supporting temples (perwara) standing in the opposite direction. There was a prediction that this perwara temple was intentionally constructed without roof because when excavation was done, no roof stones were discovered. The inner part of the central supporting temples (perwara) has a square saucer decorated with dragon ornament and a padmasana on it. Possibly, padmasana and the saucers were utilized as places for statues or offerings.
When we have been satisfied with enjoying the beauty of the temple, we may leave for the information room. Some photographs featuring the rice field owned by Mr. Karyowinangun before the excavation and the early condition of the temple at the early time of the discovery. There are also photographs of the excavation processes and the temple reconstruction that lasted for tens of years, including the photographs of other goods such as bronze statues found during the excavation that are kept in Building of Archeological Heritance Preservation.
The beauty of Sambisari temple that we can enjoy at present time is the result of hard works of the archeologists for 21 years. The temple that initially looked like a giant puzzle was reconstructed piece by piece for the continuation of one more heritance of the great culture in the past.
You can learn more about Yogyakarta here :)
You can learn more about Prambanan Temple here :)
You can learn more about Plaosan Temple here :)

Semoga hari anda menyenangkan!
Have a nice day in Bahasa Indonesia!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

learn something about Prambanan Temple, Indonesia

Postcard from Yogyakarta: Ramayana Relief in Prambanan Temple
This card specially produced to commemorate 250th years Yogyakarta (1756-2006)


Prambanan temple is extraordinarily beautiful building constructed in the 10th century during the reigns of two kings namely Rakai Pikatan and Rakai Balitung. Soaring up to 47 meters, the foundation of this temple has fulfilled the desire of the founder to show Hindu triumph in Java Island. This temple is located 17 kilometers from the city center, among an area that now functions as beautiful park.
There is a legend that Javanese people always tell about this temple. As the story tells, there was a man named Bandung Bondowoso who loved Roro Jonggrang. To refuse his love, Jonggrang asked Bondowoso to make her a temple with 1,000 statues only in one-night time. The request was nearly fulfilled when Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice and to set a fire in order to look like morning had broken. Feeling to be cheated, Bondowoso who only completed 999 statues cursed Jonggrang to be the thousandth statue.

Prambanan temple has three main temples in the primary yard, namely Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples. Those three temples are symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief. All of them face to the east. Each main temple has accompanying temple facing to the west, namely Nandini for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma, and Garuda for Vishnu. Besides, there are 2 flank temples, 4 kelir temples and 4 corner temples. In the second area, there are 224 temples.
Entering Shiva temple, the highest temple and is located in the middle, you will find four rooms. One main room contains Shiva statue, while the other three rooms contain the statues of Durga (Shiva's wife), Agastya (Shiva's teacher), and Ganesha (Shiva's son). Durga statue is said to be the statue of Roro Jonggrang in the above legend.
In Vishnu temple, to the north of Shiva temple, you will find only one room with Vishnu statue in it. In Brahma temple, to the south of Shiva temple, you find only room as well with Brahma statue in it.
Quite attractive accompanying temple is Garuda temple that is located close to Vishnu temple. This temple keeps a story of half-bird human being named Garuda. Garuda is a mystical bird in Hindu mythology. The figure is of golden body, white face, red wings, with the beak and wings similar to eagle's. It is assumed that the figure is Hindu adaptation of Bennu (means 'rises' or 'shines') that is associated with the god of the Sun or Re in Old Egypt mythology or Phoenix in Old Greek mythology. Garuda succeeded in saving his mother from the curse of Aruna (Garuda's handicapped brother) by stealing Tirta Amerta (the sacred water of the gods).
Its ability to save her mother made many people admire it to the present time and it is used for various purposes. Indonesia uses the bird as the symbol of the country. Other country using the same symbol is Thailand, with the same reason but different form adaptation and appearance. In Thailand, Garuda is known as Krut or Pha Krut.
Prambanan also has panels of relief describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally from generation to generation. Another interesting relief is Kalpataru tree that - in Hindu - the tree is considered tree of life, eternity and environment harmony. In Prambanan, relief of Kalpataru tree is described as flanking a lion. The presence of this tree makes experts consider that Javanese society in the ninth century had wisdom to manage its environment.
Just like Garuda, Kalpataru tree is also used for various purposes. In Indonesia, Kalpataru is used as the logo of Indonesian Environment Institution. Some intellectuals in Bali even develop "Tri Hita Karana" concept for environment conservation by seeing Kalpataru relief in this temple. This tree of life is also seen in the gunungan (the puppet used as an opening of traditional puppet show or wayang kulit). This proves that relief panels in Prambanan have been widely known throughout the world.
If you see the relief in detail, you will see many birds on them; they are real birds as we can see on the earth right now. Relief panels of such birds are so natural that biologists can identify their genus. One of them is the relief of the Yellow-Crest Parrot (Cacatua sulphurea) that cites unanswered question. The reason is that the bird only exists in Masakambing Island, an island in the middle of Java Sea. Then, did the bird exist in Yogyakarta? No body has succeeded in revealing the mystery.
You can discover many more things in Prambanan. You can see relief of Wiracarita Ramayana based on oral tradition. If you feel tired of enjoying the relief, you can take a rest in the beautiful garden in the complex. Since 18 September 2006, you can enter zone 1 area of Prambanan temple. The damage caused by the earthquake on 27 May 2006 is being reconstructed. Please come and enjoy Prambanan temple.
You can learn more about Yogyakarta here :)
You can learn more about Plaosan Temple here :)
Semoga hari anda menyenangkan!
Have a nice day in Bahasa Indonesia!

Learn something about Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Postcard from Yogyakarta: Sonobudoyo National Museum
This card specially produced to commemorate 250th years Yogyakarta (1756-2006)


In Yogyakarta, north of Alun-Alun Lor, there's a place where you can read about Indonesian history, 43.000 items are collected in that place (but all items aren't display yet), a long history of human who live in Java Island displayed there. Its Museum Sonobudoyo, built in 1931 by Sultan Hamengku Buwono VIII, Ir. Th. Karsten, P.H.W. Sitsen and Koperberg. The museum was opened to public in 1935 named as Java instituut. At the front gate, you can see the plaque of ceremonial written in Netherland.

One kind wonderful collection that you may not miss is Keris, an ancient sacred weapon. It used to weapon, but now on being statue or collection. Sonobudoyo Museum has thousands of Keris. Some my friends said that the cheapes keris reach 2-3 billions rupiahs, so you can figure out how much the collection are cost. The oldest keris is made in Hinduism Mataram era, perhaps 700Masehi, named as Wesi Budha.

Biological collection is displayed on the middle of the museum, contained human bones, animals and plants, all are exhibited as their original. One last room is displayed Wayang, puppet shadow play. If you guess wayang is come from Java culture, you will see wayang in another figure came from Sunda, Madura, Kediri, China, etc. Sometimes, a political situation pushes out creativity of the wayang's artist such as colonial wayang and revolution wayang, both were created in colonial and war area.

At the yard, you can see some ancient sculpture and weapons. The heritage is lined up behind the Balinese style wall. A replica of litte pura, hindunese house of worship, is set up at the backyard. its quite and peaceful there. You can sit while reflection how the civilization has been built for thousands years in the region called Java.

You can learn more about Yogyakarta here :)

Semoga hari anda menyenangkan!
Have a nice day in Bahasa Indonesia!

learn something about Niagara Falls

Postcard from Canada: Niagara Falls


Where is the Niagara Falls?

Collectively they are called "Niagara Falls".

Categorized by these three names:
American Falls (between Prospect Point and Luna Island) far left.
Bridal Veil Falls (between Luna Island and Goat Island) mid left,
Canadian Falls (between Goat Island and Table Rock) right.

Canadian "Horseshoe" Falls
Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall (vertical height along with flow rate).

The features that became Niagara Falls were created by the Wisconsin glaciation about 10.000 years ago. The same forces also created the North American Great Lakes and the Niagara River. All were dug by a continental ice sheet that drove through the are, deepening some river channels to form lakes, and damming others with debris. Scientists argue that there is an old valley, burried by glacial drift, at the approximate location of the present Welland Canal.

When the ice melted, the upper Great Lakes emptied into the Niagara river, which followed the rearranged topography across the Niagara Escarpment. In time, the river cut a gorge through the north facing cliff or cuesta. Because of the interactions of three major rock formations, the rocky bed didnt erode evenly. The top rock formation was composed of erosion-resistant limestone and Lockport dolostone. That hard layer of stone eroded more slowly than the underlying materials. The aeroal photo on the right cflearly shows the hard caprock, the Lockport Formation (Middle Silurian), which underlies the rapids above the falls, and approximately the upper third of the high gorge wall.

Immediately below the hard-rock formation, comprising about two thirds of the cliff, lay the weaker,softer,sloping Rochester formation (Lower Silurian). This formation was composed mainly of shale, though it has some thin limestone layers. It also contains ancient fossils. In time, the river eroded the soft layer that supported the hard layers, undercutting the hard caprockwhich gave way in great chunks. This process repeated countless times, eventually carving out the falls.

Submerged in the river in the lower valley, hidden from view, is the Queenston formation (upper ordovician), which is composed of shales and fine sandstone. all three formation were laid down in an ancient sea, their differences of character deriving from changing conditions within that sea.

Niagara Falls is not listed as UNESCO World Heritage - despite attracting more than 17million visitors annually. The Niagara Escarpment, however, is a UNESCO biosphere reserve - partly because it straddles the border of two countries (Canada has nominated it but the US hasnt).

You can learn more about Canada here :)

Have a nice day!

learn something about Plaosan Temple, Indonesia

Postcard from Yogyakarta: Plaosan Temple
This card specially produced to commemorate
the two and a half centuries Yogyakarta (1756-2006)


Yogyakarta (often also called Jogja or Yogya) is located in the middle of Java Island - Indonesia. Known as where everything is cheap. Its enough with $20 perday, you are able to stay over, eat famous authentic delicious food, and rent a motorbike to explore the pure beaches and thousand of years old ancient temples.

A thousand years ago, Yogyakarta was the center of ancient Mataram Kingdom which was properous and high civilized. This kingdom built Borobudur Temple which was the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, 300years before Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Some other relics are Prambanan temple, Ratu Boko Palace, and dozens of the templess scattered throughout Yogyakarta.

However, by some mysterious reason, Ancient Mataram Kingdom moved its central government to East Java in the 10th century. The magnificent temples were abandaned and partially burried by the eruption material of Merapi Volcano. Slowly, Yogyakarta region went back into the dense forest.

Six hundred years later, Panembahan Senopati established the Islamic Mataram Kingdom in the region. Once again, Yogyakarta became the witness of human history of a great Kingdom that ruled Java Island and its surrounding area. Islamic Mataram Kingdom was leaving a trail of ruins of fortress and royal tombs in Kotagede, which recently is known as silver handicraft center in Yogyakarta.

Candi Plaosan or Plaosan Temple, also known as the "Plaosan Complex" is one of the Buddhist temples located in Bugisan village, Prambanan district, central Java, Indonesia. Candi Plaosan covers an area 2000 square meters with an elevation of 148meters above sea level. Candi Plaosan is surrounded by paddy field along with vegetation such as banana and corn.

Candi Plaosan was built in the mid 9th century by Sri Kahulunnan or Pramodhawardhani, the daughter of Samaratungga, descendent of Sailendra Dynasty, and who was married to Rakai Pikatan in Hindhu tradition.

The Plaosan complex is an ensemble of two Buddhist temples, Plaosan Lor (North Plaosan) and Plaosan Kidul (South Plaosan). The temples are separated by a road. Plaosan Lor consists of two main temples and an open area known as a Mandapa. Both temples have an entrance, a gate, and the guardian statue known as Dwarpala. Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul are considered to originally be one complex.

Picture on the left: Dwarpala

Semoga hari anda menyenangkan!
(Have a nice day in Bahasa Indonesia!)

Learn something about Christmas in Finland

Christmas card from Finland.

(Hello in Finnish!)

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in Finland, and Christmas celebrations in Finland are build around ancient Nordic Christmas traditions. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day, known in Finland as St. Stephen's Day, are all public holidays in Finland.

Finnish people believe that Santa Claus or Father Christmas lives in north part of Finland called Korvatunturi (or Lapland), north of the Arctic circle.

How do they celebrate Christmas in Finland?

Everyone cleans their houses ready for the three holy days of Christmas. Animals are given their own Christmas, with farmers sometimes hanging a sheaf of wheat on a tree to be eaten and pecked at by the birds. Nuts and pieces of suet are also hung on trees in bags from the branches.

The first Sunday in December (also called the First Advent) starts the Finnish Christmas season. Many children use advent calendars that count down the remaining days to Christmas Eve.

December 13 is the day of Saint Lucia, who is celebrated with lots of candles and formal celebrations in every town with a candle-crowned young girl. The time for Scandinavian Christmas tree shopping and decorating is coming and Christmas cards are being exchanged.

Everyone tries to be at home for Christmas, including fisherman who try to get their boats into the harbour by December 21st, St.Thomas's Day.

Christmas Eve is very special, when people eat rice porridge and plum fruit juice in the morning. They will then decorate a spruce tree in the home. At midday, the "peace of Christmas" is broadcast on radio and TV by the City Mayor of Turku (which is south Finland). Then they visit Finnish sauna, of course. Visiting the cemetery forms part of many Finns' Christmas rituals. Hey, its not as morbid as it might sound!

Between 5-7pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner is served. Families and friends gather together to share the warm, festive atmosphere of the evening and enjoy the various traditional Christmas dishes. Oven-baked ham, root vegetable casserole, mixed beetroot salad, liver casserole and pates, meat aspics, gravlax or Christmas Eve and herring dishes form the basis of the traditional Finnish Christmas dinner.

The three most essential dishes on Finnish Christmas tables are Oven-baked ham, rutabaga casserole and mixed beetroot salad. without the taste of the traditional dishes, there would be something missing in Finnish Christmas celebration.

In picture on right, clockwise from top right: slices of baked ham, rutabaga casserole, beetroot salad, homemade mustard, sweet pea sauce.

Christmas in Finland officially ends 13days after Chrismas Day.

Christmas gifts may be given out before or after the dinner. The children do not hang up stockings, but Santa Claus comes in person, often accompanied by as many as half a dozen Christmas elves to distribute the presents.

And last but not least, dont forget that "Merry Christmas" in Finnish is 'Hyvää Joulua'!

You can learn more about Finland here :)

You will find recipes for some of the dishes mentioned above in here :)

Hauskaa päivän jatkoa!
(Have a nice day!)

learn something about Siracusa, Italy

Postcard from Siracusa:
Piazza Duomo e il Duomo - Cathedral Square and Cathedral


Sicily is a rugged and attractive island on the southern tip of Italy. Provinces: Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Syracuse and Trapani. Cities: Catania, Gela, Marsala and Ragusa.

Postcard from Sicilia

Siracusa or Syracuse is a medium sized city in Sicily, Italy and the capital of the province of Syracuse, Italy. it was once described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all".

Syracuse is an ancient town on the sea, which was of great importance as Greek Syracuse. it has a well known archaeological zone and a historic centre on the island of Ortygia.

Where to go?

Cathedral: The Duomo: The cathedral in Siracusa was built in Ortigia on top of the remains of a Doric temple that dated back to the 5th century B.C. The building contains influences from various cultures within its wall: Greek, Byzantine, Arabic and Norman. the main facade was rebuilt in Baroque style after the eartquake in 1693.

Postcard from Siracusa: Duomo - Cathedral

Greek Theatre: Teatro Greco: Built in c. 470 B.C. its the largest in Sicily and is still one of the main hubs of cultural life in Siracusa. but since then has gone through reconstruction. Greek drama is now re-enacted there, but in the italian language.

Postcard from Siracusa: Teatro Greco - Greek Theatre

Aretusa Fountain: This is one of the city's greatest tourist attractions. over th centuries it inspired poets and writers, fascinated by the legend that is linked to this place. the story goes that Alpheus, son of Oceanus, fell madly in love with the nymph Aretusa, the Goddess Artemides' handmaid. the nymph didnt share his feeling. to save her, Artemides turned her into a water source but Zeus also turned Alpheus into a river, allowing him to meet up with Aretusa.

Postcard from Siracusa: La Fontana Aretusa - Fountain Aretusa

Buona giornata!
Have a nice day!