Sunday, September 15, 2013

Imogiri: The Royal Tombs

When I was in Central Java, I visited the Royal Graves at a place called Imogiri.  Usually it is closed but on Friday afternoon, between 1 to 4 pm, the inner gate is open.  To reach the place usually one has to ascend about 345 steps to reach the gate.  But I was prepared.  I went with my friend Jack from Solo and his driver in a car.  We were then led by a dalem on motorbike, he showed us the way to drive all the up the hill to the gate, so we don't have to sweat at all.  It was a smart move as previously my friend and I were so tired from the Gua Langse hike.
I was already in my Javanese costume which is consisted of barefoot (in the sacred ground), batik kain (length) of seadragon motif (from batik Masina Cirebon), lonthong polo (light blue waist band) locked by kamus modang benang emas (belt) with a timang (belt head), Surjan Peranakan of dark blue (javanese shirt), and a blangkon (hat).
My friend needed to change into the right costume, so did the dalem who was in a different surjan before.  Now all of us were in dark blue surjan lurik.
We were to visit the grave of the highest ruler of Yogyakarta, then finally entered the most sacred inner place.  It is the grave of Sultan Agung.  The opening to the inner grave is very small and made of wood.  Jack and I moved inside and the heat was constant and the air was still.  One oil lamp was burning along with lots of incense.  On the grave was scattered fresh flower petals of rose, jasmine and Ylang Ylang.  The fragrance was intoxicating.  You can go very close to pray or ask for advice from the dalem them if you speak javanese.  It was a mystical place to be.
Outside on the ground we took pictures and observed the beautiful old trees in flower and people collected the bark and leaves to make a tea with ginger, clove and spices. 

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