Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with more than 250.000.000 people --- There are 316 ethnic groups which speak 670 dialects in Indonesia --- There are 17.508 islands in Indonesia, which is the largest Archipelago in the world and only 6.000 of them have a name with only 1.000 are inhabited --- If you could spend only 1 day on each island of Indonesia, you would need 48 years to see all of them? (Transportation between islands not counted) --- Indonesia has the longest coastline in the world, with 100.000 kms long --- Indonesia is probably the last country in the world, which has still unexplored territories, and is not completly mapped? (specially around Irian Jaya) --- There are about 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, and 150 out of them are active, which represents 75% of all active volcano on the planet

12.1.09

Travelling to Jakarta - Jakarta Wonder No. 8

Monas: Jakarta in 360 Degrees
Text and Photos by Teguh Sudarisman


The National Monument, or Monas, is a kind of irony for Jakarta residents. It's located in a luxuriant 90-hectare park smack in the middle of Jakarta, and every day thousands of people pass by it, but just ask them how many of them have ever been up it? For that matter, if you asked where and how people can enter the monument, even more people wouldn't know. (Clue: First find the statue of Prince Diponegoro riding a horse.)

The only "saviors" of Monas, then, are the local schoolchildren who are brought here in hordes for Social Studies assignments, and schoolchildren from out of town who come on study tours after finishing their yearly exams. It was like that one recent morning; it was a working day, but surprisingly, to take the elevator to the top of Monas, I had quite a long wait, queuing behind a third grade class from Depok.

Construction began on 17 August 1961 on the orders of Indonesia's first President, Ir. Soekarno. Monas was actually finished in 1967, but only opened to the public in 1975. The 132-meter plinth has a giant "flame" on the top that symbolizes the Indonesian people's spirit of struggle; it's made of 14.5 tons of bronze, plated with 50 kilograms of gold.


The design of Monas represents the lingga and yoni, the combination of masculine and feminine elements in Hindu-Javanese symbolism, though it is frequently euphemized as being a mortar and pestle (the tools for pounding rice). Pay Rp 8000 for a ticket, and you can enter the yoni section and take the (one and only) lift up to the observation tower at the top, just under the golden flame.

In the yoni section is the Independence Room, an amphitheater where you can hear a recording of Ir. Soekarno reading the independence proclamation. Below it is the National History Museum, a big, cool space, with dioramas on all four sides portraying the journey of the Indonesian nation from prehistoric times to after independence.

The observation area offers a full view of Jakarta in all directions, with telescopes available for use in each corner. When the weather is clear, you can see the Java Sea to the north and Mount Salak far off in the south.

There are two unfortunate aspects: First, for some reason, the observation section of the tower is fenced in with steel grills, which makes it difficult to take decent photos, or even to see if you're short. It might be better if they replaced these gratings with heavy glass. And second, where's the gold?

From the lookout post, you can't see the gold, which is just above your head – except, if you're lucky, you might be able to see and even touch the gold through the door on the east, which is usually kept locked. It's only opened when someone comes to clean the flame, and there's no fixed schedule for that.

So though it's far from perfect, when you come down from the tower and start exploring the huge park, you realize that this is a great place to go jogging, or to bring your family for a stroll in the morning or late afternoon.

1 Komentar:

sheshel said...

Monas is very beautiful at night...
I Love it...

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