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Yogyakarta

3.4 /5

Weather:

Best Time: July - October Read More

Ideal duration: 3-4 days

Nearest Airport: Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport. Check Flights

"The treasure chest of Indonesia."

Yogyakarta Tourism

Located in Central Java, Yogyakarta, or Jogjakarta, is one of Indonesia’s most important cultural, intellectual, and literary hubs, and is the beating heart of Indonesian tradition. A short flight away from the capital Jakarta, Jogja or Yogya, as it is often abbreviated to, is easily accessible from other major tourist destinations around the region such as Bali or Singapore. Bounded by the Indian Ocean to its south, and the fiery active volcano Mount Merapi to the north, Yogyakarta is also home to Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple compound, Prambanan. Its close proximity to the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, also underscores its nature as a multicultural mecca, as Jogja is a predominantly Muslim community.

Formed in the 8th century as the capital of the Medang Kingdom, Jogja evolved into the locus of Indonesia’s rich and diverse heritage and became emblematic of the country’s multicultural values and modernity. Yogyakarta was instrumental in Indonesia’s independence struggle and became the epicentre for revolutionary thought against Dutch colonialism. As a result, the city was granted special status to still be ruled by a monarchy in light of its contribution to the independence struggle. 

Indonesia is known for its wide variety of culinary delicacies and nowhere is this more apparent than in Yogyakarta. Small kiosks selling street food cram into every nook and cranny, selling all sorts of mouth-watering sweet and savoury Javanese delights and is sure to delight any foodie that comes to Jogja.

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History

  • What Yogyakarta is today is a result of a series of chronological events dating back to 8th century CE. This city has always put a brave front surviving the brunt of foreign invasions, family strife and a colonial rule which ultimately resulted in the formation of the Republic Of Indonesia.
  • This area was formerly recognised as Mataram - the capital city of Medang located in the central region of Java with traces of Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • Around the 1580s, Kotagede was declared the capital of Mataram during which it reached pinnacles of success, victories, prosperity, acquiring power and influence spanning across Java as the most influential kingdom under Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo.
  • During the 1740s, a civil war broke out in the Sultanate between Pakubuwono ll and his younger brother Prince Mangkubumi. Pakubuwono had joined hands with the Dutch and handed over some of the lands to them. This agreement was considered oppressive and against the common man by Mangkubumi.
  • He defeated Pakubuwono in war and established the Sultanate of Yogyakarta following which the latter expired.
  • Treaty of Giyanti was signed between the Dutch East India Company, Pakubuwono lll and Mangkubumi leading to the formation of Yogyakarta.

Food

Yogyakarta is abundant in food and local delicacies that reflect a mix of its Javanese tradition and colonial past. 
  • You can enjoy a cauldron full of chicken noodles served with peanut sauce and Bok Choy at Mie Ayam Bu Tumini. 
  • The Bakso is a broth made from bone marrow. This is not only soul-satisfying but also has high medicinal value.
  • Try the Wedang Ronde Mbah Payem, these are sweet rice balls with a filling of peanuts served in hot ginger flavour syrup beautifully garnished with peanuts and roses. 
  • A street stall in Jogja serves avocado dessert - Es Buah Pk with shaved ice atop a secret sauce. A perfect way to beat the heat in a healthy way that too without burning a hole in the pocket.
  • Gudeg Pawon is the holy grail of the traditional Jogja cuisine. This jackfruit dish is a labour of love that is stewed for hours in garlic and coriander.
  • Try Kupat Gule Bang Doel which is a king size meal including broth, hard boiled eggs, chicken or beef and some toppings for garnish. -
  • You can also try Kue Leker Pak Yo which are roadside crepes with delectable toppings and an Indonesian twist.
You can’t come to the heart of Java and not have coffee! Here, coffee comes with a twist. A burning piece of charcoal is added to it to remove the acidity of coffee. This doesn’t change the taste of the coffee.
All in all, Javanese food is quite sweet. Savoury is usually in a broth with eggs and other proteins. You don’t need to look for restaurants as the street food is simply outstanding. 

Culture

Yogyakarta is culturally rich with mesmerising architecture that is reflected in Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Its culture is not only limited to structures and scriptures but also extends to performing arts, visual arts, crafts, literature, recreation, food, cinema, celebrations and religion too.
  • Dance forms of Yogyakarta reflect traces of various ethnicities from India, China and the Middle East. These dances are a splendid depiction of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • When it comes to drama, the most prominent forms are Randai and Bangsawan. These include songs, dances, puppetry and martial arts while depicting the episode.
  • Pencak Silat is the martial art form of Java and Sumatra. This art form has lost its importance and prominence over time because of media and the fact that Silat was taught privately to blood relations only thereby limiting its scope and spread losing its status to foreign martial arts forms like Karate and Taekwondo.
  • Paintings have evolved with time in Jogja. From mere decorative items and romanticism to drawing inspirations from wars, heroes the art has incorporated abstract expressions and Islamic traditions too.

Deeply rooted in culture, it is one of the most flourishing sectors in the economy. Jogja is known for its batik, ikat and songket cloth. Jepara wood carving and Kris are also well known. Kris is recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

Shopping

While you might find malls here in Yogyakarta, it is better to shop local!

Shopping in Jogja
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  • Take Batik prints home along with traditionally woven baskets, pots and other decoration items.
  • Malioboro street is the ultimate stop for shopping. Here you can go souvenir shopping and also eat from restaurants on the go!
  • Pasar Beringharjo is a perfect place from where you can buy items for your loved ones that are reflective of Jogja’s culture and history. You will mostly find spices, prints and paintings here like oil painting, fine arts etc.
  • Kota Gede or Sara Gede is a must if you want to pick some silverware.
  • If your pocket allows, buy Jogja Silver which is their traditional silver work.

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Yogyakarta is rich in local art and culture, history, rich ecology, food, nightlife and lots of shopping. If you are the sort who loves to collect traditional cultural items from different parts of the world, try variations in cuisine, wander in forests and study history - Jogja is the place for you.

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