Yogyakarta holds a special place in the memory for many of us on the Hippie Trail through Asia in the Sixties and early Seventies. Whereas Bali and Kathmandu were far out, man, Yogya, or Jogya, as we called it, was a languid centre of artists, artisans, musicians and dancers. In fact, although I don’t think it can be described anymore as languid, it is still the centre of Javanese, and Indonesian, arts. So when we sought to celebrate our World’s creative centres in our apartments, we simply had to include our artistic neighbour, Yogyakarta.
Yogya is surrounded by volcanoes, the most active of which is Mount Merapi. Merapi has both been the source of the wealth and fertility of the Kewu Plain and the bane of the civilisations that nestled on its slopes. Successively Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim kingdoms have flourished and then been unsettled by the rattling and explosions from Merapi. The Hindus bequeathed Prambanan, the Buddhists Borobudur and the Muslims the Kraton, or Sultans Palace, that is still active in central Yogya today.
We have always enjoyed our travels to Yogya and its contrast of the old, the Kraton, and the young, all the Uni students attending the many Universities. Also, its conjunction of religion and culture – Hindu, Buddhist and, now, Islam- and it’s resulting diversity and tolerance. And we celebrate Yogya as the home of Batik, the Ramayana Ballet and Gamelan music. As well as the great vegetarian staple, tempeh.
Until the 22nd June 2014 the National Gallery of Australia will be featuring a stunning exhibition of photography on Indonesians and Indonesia from the 1850’s to the 1940’s. So why not stay in our Yogya apartment to compliment the unique experience of the NGA and this exhibition “Garden of the East”?