Backpacking to Magelang….Enjoying “Lima Gunung” Festival.

Magelang….a small town in Central Java Province, Indonesia which since Dutch colonial era was known as armed forces producer. But my arrival here was unrelated to military even though two members of my family were soldiers from Magelang barracks.

This time I had a opportunity to climb to east slope of Merapi mountain for enjoying the beauty of “Tutup Ngisor” village. A village where is famous for its efforts to preserve dance culture through a Padepokan Seni “Tjipta Boedaja” (in english: “Tjipta Boedaja” dance gallery) which was founded in 1937 ago.

And a main reason for my arrival there was the 18th “Lima Gunung” Festival (FLG XVIII). The festival which is able to attract my interest to heading there amid my dense work activities in capital city.

The festival is named “Lima Gunung” (in english: Five Mountains)…. Referring to five mountain names located around Magelang district i.e Merapi, Merbabu, Menoreh, Sumbing and Andong.


My journey to Magelang used a legendary bus service which had triumphed in year 1990-2000, namely PO Santoso. Old and “voiced” bus slowly but surely drove and dropped me to Magelang on cold Saturday morning (6/7/19).

The warmth of long black coffee in a cold morning disrupted my eyes to close and required me to accompany my morning until dawn coming.

A shadow of festival’s majesty continued to disrupt my concentration that morning. And after the dawn came, a brother-in-law’s white hatchback began to split green rice fields towards festival.

I have to be willing to lag one session, because this event has been started since Friday (7/7/19) afternoon. A road to Tutup Ngisor village that has been closed for several types of public transportation indicates that this festival will be attended by many visitors, and finally I had to park the car a little far from village gate.

A few steps later I arrived.

Java eagle as stage background. This bird is believed to give a sign when Merapi volcano will erupt.

My Whatsapp continued to actively reply some messages to find someone who had an important role in my presence at this festival. Our friendship in blogging world started since a year ago and finally we met here.

He is Yokhanan who give a big contribution in my arrival at festival this time. Finally, we can meet in an event after we each other just contact in blogging world for a long time….Thanks, “Brother” Yo.


In addition to local performers, the festival was also enlivened by performers from other countries. Likewise with visitors….international visitors were also coming….It was cool.

Kaori Okado from Japan performed “Gambir Anom” dance. She is a good Japanese dancer.
Well, this photo is deliberately displayed, it’s nothing…I just interest to see Putri who was very exotic….hahaha, it’s heard naughty.

FLG XVIII presented 79 performers, all performances were presented in 3 days duration (5-7th July 2019) with 20 minutes show time for each performance. Really massive agenda, visitors were required to be smart to choose performance which they wanted to see within timeframe which was prepared by committee.

“Barong Gunung” dance from Sanggar Rangkul Dulur (Lumajang, East Java Province)

This 18-year-old festival was also independently organized by “Lima Gunung” Community without sponsors. This is based on a commitment that community is trying to maintain art purity so willn’t be contaminated by commercial businesses.

“Gedruk Pangekes” dance from Sanggar Gaboet Wasesa (Magelang, Central Java province).

Carrying a theme of “Gunung Lumbung Budaya” (in english: “Mountain is Source of Culture”), shows that villages are main enclave of cultural guards amid swift influences of modernization. Villages are expected to be the guardian of diverse cultural originality which dance is one of them.

“Uni Ing Geprak” dance from Gramang Art Community (Special Province of Yogyakarta).

“Lima Gunung” festival is usually held close to Dieng Culture Festival. So these two events can be visited alternately if you want to feel how lively art parties in Java land.

“Subali Senopatya” dance by Culture Board of Bantul (Special Province of Yogyakarta).

FLG XVIII committee was organized on by millennials, this was very visible from many young faces of committee members, event concept was neatly arranged and brought an interesting theme. Stage design also looked very modern when night. Light shot towards stage wasn’t inferior to many performances in capital city.

“Brahmarupa” dance in collaboration with Kemlaka Sound of Archipelago and Pesona Nusantara Surakarta (Central Java Province).

FLG XVIII slipped a session i.e Culture Carnival of “Lima Gunung” Community around “Tutup Ngisor” village on third day of festival.

Culture Carnival of “Lima Gunung” Community preparation.


There are several other things that can be found during FLG XVIII. Visitors could enjoy it as an added bonus for their presence in “Tutup Ngisor” village.

Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja (“Tjipta Boedaja” Dance Gallery).

Almost all Tjipta Boedjaja’s art activities are did out in this gallery.

Gallery is often used for Wayang Menak show by villagers.

The Tomb of Roso Yoso Soedarmo.

Roso Yoso Soedarmo is a central figure in art development at “Tutup Ngisor” village. Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja was born as his initiation. Because of his pioneering work in art, “Tutup Ngisor” village has consistently produced artistic talents until now.

This is the tomb.

“Lumbung Karya” Art Exhibition

This art exhibition displayed various artworks in form of paintings, sculptures, dance costumes and masks.

Father and his son also took pictures in exhibition gallery.
It was good right….masks felt alive.
He was carving something in wood.

“Mangunsuko” Suspension Bridge.

During festival, MC always reminded visitors fo didn’t miss a view from Jokowi Bridge (the famous name of Mangunsuko Suspension Bridge). Hearing this repetitive emphasis, made me curious. And on my first day of arrival at “Tutup Ngisor” village, I immediately visited this bridge.

Like a suspension bridge in general….sway if we step on it….hahaha.
Enchanting mini waterfall.
Beware, don’t eat there… can be bitten by a tiger.

Transit House

Transit house is a term for a resident’s home which was voluntarily and unpaid used to stay for festival visitors. Strong spirit of mutual cooperation, making every village residents is very compact in competing to provide transit house during FLG XVIII.

Complete combination, visitors can also stay in tents in front of transit house.


During my visitation in FLG XVIII, there were two culinary which have left an impression until today.

Nasi Lesah (“Lesah” Rice) is an Magelang’s original rice with a mixture of vegetable sprouts, vermicelli, sliced tofu, small pieces of beef, fried onions and celery. Then it was poured with soup of hot coconut milk…..ulala.

Eating Nasi Lesah for first time.

Wine Coffee….For me who is a beginner coffee fan, finding wine coffee was something special. “Kopi Tanpa Nama” Coffee Shop which was located near stage, provided a “Sindoro Wine Coffee” menu with a very pleasant wine aroma.

Wine coffee can also be called fermented coffee or coffee which undergoes 30 days fermentation process before it is roasted.

So … Want to go to “Lima Gunung” Festival in 2020?….Let’s go with me.

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