Because Loji Gandrung was once used by Colonel Gatot Subroto as the commado centre in facing Operatie Kraai which was launched by Dutch in December 1948. That was a reason which I would find later why a statue chosen to be placed in front of Loji Gandrung was General Gatoto Subroto Statue.
Now we would talk about other topic….
In the past….
Before Manahan Stadium was built by Cendana Family*1 through Ibu Tien Soeharto Foundation in 1998. Solo City had a small but legendary football stadium. The stadium which had given birth to a professional football club that had made history in Indonesian football, namely Arseto Solo FC. The stadium itself was called Sriwedari Stadium. This naming itself was of course related to its location in Sriwedari area.
That night, of course, I had no intention of visiting Sriwedari Stadium after visiting Loji Gandrung to seek information. But you just needed to know that on east side of this legendary stadium, there was a cultural park which was famous in Wayang Orang Art*2 performance. This cultural park was known as Sriwedari Park.
Fifteen minutes past nine o’clock in evening, exiting Loji Gandrung gate, I continued my survey trip to east for half a kilometer. Along south side of Slamet Riyadi Street, I stepped into night crowd. Until I arrived at a name board entitled “I Love Solo” which was located in a small park under a large tree, right in the middle of a wide sidewalk. This was a sign that my step had reached in the destination.
I was greeted by a magnificent gate with a “Buto*3” mask on it then followed by a welcome greeting by a golden statues of Gatotkaca and Pregiwa*4 in courtyard. From there alone, Javanese cultural aura smelled very strongly. Meanwhile, a large pavilion filled one side of park.
From the information which I read on an event calendar at one point. Exactly two months before my visitation, this place has held an annual performance in Wayang Orang Art preservation effort, i.e 7th Wayang Bocah Festival. It seemed that Solo was very active in preserving culture. Having cultural events from an early age to providing cultural venues such as Sriwedari Park was a real proof.
At back-east of pavilion stands Gedung Kesenian Solo. While on the right side, there were several neat project boards which surround THR (Taman Hiburan Rakyat) Sriwedari. I received information that this park had been closed and would be replaced by Taman Sriwedari Mosque. THR Sriwedari itself was one of legends of an amusement park at Solo city centre on the past. Previously, this area was known as Bon Rojo (Kebon Rojo/King’s Garden) in Paku Buwono X era.
Meanwhile, to back-west of pavilion was Gedung Wayang Orang Sriwedari. This building had played an important role in Wayang Orang Art preservation which had been functioning for nearly a century.
Sriwedari Park was a place which worth visiting if there was a cultural event during Marketing Conference. However, if there was no, there was very little chance of visiting it.
Cendana Family*1 is Second President of Republic of Indonesia’s family.
Wayang Orang Art*2 is a type of classical Javanese dance theatrical performance with themes taken from episodes of the Ramayana or Mahabharata.
Buto*3 is another term for evil giant
Gatotkaca and Pregiwa*4. Gatotkacais a character in Mahabharata epic, he is a son of Bima. Pregiwa is Gatotkaca’s wife.