Inspirasi Menulis dari Tribhuvan International Airport.

Waktu begitu cepat. Sore kemarin aku masih mengeksplore area Basantapur. Tetapi kini sudah pukul empat pagi. Aku sudah saja mengguyur diri di bawah hangatnya shower Shangrila Butique Hotel. Setelah memastikan tak ada barang yang tertinggal, aku segera menuju resepsionis untuk check-out dan selangkah kemudian aku sudah turun di jalanan Thamel. Gelap, kosong dan penuh kekhawatiran.

Aku terus menyusuri jalanan dan berharap segera menemukan taksi, sementara dari arah belakang yang gelap terdengar suara derap langkah beberapa orang diiringi nyanyian Nepal yang membuat jantungku berdegup lebih kencang.  Kuberanikan diri menoleh ke belakang, lima pemuda tanggung melangkah cepat menyusulku. Sepertinya aku tak bisa lebih cepat lagi karena backpack membebaniku di punggung. Aku seakan pasrah jika terjadi sesuatu saat mereka benar-banar telah menyusulku.

Plakk”, tangan salah satu dari mereka menepuk pundak kananku kencang. “Ah, alamat”, batinku cepat merespon.

Good morning, Brother. Are you happy in Nepal?”, dia berucap sambil mengiringi langkahku yang terlanjur melambat ketakutan.

Hi….Yeaaa, nice country”, aku berkata lebih keras dari biasanya untuk menunjukkan keberanian saja.

Good….Be careful, bro”, dia melewatiku dengan cepat sementara keempat teman lainnya menatapku dengan senyum ringan dan serempak berucap “Hi”.

Oh, Tuhan terimakasih engkau masih mengirimkan orang-orang baik untuk menyapaku di gelapnya pagi.

Sampai pada sebuah perempatan, tampak deretan taksi mengantri untuk mengangkut penumpang. Taksi terdepan memancarkan lampu tembak ke arahku dan aku mengangkat tangan sebagai jawaban bahwa aku akan menggunakan jasanya.

Airport, Sir….How much?”, aku bertanya singkat.

Seven hundreds Rupee”, jawabnya sambil meraih backpackku yang menutup niatku untuk menawar.

“Ok”, tak ada jawaban lain yang bisa kulontarkan.

Taksi dengan cepat melaju kencang tanpa penghalang di Pashupati Road yang tentu masih senyap. Tak sampai 20 menit, taksi perlahan merapat ke Tribhuvan International Airport.

Pukul setengah enam pagi, airport masih tutup dan senyap.

Tak banyak yang bisa kulakukan, aku hanya menunggu di meja milik polisi bandara yang tampak kosong sambil terus menatap international gate dan berharap pintu itu segera dibuka karena udara sangat dingin diluar.

Perlahan penumpang berdatangan.

Orang Indonesia, mas?”, celetukan itu berasal dari arah belakang.  Aku menoleh ke kiri dan ke kanan, tak ada siapapun di sampingku. Suara itu jelas menanyakanku. Aku menoleh kebelakang dan terlihat seorang perempuan berusia 30 an tersenyum ke arahku.

Loh, kok ibu tahu saya dari Indonesia?”, sahutku membalas senyumnya.

Itu mas”, Si ibu menunjuk salah satu kantong backpack yang tak tertutup sempurna dan sedikit menyingkap bendera merah putih yang sempat kukenakan  empat hari lalu di Sarangkot.

Alhasil kami saling bercakap sembari menunggu gate dibuka. Ternyata beliau ini adalah lulusan kampus ternama di Indonesia dan pekerja senior pada perusahaan eksplorasi minyak di Bangladesh. Setelah berwisata ke Nepal, dia akan kembali ke tanah air melalui New Delhi.

Sepesawat denganku ke New Delhi, dia bersambung terbang bersama Singapore Airlines yang transit di Singapura. Sementara aku akan mengeksplorasi New Delhi dan Agra terlebih dahulu.

Gate sudah dibuka, aku segera menuju konter check-in. Sedikit agak lama berproses, aku menguping bisikan antar mereka dan terucap kata internet connection.  Pantas proses online check-in ku gagal semalam.

Pertama kali terbang bersama Jet Airways.

Kemudian di deret lain konter imigrasi, kulihat Si Ibu berbincang hangat dengan petugas imigrasi. Bahasa Inggrisnya sangat fasih. Dia sempat menjelaskan kepadaku di waiting room bahwa petugas imigrasi di Asia cenderung lebih luwes daripada petugas di Eropa dan Amerika. Tentu aku mengamini itu.

Waiting Room Tribhuvan International Airport.
Si ibu mentraktirku secangkir chiya hingga pesawat tiba.

Boleh dibilang, Si Ibu yang tak mau disebutkan namanya inilah yang menginspirasiku untuk menulis dan membagikan setiap pengalaman perjalanan yang kulakukan sehingga bisa mensupport setiap traveler dengan informasi. Si Ibu sendiri tak pernah kesampaian menulis karena kesibukannya yang teramat sangat, padahal dia memiliki kisah-kisah yang luar biasa. Salah satunya ketika dia bisa selamat dari badai gurun yang menghantamnya di Kuwait.

Jet Airways bernomor terbang 9W 0263 telah siap. Aku keluar dari waiting room menuju parking lot. Ada satu keunikan yang tak pernah kualami sebelumnya, yaitu ketika ada pemerikasaan cabin baggage setiap penumpang di area extension tepat di depan pintu pesawat. Pengalaman yang menggelikan dan menyenangkan.

OK, saatnya terbang.

Sampai jumpa lagi Nepal. Selamat datang India.

Sharia Law Behind Tuan Kadi Halfway House

I began to leave the Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Green Open Space on foot. Along Wakaf Street, I slowly approached a traffic policeman who was arranging an intersection. Not awkward, I called him when he still sounded his whistle following flashing green lights which automatically moved dozens of vehicles to cross the intersection.

Unsure of answering my question, he shouted at his colleague at a police post. After his friend stretched his arms parallel to the road and followed by his palm which turned to right, this young policeman was very sure to tell the closest direction to Siak River to me.

Mutiara Merdeka Hotel in Jembatan Siak I Street.

Enjoying one part of Siak River, was able to amaze me, this is inseparable from historical facts behind its water flow. Siak is the name of sultanate which ever stood in this river body. If I could reconstruct journey history of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate which had ever triumphed, it would certainly perfect my exploration in Pekanbaru.

Linger over Siak Bridge I, as far as eye could see, it was clear that Siak III Bridge was right in front of me and looming behind it was Siak IV Bridge (better known as Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah Bridge) which hadn’t yet finished its construction. While from my standing position, in my back side was Siak II Bridge.

Siak River which was formerly known as Jantan River.

Bright brown of water color and river width which represents Siak River valor is enhanced by greeny river body which soothes anyone in its banks. Geographically, the river passes through four districts i.e Rokan Hulu, Bengkalis, Siak and Pekanbaru.

Next, I continued to go through a small road on edge of the river until I came to an open park under Siak III bridge, better known as Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah Bridge. Many young people looked cheerfully chatting with their friends or their partners enjoying peaceful atmosphere around the river. At other side, it was clear that Water Police Office of Riau Regional Police was busy. Seen two fast patrol boats leaning on river edge.

Riverside park under Siak III Bridge.

While next to riverside park was a stilt house with a dominant light yellow color. With greeny graded lawns and black-orange square patterned tiles which at the edge was bordered by a blue mosque and river viewpoint area. This courtyard is known as Tuan Kadi Park.

Tuan Kadi Halfway House.
Tuan Kadi Park.

Tuan Kadi / Qadhi is a title which Sultan has proclaimed to someone who is appointed as an advisor in Islamic sharia law (Nasyih) and acts as a munakaah judge in marriage matters and heirlooms distribution in Siak Sultanate.

After Dutch Colonial occupation , Tuan Kadi/Qadhi title was pinned to Chairperson of Siak Sultanate’s Shariah Deliberative Board. This house itself is owned by Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muttalib who ever held that position. And in his time, this house was ever be a stopover for Sultan Syarif Kasim II, the 12th Siak Sultan.

Hhmmhh …. Already past noon, let’s do Dhuhr prayer…..Come on, went to Siak Sultanate’s inherited mosque!

Selamat Tinggal Basantapur

Melangkah meninggalkan Kumari Ghar, aku masih berfikir. Apabila Sang Kumar nanti telah pensiun, bagaimana dia bermasyarakat setelah selama belasan tahun hanya sekali setiap tahun keluar dari tempat tinggalnya, bagaimana dia bekerja hingga lelaki mana yang beruntung memiliki Sang Kumari itu….Ah sudahlah.

Langkahku sampai pada sebuah plaza nan luas. Bangunan putih memanjang berarsitektur Eropa mengapit pelataran luas itu di kiri dan kanan, sementara ditengahnya para pedagang souvenir meletakkan lapak-lapaknya.

Basantapur Dabali adalah landmark bersejarah yang wajib dikunjungi.

Memainkan peran sebagai  jantungnya Kathmandu, Basantapur memang menjadi tempat bertemunya khalayak dari berbagai penjuru untuk berpolitik dan berdagang sejak zaman Nepal masih berbentuk kerajaan. Oleh karenanya Basantapur selalu ramai hingga kini.

Untuk kamu millennial, Basantapur menyediakan banyak cafe modern untuk sekedar berhang out. Teh khas Himalaya pun mudah ditemukan di area ini. Kamu bisa merasakan nikmatnya Chiya (teh bercampur susu) di dinginnya udara Kathmandu.

Berburu Himalayan Tea di salah satu kedai.

Freak Street menjadi jalur yang terlihat cukup sibuk dengan keberadaan plaza ikonik ini. Pesona Basantapur Dabali menghinoptis siapa saja untuk bertahan berlama-lama menikmatinya. Tapi surya sudah jauh tergelincir, sudah saatnya aku meninggalkan Basantapur untuk kembali menuju Thamel.

Sinha Swan Khala, lembaga keagamaan yang cukup ramai di Freak Street.

Menikmati Kathmandu tak bisa dilakukan dengan menunggang taksi, pastikan kamu terus melangkah dan menikmati keotentikan budaya dan arsitekur Newar yang ada di setiap sisi kota.

Kini aku sudah kembali di jalanan Layaku Marg. “Layaku” adalah kata lain untuk “Durbar Square”, sedangkan “Durbar Square” sendiri berarti “Alun-alun Istana”. Memang benar apa adanya, Layaku Marg ini membelah Basantapur dan menempatkan istana Kerajaan Malla di salah satu sisinya.

Layaku Marg menuju ke area Bishal Bazaar.

Bishal Bazaar atau Vishal Bazaar merupakan area berbelanja yang dahulu cukup terkenal di Kathmandu. Ditandai dengan keberadaan mall tua dan China Market . Bishal Bazaar mungkin menjadi tempat yang tepat bagi para penggemar pernak-pernik perhiasan.

Area Basantapur dan Bishal Bazaar dibatasi oleh Jalan Sukra Path yang berawal dari Juddha Statue, sebuah patung di bundaran perempatan untuk menghormati Raja Nepal Juddha Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana yang berperan besar dalam membangun negerinya dari kerusakan cukup parah akibat gempa Nepal pada tahun 1934.

Juddha Statue.
Salah satu sisi Sukra Path.

Sebelum benar-benar menyelesaikan perjalanan hingga ke Thamel, aku berusaha menikmati sibuknya aktivitas penduduk lokal dengan  memasuki sebuah resto di bilangan Sukra Path

Vegetable Chow mien seharga Rp. 15.000.

Sore itu adalah petang terakhirku menikmati kota Kathmandu karena keesokan harinya aku akan terbang menggunakan Jet Airways 9W 0263 menuju ibukota India. Mungkin malam nanti aku tak akan banyak keluyuran karena harus bersiap diri untuk berangkat ke Tribhuvan International Airport di gelapnya pagi.

Aku sampai di Thamel dan segera melakukan check-in online, malam nanti aku hanya keluar sebentar untuk menikmati santap malam saja.

Duh…cantiknya perempuan dalam iklan shampoo itu.

A pair of Bono in Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park

Failed to check-in sooner, I decided to explore Senapelan area for next three or four hours, an area where Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura had reached its golden age. I tried to trace sultanate history by visiting its legacies which enduring until now.

For that reason, I went to Siak River which is famous and legendary in my country. Just imagine!, Siak River was once be the deepest river in Indonesia.

Chinatown on Dr. Leimena Street was still quiet that morning, only one or two cars passed. I turned left when I started cutting Ir. H. Juanda Street and then found a green area which seemed to be acquiring a junction area which is bounded by Riau Street and Jend. Ahmad Yani Street. Not far away, I estimate about half a kilometer north of my hotel.

To right: Ir. H. Juanda Street, straight: Jend. Ahmad Yani Street and to left: Riau Street

A park which covering an area of two times football fields is like many city parks in Jakarta. Exhibiting a name board and providing sidewalks as a barrier between main road and park area.

Here it is the park name.

Tunjuk Ajar Interigitas Green Open Space is a famous playground spot in Pekanbaru and is a favorite park for residents who live in Senapelan area.

Inevitably, even in the heat of day, there were still some small families who bring their children to the park and did some activities in sand playing area which is equipped with a swing seats, kids up-down stairs and kids slides.

While some park cleaners in a light-green long t-shirts looked busy in pulling weeds, watering plants and sweeping every park corner. The park is vast, but its cleanliness can’t be doubted.

Occupying a former office of Public Works Service, USD 600,000 of funds which is invested in park construction are reflected in spacious area and complete facilities which is provided in park.

In four corners of park are provided a concrete canopy with a mushroom-shaped roof and a canopy is right in the middle of park with a Malay roof and ornamented selembayung.

In left side, there is a circular open space which is arranged like a theater complete with a three-levels podium. Some young people seemed to sit in a canopy and holding their own skateboards. While owner of a battery-powered toy car appeared to arrange his rental toys in a shady area.

Jogging track splits the park.
Multifunctional open area.

Tunjuk Ajar” which means “Giving an Example” and “Integritas” which represents a “Leadership Attitude“, is sufficient to explain that this park is a vehicle for modeling integrity in community leadership. This meaning is emphasized by an existence of a monument at one side of park.

Integrity Monument.

Built and owned by Riau Provincial Government, this park is dedicated to corruption resistance program in regional government.

The Integrity Monument features Kampar River’s Bono and Rokan River’s Bono as well as Malay keris. Bono refers to a wave which is formed at both of Kampar and Rokan River estuary as a result of the meeting of fresh water which is leading to sea and seawater which headed ashore. While Malay keris describes a process of establishing integrity at all levels of society.

No loss too, stopped by in a park which I accidentally found before reaching Siak River banks.

Kecantikan Dewi Hidup di Kumari Ghar

Adalah Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah yang pertama kali menggunakan bendera dua segitiga ketika berhasil mempersatukan semua kerajaan di Nepal pada 1768. Ya, dua segitiga pada bendera nasional Nepal itu melambangkan dua dinasti besar yang pernah ada di Negeri Seribu Dewa yaitu Dinasti Shah dan Dinasti Rana.

Aku menemukannya dimana-mana.

Please, come!….Please, come!” seorang pria menyuruhku memasuki sebuah bangunan mengkilat merah bata. Para turis Eropa beserta tour guidenya yang sepertinya telah tahu alasan mengapa mendatangi tempat ini tampak berbondong memasuki gerbang. Aku yang belum menyimpan informasi apapun, hanya mengandalkan senyuman bersahaja dari pria itu. Sebentar kemudian aku sudah di dalam.

Pria berjaket abu-abu yang berjasa menemukanku pada seorang Dewi.

Pria lain di dalam menyambutku, “Welcome to Kumari Ghar…The house of Kumari”. Kumari adalah Dewa hidup dalam mitologi Hindu bahkan Buddha. Kumari sendiri adalah istilah Sansekerta yang berarti “Putri (princess)”. Kumari dipilih oleh kepala Pandita dan dianggap sebagai reinkarnasi dari Dewi Taleju, Sang Dewi Penjaga Kota.

Mencincang daging kerbau untuk persembahan esok hari.

Aku terus menguping penjelasan tour guide kepada para pelancong Eropa itu. Konon raja terakhir Malla sering  bertemu secara rahasia dengan Dewi Taleju yang diminta untuk melindungi kerajaan. Istrinya yang curiga, pada suatu malam membututi sang Raja ketika hendak bertemu Sang Dewi. Sontak Sang Dewi murka karena keberadaannya terungkap. Tetapi Sang Dewi masih berbaik hati untuk tetap bersedia melindungi kerajaan, tetapi dengan satu syarat yaitu disediakannya seorang gadis sebagai reinkarnasi darinya. Nah, gadis inilah yang akan kulihat kali ini.

Salah satu sisi Kumari Ghar yang telah berusia 263 tahun.

Semua mata mengarah pada tiga jendela hitam di lantai teratas Kumari Ghar. Dari situlah Kumari akan dipertontonkan secara kilat. Para lelaki tegap tampak mulai menyebar ke segala sudut dan matanya tak berkedip mengawasi kami. Wajah mereka menyapu suluruh turis di pelataran, mereka berjaga jangan sampai ada sorotan video atau tangkapan kamera yang mengarah ke Kumari saat dipertontonkan nanti.

Gelisah untuk segera melihatnya.

Saatnya tiba, semua hening melihat jendela yang perlahan dibuka. Kumari belum juga keluar, aku tak berkedip karena khawatir kehilangan penampakannya yang akan singkat. Para pengawas di bawah berteriak lantang kepada pengawas di atas, entah apa yang dilaporkannya. Mungkin kondisi sudah siap untuk Kumari muncul di jendela.

Dua perempuan mengecek kembali kondisi di bawah dari atas. Sewaktu kemudian, mereka memberikan kode ke arah dalam. Sekejap kemudian, gadis cantik berbusana serba merah, bermahkota lembaran emas dengan mata ketiga di keningnya muncul di lubang jendela. Hanya sebentar, tak sampai setengah menit.

Wooouwww”, ucapan seragam yang terlontar dari para pelancong dan kemudian meraka sibuk berbisik dengan temannya masing dengan bahasa bangsanya. Sementara aku masih saja memandangi jendela yang sudah tertutup sejak tadi sambil tersenyum. Gila rasanya bisa bertemu dengan seorang Dewi yang benar-benar hidup…..Hahaha.

Seperti inilah penampakan Kumari.

Mengikuti kepercayaan, Kumari akan selesai menjadi reinkarnasi Dewi Taleju ketika mengalami menstruasi dan akan digantikan oleh Kumari baru. Kumari akan dipilih sejak berusia tiga tahun dengan persyaratan yang sangat ketat seperti tidak boleh ada bekas luka, tidak takut pada pria bertopeng yang menari di atas darah kerbau yang disembelih, tidak akan menginjak tanah selama menjadi Kumari dan hanya keluar sekali setahun dalam acara acara Bhoto Jatra yaitu festival perayaan musum hujan  sekaligus panen.

Magis ya budaya Nepal ini….Luar biasa.

From Sri Indrayani Hotel….The Adventure was Began

I still didn’t budge with an offer of taxi drivers, while other INTRA Bus passengers preferred to use taxi services towards their final destination in Pekanbaru.

Several time later, from across the street, an online motorcycle taxi driver waved to me. Of course he knew, I was wearing a blue jacket with same color backpack. I had sent a description to him via message in application.

Are you originally from here, Sir?” I asked in back seat.

No, I’m from Padang, Sir. Are you from Java? your accent is typical“, he answered and asked.

I ever studied in a college at Yogyakarta, Sir. Which Java are you from?“, I didn’t have answered yet, He had asked again.

I’m originally from Solo, Sir. Are local residents nice, Sir?”, I began to wonder.

Most of Pekanbaru residents are from Padang, Sir. Calm down, Sir, anywhere is safe“, he soothingly said .

From an article I read afterwards, it’s true that 40% of Pekanbaru residents are Minang native migrants. Indeed, Minang people are great in odyssey

Not even 10 o’clock in the morning, I arrived.

The three-star hotel which I booked through Airy Rooms exactly on nine days before my arrival in Pekanbaru was only USD 6 per night. Cheap, right?

I deliberately chose to stay in Senapelan area just to tracing the glory of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate. Looking at economic activities of city residents, remembering that the name of Pekanbaru came from words of Pekan Baharu, a market which was pioneered by Young Sultan named Tengku Muhammad Ali, the 5th Siak Sultan. It can be said that Senapelan area was the forerunner to the formation of Pekanbaru City which was born as a positive impact from Sultanate economic development.

Hotel front yard is on an edge of Sam Ratulangi Street.

Coming too early, I tried my luck in front of reception desk. Maybe they could put me faster to rest in hotel room.

The room isn’t ready, Sir. Just wait in our lobby until 13 o’clock”, young staff on duty said in neat uniform.

Oh well, Sir. Can I put my backpack here. I better go around the city first, then come back when I can check-in“, I replied.

Oh sure, sir. Just put it here“, he asked my backpack to put behind the table.

Sir, is there a power outlet to recharge my handphone?“, I asked him

Oh, the plug is in hotel’s restaurant at right of the lobby. Just go in, Sir!“, His index finger pointed at a door.

Straightening my waist for a while in the lobby, I was still staring at the authentic reception room, golden yellow dominated. Three roofs with three selembayung at the end. praying hand shape symbolizes the close relationship between living things and God.

In addition to selembayung, motifs like a Malay songket is beautify the room.

After my camera and handphone was charged, to take advantage my time while waiting for check-in, I began to explore some traces of Siak Sultanate which were clearly represented along Siak River, Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House and Nur Alam Grand Mosque

Entering twin bed room at 2 pm.
Cheap but luxurious hotel room for me.

Sri Indrayani Hotel was originally a guesthouse which was rented by an airline for its air crew since 1971. Along with Pekanbaru development, this guesthouse perfected itself by transforming into a leading shariah hotel in Pekanbaru during the city’s development. Its location which opposite the Chinatown also made hotel development was quickly its time.

Finally, I found warm water after didn’t bathing for 38 hours.
The park behind hotel is bordered by Bangka Street.

From Sri Indrayani Hotel, my adventure to exploring Pekanbaru was began. It was time to got around the city and got to know about the capital of Riau Province.

Madira di Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square

Masih pagi….Tak ragu, aku menukar Rp. 125.000 dengan tiket putih-kemerah jambuan sebagai akses menikmati sejarah Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.

Menapaki jalanan Layaku Marg yang keabuan berlapis andesit serta debu tipis yang dilemparkan oleh sapu lidi para petugas kebersihan, aku telah bersiap memasuki Nepal tempoe doeloe yang masih berbentuk kerajaan.

Kuil untuk menyembah “Dewi Ilmu Pengetahuan” kulewati dengan cepat untuk kemudian ku jumpai kerumunan warga yang sibuk membakar dupa, menabur bunga dan kemudian menyatukan kedua telapak tangannya di dada meghadap patung hitam enam lengan yang dipercaya sebagai perwujudan Dewa Siwa Sang Pemusnah.

Saraswati Temple.

Sementara para pedagang dupa di pelataran Indorapur Mandir membuat area itu menjadi sangat ramai dibanding area lain di Kathmandu Durbar Square. Selaras padu dengan kesibukan ratusan merpati dalam menyantap sarapan pemberian para pelancong yang sudah datang lebih dulu

Kaal Bhairav bermahkota emas perwujudan Dewa Siwa.

Lapis-lapis atap segenap kuil tampak sama dan membawaku pada nuansa rekaan Majapahit di perfilman tanah air. Atmosfer Ksatria Hindu yang sangat kental di pagi itu, mampu melemparku sejenak dari dunia yang fanatik dengan teknologi.

Biji jagung yang dijual untuk merpati.

Istana Kerajaan Malla yang kemudian dilanjutgunakan oleh Dinasti Shah adalah icon penting  di Kathmandu Durbar Square. Oleh karena dijaga patung Dewa Hanuman di gerbang depan, UNESCO World Heritage Sites ini dikenal dengan sebutan Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. Beberapa khalayak menyebutnya Basantapur Durbar Khsetra karena istana ini terletak di area Basantapur.

Itu gerbangnya.

Selepas gerbang maka pelataran istana nan luas menyambut. Dikenal dengan sebutan Nasal Chowk. Nasal berarti tarian, merujuk pada Dewa Siwa yang menari Tandava Nataraja  ketika menghancurkan semesta yang sudah usang. Pelataran yang mirip dengan plaza ini dikepung oleh bangunan-bangunan istana di keempat sisinya.

Bangunan putih di sisi barat istana.

Sementara di sisi selatan pelataran terpampang papan nama proyek yang didanai oleh Kementrian Perdagangan Republik Rakyat China untuk merenovasi istana yang mengalami kerusakan hebat pasca gempa tektonik yang dihasilkan dari tumbukan lempeng India dan Eurasia di Himalaya pada 2015.

Basantapur Tower Sembilan tingkat yang telah runtuh.
Ruang yang didalamnya terdapat patung Dewa Siwa yang sedang menari.
Sun Dial, penunjuk waktu sebelum ditemukannya jam.

Lalu, di sisi utara terpampang bentuk arsitektur Newar dengan jendela hijau mencolok. Berjuluk Sisha Baithak yang berfungsi sebagai ruang audiensi kerjaan. Di lantai bawah bangunan itu, terpampang deretan foto para raja. Dan dua polisi penjaga istana nampak mondar-mandir dengan senapan laras panjangnya di sekitar bangunan ini.

Dari kiri adalah King Rana Bahadur Shah (Raja Nepal ketiga) dan anaknya King Girbanayuddha Bikram Shah (Raja keempat-foto kanan)
Bersama Guard Police di Sisha Baithak sebelum meninggalkan istana.

Aku meninggalkan istana sembari melempar kata terimakasih dan sampai jumpa kepada Guard Police itu. Sontak temannya yang baru tiba berucap kepadanya dalam bahasa Nepal, kutebak berbunyi “Darimana dia berasal?”, karena polisi yang kuajak berfoto berujar singkat “Indonesia”.

Satu tips ketika berada di kawasan Kathmandu Durbar Square adalah coba pahami satu-persatu bangunan yang kamu lewati, karena setiap bangunan disana memiliki fungsi dan nilai historis yang mengagumkan.

Kembali aku menemukan bangunan unik. Sebuah kuil bertahtakan Shwet Bhairav yang diyakini sebagai perwujudan paling kuat dari Dewa Siwa. Disembunyikan dalam tirai kayu dan menunggu Indrajatra Festival untuk menampakkan diri secara penuh kepada penduduk Newar. Saat festival tiba, dari mulutnya akan di pancurkan Madira (alkohol) sebagai bentuk berkah bagi manusia.

Shwet Bhairav.

Beranjak siang….Matahari kini mulai mampu menembus setiap celah alun-alun, menghangatkan tubuhku yang sedari pagi terpapar hawa dingin. Saatnya meneruskan langkah menuju destinasi berikutnya.

Selanjutnya akan kutunjukkan kecantikan paras seorang Dewi dalam mitologi Hindu dan Buddha di Nepal.

Yuks….Ikuti aku!

7 Tourist Attractions in Pekanbaru

Entering Pekanbaru, all INTRA Bus passengers were unloaded in a non-permanent restaurant building which is made from green colour wood. Entering in back of restaurant, long row of simple bathrooms made me easy to washing my face and preparing myself to explore “Madani City“.

Entering city’s roads for the first time on an online motorcycle taxi seat, I began to save my curiosity about destinations which I could visit in the city. Until I finally arrived at Sri Indrayani Hotel lobby before check-in schedule. After charging my camera and smartphone to several cell bars in the hotel restaurant, I immediately swung my steps to nearest spots.

  1. Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park

Not far away, half a kilometer to northwest of hotel, there is a fairly well-known park in Pekanbaru. It is Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park which has became a favorite play ground for city residents whice its development is dedicated to corruption resistance program in local government.

Integrity Monument in the park.

Not yet midday, hot air began to feel. Forcing me to took a shelter on park edge. Visitors was still quiet, considering I didn’t visit on weekend.

2. Siak River

Continuing my steps, I went down to Wakaf Street before finally being led by a traffic policeman to turn right and passing Jembatan Siak I street then reached edge of Siak River.

Visiting Siak River and imagining the glory and prosperity of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate who once stood on this river edge was a thing that was interested me to made it as one of my destinations this time.

Panorama of Siak I Bridge.

3. Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House

Still wandering along the river, now I headed to Siak II Bridge. People call it as Bridge of Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah, taken from name of the 5th Sultan of Siak Sultanate.

Stunned to stare at a building under the bridge, an original house since golden era of Siak Sultanate. This tourism site is known in the name Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House. Kadi or Qadhi itself is a famous title during the sultanate. The first owner of this house is Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muthalib who had served as Chairperson of Siak Sultanate’s Shariah Deliberative Board.

It was once be a stopover for Sultan Syarif Kasim II, the 12th Sultan.

4. Nur Alam Grand Mosque

The sun began to slip from its highest position, meaning that I was able to entering Sri Indrayani Hotel’s room. Taking southeast direction, I intended to stop by and praying Dzuhur at Nur Alam Grand Mosque before arriving at hotel.

The oldest mosque in Pekanbaru.

The relic mosque of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate still firmly stands with its yellow dome as a symbol of Malay greatness. It feels, Pekanbaru residents worth give a thank to Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah, the fourth Sultan who had built this magnificent mosque.

5. An-Nur Great Mosque

The heat of city began to subside, especially after I finished to bathing in hotel. Finishing lunch then I continued my exploration. After visiting the oldest mosque, now I headed to the grandest mosque in Riau Province.

Exhausted after walking almost 4 km, I chose to use an online motorcycle taxi towards An-Nur Great Mosque, two kilometers to southeast.

Indonesia’s Taj Mahal.

An-Nur Great Mosque itself has been a religious icon of Riau Province since the first year it was built, in 1963. Make sure that you don’t miss to visiting it when you are in Pekanbaru.

6. Putri Kaca Mayang Park

Next, I hurried to downtown. My next choice was Putri Kaca Mayang Park. Located on a side of Pekanbaru’s protocol street, this park looked more presentable than the first park which I visited.

The park name is taken from a princess name in a legendary tale in society.

Time that had slipped towards afternoon, one by one residents were seen coming to the park to just releasing fatigue or bringing their children to spending time by playing around the park.

7. Jenderal Sudirman Street

Like the same street name in Jakarta, Jenderal Sudirman Street in Pekanbaru also plays a role as a protocol road in the city.

As a main road, of course there are many things which can be enjoyed along the way. Road width with busy passing of vehicles is decorated by classy buildings architecture on both sides made Jenderal Sudirman street as a photography spot which worth to visiting.

The Soeman HS Library, Lancang Kuning Tower, Riau Governor’s Office and Dang Merdu Tower are architectures which look striking and different from other buildings along Jenderal Sudirman Street.

The road is decorated with Asmaul Husna along its edge.

Come on, vacation to Pekanbaru!

Indra Chowk sebelum Kathmandu Durbar Square

Bersiap sarapan.

Tak seperti biasanya, santapan pagi sedikit mewah telah disiapkan di lantai teratas Shangrila Boutique Hotel. Nasi goreng bertabur potongan dadu daging kerbau, dua potong sosis dan selembar telur mata sapi. Masih pula disiapkan dua lapis toast berselai selembar keju. Kemudian ditutup dengan secangkir kopi hitam panas.

Perut kenyang dan aku siap memasuki kejayaan Nepal masa lalu yang akan tersirat pada tiap jengkal area di Kathmandu Durbar Square, satu diantara tiga Durbar Square terkenal di Nepal. “Durbar” sendiri berarti “istana”, sementara “square” berarti “alun-alun”. Jadi sebenarnya Durbar Square adalah alun-alun istana pada umumnya.

Membilang di Amrit Marg, hangatnya mentari pagi meringankan langkah ketika harus menembus suhu 9 derajat yang masih saja enggan beranjak naik. Sementara batuk telah menghuni tenggorokan sejak sehari lalu akibat debu yang terus terhisap tak terkendali. “Tak apa, besok aku terbang menuju New Delhi, pasti udara akan lebih bersih disana”, batinku menenangkan diri. Keyakinan itu membuat Ambroxol yang kubawa dari Jakarta masih saja utuh.

Kini aku mulai memasuki sejumlah tikungan rumit sempit. Jalanan berlapis andesit dengan deret ruko penghadang surya dan bertabur signboard tak beraturan. Bahkan di bilangan Jyatha Marg diperparah dengan untaian kabel listrik yang bersimpul sangat kusut.

Petugas PLN Nepal pasti mahir menangani kerusakan listrik.
Penjual bunga Gemitir di tepian Chandraman Singh Marg.

Tiba saatnya melangkah di perempatan terakhir sebelum memasuki area terkenal Indra Chowk. Waktu sudah jam 10 pagi tetapi pertokoan di sepanjang Chandraman Singh Marg masih saja tutup. Sementara itu, sepeda motor yang berlalu-lalang tercacah dalam hitungan jari..

Pengayuh becak yang beranjak mengais rezeqi.
Mencicip kacang rebus.

Beberapa dasa langkah, area yang kusasar ada di depan mata, simpang lima dengan kesibukan sangat tinggi. Gemuruh perniagaan pagi yang membuatku tertegun mengamatinya di suatu sisi. Inilah Indra Chowk, area yang selama berabad-abad telah menjadi sentra perdagangan tersohor di distrik Kathmandu. Siapa saja yang ingin berburu pakaian khas Nepal, souvenir untuk dibawa pulang ataupun merasakan aneka makanan lokal, maka datanglah kesini!

Pangkalan becak di Indra Chowk.

Memasuki area simpang lima dari sisi utara melalui Chandraman Singh Marg, aku bisa melihat keempat jalan lain sebagai penyusun simpang yaitu Siddhidas Marg (dari Timur Laut), Watu Marg, Sukra Path, dan Siddhidas Marg (dari Barat Daya). Kelimanya bermuara pada lingkaran luas dengan pemandangan ikonik kuil Aakash Bhairav.

Aakash Bhairav yang bersejarah menjadi istana raja pertama Nepal.

Melangkah kembali, menjauhi kebisingan Indra Chowk sembari mencangking Dhaka Topi yang kubeli ketengan, jalanan yang tak begitu ramai kembali menyambut.

Abege di  Siddhidas Marg….Manis ya?….Hahaha.

Di jalan inilah terdapat satu spot menarik. Khalayak mengenalnya sebagai Makhan Tole. Spot kesenian terkenal di Kathmandu. Karya seni rupa banyak dijumpai disini dan tentu banyak pelancong yang memburunya.

Gerbang Makhan Tole.

Dari Makhan Tole, hanya memerlukan 5 menit berjalan kaki menuju Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Akhirnya aku sampai juga.

Yuk kita eksplore apa saja yang ada di Kathmandu Durbar Square ini…….

7 Fast Destination at Pematang Siantar

Sitting in waiting room, my gaze focused on my watch and INTRA bus office yard….Never saw when he arrived, from right side of the yard, he shouted to me. It was nice to meet an old friend.

His kindness and simplicity was still the same as Erwin who I met in Kuala Lumpur 2013 ago. Remembered again when he gave me a small box of red cakes on Kuala Lumpur’s Hop on Hop off. And now, he gave me four hours of his time to enjoying Pematang Siantar.

Come on, bro, ride up!“, He said while turning backpack to his chest. I Instantly glided on his 90’s Japan motorcycle towards his home. He had to change a teacher uniform which he wore before going around the city.

1. Warung Miso Pematang

Let’s have lunch first, bro! There is something special for you. Come on!“, His smile ignored my rejection because he just wanted to be a good host. Tracing the “rat path” which I never knew its exact location, I felt the rear tire was a bit shaky. It made me believe that Erwin is a sincere and simple person.

Warung Miso Pematang. Oh, is this the special dish that is meant?“, I muttered. Erwin rushed into the restaurant with its front door at the back. While I was still in the yard, busy capturing the picture. It was amazingly delicious, a bowl of Miso, a mixture of yellow-white noodles which are flushed with soup mixed with fried tofu, chicken liver-gizzard and mushroom for USD 1.3.

The dish was closed with fresh orange juice….Yummy.
The first Siantar specialty food which I tasted.

2. Pedicab Monument BSA (Birmingham Small Army).

Come on, I’ll show you the Siantar icon!“, He spoke while cranked the motor starter. I give a thumb as agree sign. Riding along Sudirman Street until finally arrived at a motorized rickshaw-crowned monument. Supposedly said that this city has almost 1,000 war motorbikes. Therefore you have to queue to be able to take a picture in front of the monument.

The main character this time.

3. Sintong Bingei Public Library

Right behind the monument is a public library owned by the city government while on the right opposite is Pematang Siantar City Hall where the Mayor worked.

Sintong Bingei Public Library. Sintong Bingei is father of the North Sumatra “Cigarette King“-Edwin Bingei Purbo Siboro.

4. Pematang Siantar City Hall

Pematang Siantar City Hall is a century-old Dutch building.

Gecko ornaments in most of large buildings in Siantar made me to asked a question about it. Erwin briefly explained that gecko is a wisdom and wealth symbol for the Batak ethnic. Local people call it as Gorga Boraspati.

5. Hangout Area near Pedicab Monument

While on right side of the monument is a coffee shop row which seems to only wait for short time to be filled by city millennials to hang out at night.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to sip the coffee.

6. Pematang Siantar City’s Bunga Park

While right behind hang out area is Bunga Park. As a Child Friendly Public Open Space makes this park as a favorite place to spend time with family after work.

The perfect place to celebrate a weekend for city dwellers.

7. Ganda Bakery

Bro, it’s almost dark, let’s go back to INTRA office!“, Erwin reminded me. I jumped on his motorcycle and hurried to INTRA bus office. Upss ….”Why Bakery?“, I suspected.

Don’t flatter yourself, I don’t buy bread for you, but I will buy it for my family at home“, he thinly smiled. I was burst out laughing when seeing his act. I took a moment to enjoy storefronts with fragrant aroma of tempting bread.

Ganda Bakery is legendary since 1979.

Ten minutes later, I was standing outside and waiting for him to complete payment at the cashier. And then….He held two packs of bread in his hands.

This is for your breakfast tomorrow on the way“, he said while offering a packet of bread with srikaya jam which was famously delicious. It was forbidden to refuse it, so I accepted it with many thanks.

Come on, now it’s really going to INTRA Bus office and not stopping by anymore!“, He said with a laugh. That was the end of my fast journey at Pematang Siantar.

Thank You Erwin. See you later.