Janjang Ampek Puluah, Integration Manifestation in Colonial Era

Moving from Bung Hatta Proclamator Monument Park, I moved down along Istana Street, across Plaza Bukittinggi, greeting Gadang Clock Tower, treading on Minangkabau Street and then entering Cindua Mato Street.

A step later, I entered Pasar Atas. Most of stalls were still closed because I was too early to visited it. There was nothing I could do, only a few stalls which were preparing to open, marked by its owners who was busy arranging their trade goods.

Quiet.

Now I was at a gate with a view of steep steps, two tigers guard it on either side, while at lower end was seen a bit of trading crowd, maybe that was Banto Market.

I slowly descended while my mouth muttering count numbers….It’s true, forty steps. These rows of stairs are known as Janjang Ampek Puluah. It is said that forty symbolizes number of Niniak Mamak members.

Legendary connecting stairs.

Brilliant thinking for Louis Constant Westenenk (Agam Resident Assistant/Controleur Agam) who collaborated with Niniak Mamak (Minangkabau Customary Institution) in sparking an idea to integrated of Pasar Atas (Upper Market) – Pasar Bawah (Lower market) – Banto Market in early 20th century. At that time, Janjang became a popular facility in market connectivity. The thinking power of leaders at that time was really squeezed in order to organize Bukittinggi city which had a hilly and uneven topography.

I arrived at lower gate with four poles and European style, also with a large signboard “Janjang Ampek Puluah“. After all, I finally knew that this lower gate was a new construction, complementing the upper gate which had already existed.

Colonial style lower gate.
The Lower Gate was seen from T-junction of Pemuda Street, Perintis Kemerdekaan Street and Soekarno Hatta Street.

While at inner side of lower gate, there is an inscription which contains a brief history of legendary Janjang existence as high as 5 meters and 4.6 meters in wide which was built in the past.

I was still staring at the elegance of this colonial era integration facility, while residents seemed to be moving up and down at Janjang. I really didn’t want to leave this area quickly, stunned to think of how form of this area when Janjang hadn’t been built, maybe where I stood was still in the form of steep hills which separating three market activities.

Janjang Ampek Puluah is just one of many Janjang in Bukittinggi. Apparently Colonial Government was quite serious in integrating all city economic spots at that time. You need to know that there are still Janjang Saribu, Janjang Koto Gadang and Janjang Pasanggrahan in the town which called as Fort de Kock in its past time.

At outer side of gate, public transportations start to generating city pulse. The appearance of imperious Banto Trade Center increasingly shows that the surrounding area can be relied upon as a driving force for city’s economy.

Okay let’s continue….If you go straight ahead, what else is there?

Bung Hatta Proclamator Monument Park and Its Unpretentious Story

One hour I have peeled heroic story in Unknown Hero Monument. Now I would study other history in a different park. It’s precisely east across of that dragon-shaped black monument. Only need to cross for a moment on Istana Street.

From a signboard display at park front gate, apparently West Sumatra was preparing to hold a race series belonging to Union Cycliste International on a week ahead.

The 9th Tour de Singkarak, the fifth ranked bicycle race in the world.

Climbing twenty-two black stairs, I reached park courtyard. Named as Bung Hatta Proclamator Monument Park, this park features a intact statue of Mohammad Hatta in his four-pocket safari dress who with his charisma waved his right hand toward a T-junction of Istana Street, Haji Agus Salim Street and Sudirman Street.

Park front gate.

If I had been under road surface when I was at Unknown Hero Monument, now I was high above road surface when I visited Bung Hatta Proclamator Monument Park. Two days exploring the city, it began to realize that I was sometimes briefly down, then suddenly I was on high. It isn’t Bukittinggi if it don’t like that.

Face to face with Bung Hatta.

Looks behind the statue, there are three wall pages which tell the story of a character struggle whose real name is Mohammad Ibn ‘Atta.

On the first wall page, you can see Bung Hatta’s life in his simple house, Hatta story who studying Islam at Batuampar and then continuing his education at MULO (Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs).

On second wall page, It is tell about a time when Hatta led “Perhimpunan Indonesia” Organization in Netherlands when he studied.

The first and second pages are on right side of Mohammad Hatta statue.

Third wall page is a beautiful period when Hatta managed to proclaim Indonesia independence with Ir. Soekarno on August 17th, 1945 until his struggling from one negotiating table to another negotiating one for world’s recognition of proclaimed independence.

And like a normal scenario, fourth wall page is Hatta’s retirement from his political world to the time when he received an award from President Soeharto (The second president of Indonesia).

Third and fourth page.

Streets have seemed crowded with activities, one by one residents who were exercising seemed to visit this park to just cool down after jogging, sat relaxed at park and took a picture with Bung Hatta statue which became pride figure of small city of Bukittinggi.

The park still looked wet as rest of heavy rain overnight.

Just thirty minutes for me to visited this park. I would continue Bukittinggi exploration by visiting Janjang Ampek Puluah, a connecting market link which is quite famous in this city’s tourism.

Sudirman Street situation was starting to get crowded with vehicles.

Come on….Continued to walk again….

Opposing Colonial Tax in Version of Unknown Heroes Monument

There was only Noah who snoring flounder due to residual effects of drunk last night at De Kock Cafe’s 1st floor. I tried to remain quiet to bath under shower at edge of room. Even until I was ready to wander, his snoring didn’t change at all.

Cafe’s 1st floor remained wide open without a guard when I left hotel in half-dark, quiet and still cold.

Down through same road when yesterday afternoon hunting for the charm of Gadang Clock Tower, only this time, I was alone who looked very rushed in the quiet of morning.

Nagari Bank and Novotel were once again overtaken without expression, I had seen them yesterday afternoon. Likewise, I passed Gadang Clock Tower without any impression. Same, maybe because I snatched its charm a day ago. I just thought to immediately landing my step in a city park.

Bukittinggi branch of Nagari Bank.

However, before entering the park, I was a little interested in the charm of a golden yellow large building. It is Balai Sidang Bung Hatta as mainstay Convention Center in Bukittinggi city.

Balai Sidang Bung Hatta.

On 7:10 hours, I began to enter the park which is located under Istana Street surface in west. While a gray high building which is owned by Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) Bukittinggi limited my eyes to east.

Photo taken from south side.

Park focal point lies in an artistic black monument in its middle circle. That’s the Unknown Heroes Monument which was designed by sculpture artists from Padang Panjang City, i.e Hoerijah Adam. Hoerijah Adam name itself was later enshrined as a name of Dance Workshop in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta after Merpati Nusantara airplane accident of Vickers Viscount type which she rode in the Indian Ocean.

This monument was built to commemorate heroes resistance who couldn’t be identified with certainty in opposing Dutch Colonialism on June 5th, 1905. The resistance itself was due to application rejection of a 2% income tax for natives over all forms of trade which they undertaken.

The monument which is form of a dragon circle.

Laying of the first stone was carried out by General Abdul Haris Nasution on June 15th, 1963 who was then serving as Chief of Armed Forces Staff. And two years later this monument was inaugurated.

On one side of monument, there is a loud quote from a famous writer who is also an Indonesia National Hero, none other than Muhammad Yamin:

Noble Dead without Tomb

Deciding Soul and Leaving Name

Become Cloud in Space

Becoming Froth in Ocean

Spread Out Its Fragrant in Air

As it turned out, Bukittinggi kept a lot of history of nation struggle which I had only just found out after visiting it.

It was fun….Backpacking while getting to know about nation history.

Following Sermon with Backpacker Style in Bukittinggi Grand Mosque.

I instantly realized that I hadn’t fulfilled yet Maghrib Prayer. While time had shown at 19:10 hours and prayer sounds had disappeared since earlier. Then time forced me to immediately move from Bukittinggi Plaza courtyard.

Walking through Cinduo Mato Street, I didn’t find a crowd like I imagined. Many shops on either side of road had begun to close its door. Only few shops still opened because they still had to serve some customer who passing through on streets.

I arrived at Bukittinggi Grand Mosque. A holy building with eight arched windows on second floor. Right on road side and marked by a green glowing tower in one of its front corners.

The front yard of Bukittinggi Grand Mosque.

Entering its terrace area, one thing which attracted my attention was concrete seating provision for women on left side, while men seating was placed on right wing. Separation began since entering its terrace.

Women’s seat behind a concrete fence.

I fulfilled Maghrib Prayer on red carpet, while other worshipers were solemnly listening sermon from religious leader who preached from pulpit. I calmed my mind, sat cross-legged and watered my hard heart with heavenly advice, something I rarely followed.

Ostad’s sermon which I followed to the end.

I went out with congregation, the Adam and Eve folk regularly came out on track. Married couples left the mosque one by one by riding motorbikes, some rode bicycles. While youths were seemed to entering narrow alleys towards their homes.

The end of Canduo Mato Street was gradually deserted. Bright shades of shophouses began to be abandoned by visitors. While some traders were still patient waiting for remaining buyers who would came.

Hunting for crowds, I crossed Minangkabau Street then entered Ahmad Yani Street. I really found it. Parking lots along shophouses were still packed with four-wheeled vehicles, making me even more excited to postpone my returning to the inn.

Ahmad Yani Street at southern end.

I continued to step past a T-junction which is cuted by Ahmad Karim Street from south left. Then continued with found tent stalls which lined lengthwise on one side of Ahmad Yani Street with Limpapeh Bridge view which was full of lights.

Row of culinary stalls along Ahmad Yani Street.
Ahhhh….Padang Satay was only USD 1.1.

Satay scent which a minute ago was completely chewed by sense of taste, instantly drove out drowsiness which clung my eyelids since Ostad’s heavenly sermon at Bukittinggi Great Mosque.

Continued with displacing meatball bench to a coffee maker, my time slowly depleted at the same time with increasingly disappearing of “iron horses” bustles with vehicle license plate BA.

Temperature degree that night quickly diminished, I who didn’t wear jacket really felt Bukittinggi cold air, forced me to immediately withdrawed from street and slowly walked towards the inn. Tomorrow I would early wake up and walking around the city in early morning.

Memasuki lantai satu penginapan, Noah, Si Insinyur Amerika itu mEntering the first floor of hotel, Noah, an american engineer waved his right hand and greeted me with a big smile. A large beer bottle was in his left hand. “I will sleep early“, I told him. He raised his right thumb while saying a short word, “See you tomorrow”.

Good night Bukittinggi.

Staying at De Kock Hotel, Hunting the Gadang Clock Tower

Driver: “Donny, just get off here, okay? This car will turn to right, then car will run further away from downtown“.

Me: “Oh Okay, Uda. No problem for me

I was lowered by Annanta Travel on Veteran Street, I sat for a moment and stretched muscle stiffness after sitting in the back seat for eight hours. The white statue of Tuanku Imam Bonjol on his horse became the first sight which entertained my arrival in Bukittinggi. The “Paderi War” Leader spreaded charisma, valiantly without sound.

T-junction of Veteran Street, Pemuda Street (left) and Ahmad Yani Street (right).

After two days felt scalding heat in Pekanbaru, now I enjoyed Bukittinggi’s cool air. Now I was free to direct my camera to every where without sun sting. I had to occasionally stop because city contours which are up and down, making me gasped for breath with backpack’s burden on my back.

Entering Teuku Umar Street, which began to decline.

From a distance, I continued to look each other with a young blond girl who was sitting to enjoying the afternoon on big motorcycle. I predicted that she was precisely sitting in front of De Kock Hotel where I would stay in it.

It was true, arrived right at the big motorcycle was parked, I was confronted to hotel lobby in the form of a cafe, then young girl followed me and hurried to reception desk. It seemed like she was a hotel staff on duty that afternoon.

I would sleep on second floor of that simple dormitory.

Me: “Hi. Were you in Samosir four days ago?, I think that we stayed at a similar hotel, Bagus Bay Homestay”.

Noah: “Oh really? Yes, I was in Samosir four days ago”.

Me: “I’m Donny. I am an Indonesian traveler. What is your name?”.

Noah: “I’m Noah form California”.

Me: “Are you on vacation, No? What do you do in America?”.

Noah: “Yes, I’m on vacation. I am an engineer at oil company. What is your job in Indonesia? “.

Me: “Marketing”.

Noah: “What marketing?”.

Me: “I work in field, meet customers, and sell products”.

Noah: “Oh, you aren’t marketing. You are a sales. How about your income? Good income? I work with good income but with high risk in America … hahahaha”.

Me:” Yes, of course, I’m a salesman. I got a lot of money from my work”.

That was Noah, my new friend in Bukittinggi. Incidentally we were the only two who staying in the dormitory room with five single beds.

—-****—-

I sat in the lobby, a medium-sized bottle of Coca Cola managed to freeze my sweat after walking in a kilometer. That afternoon I intend to visit Gadang Clock Tower which is only half a kilometer to northwest of hotel.

Around 17:30 hours, I started to moving and carrying camera towards Gadang Clock Tower. I chose to walk through Yos Sudarso Street which tends to be flat and then descending on Istana Street.

Novotel’s old building.

Directly across from Novotel is Bukittinggi Plaza. I just quietly stood in mall courtyard to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower. Sabai Nun Aluih Park, which was under the clock tower, was covered with a tight project’ iron sheeting. Apparently, There was park renovation.

96-years-old clock dedicated to secretary of Fort de Kock (old name of Bukittinggi).

As its name “Gadang” which in Minang language means “Large”, this clock tower is twenty-six meters in high with four 128-years-old twin clocks which was directly brought from Rotterdam via Bayur Port.

Operated by a Brixlion engine whose its twin is in Big Ben, London.

Was designed by Radjo Mangkuto, Gadang Clock Tower was made with 4 levels. The lowest level is the officer’s room, second level contains a clock’s ballast pendulum. Clock is placed on third level and the uppest level is tower top where clock’s bell are placed.

I was happy, being able to see Gadang Clock Tower which since I was a little boy, I only knew it through my elementary school textbook.

16 Tourist Attractions in Bukittinggi

Walking through Veteran Street, I slowly approached De Kock Hotel to check-in. Cool and peaceful is an image in my head about Bukittinggi when I arrived.

1. Limpapeh Bridge

Halfway to hotel, I was fascinated by a suspension bridge. It is the Limpapeh Bridge which stretches over Ahmad Yani Street. It was built in 1992 and have function as a link between Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan and Fort De Kock Fortress area. Stretching along ninety meters with approximately three meters in width, making this bridge so dashing visible from Ahmad Yani Street.

2. Gadang Clock Tower

A bottle of coca cola closed my check-in session as well as a starting marker for my exploration around Pasar Atas that afternoon. Walking through Yos Sudarso Street with up-down contour, my steps arrived at a phenomenal landmark which is famous throughout Indonesia.

Gadang Clock Tower, a landmark which was given by Queen Wilhelmina, looked dashing. Needed long time in waiting for different color lights to appear and illuminated entire this giant clock tower as a marker of switching from evening to night. Because of its fame, Gadang Clock Tower has been designated as Kilometer Zero Point of Bukittinggi City. “Gonjong” shaped roof or roof style which was commonly used in “Gadang House” (typical house of West Sumatra) makes this European architectural art possess a local customs wealth.

3. Bukittinggi Plaza

Major renovations at Sabai Nan Aluih Park, made me only able to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower from mall courtyard which is located opposite this big clock tower.

Bukittinggi Plaza in the last few years had became the best mall in Bukittinggi. Ramayana (Indonesia’s prominent department stores) becomes main player which occupies seventy percent of overall mall capacity.

4. Bukittinggi Grand Mosque

Fun in enjoying the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower almost made me lose Maghrib Prayers. I tried to trace azan origin several minutes before. Heading north, I finally arrived at Bukittinggi Grand Mosque.

The mosque which in earthquake 2007 became a refuge for residents who evacuated because of damage which was caused by the massive earthquake.

5. Pasar Atas Bukittinggi

Cindua Mato Street towards Pasar Atas

Grand mosque which is precisely located in the center of Pasar Atas (a famous market in Bukittinggi) made me interested to explore road towards Pasar Atas. Dark which continued to devour the day, made shop owners began to close them one by one.

Pasar Atas is a market which places several sellers of Kapau Rice, Ampiang Dadiah Ice and Sanjai Crackers which are favorite crackers for souvenirs which were bought by Bukittinggi visitors.

Hungry stomach has forced myself to immediately look for dinner. Dinner under Limpapeh Bridge finally closed my two hours exploration on my first night in Bukittinggi

6. Unknown Hero Monument

My second day exploration began with leaving the hotel on a quiet morning. Even residents’ activities hadn’t been seen. Quiet and cold didn’t dampen my steps to visit Unknown Heroes Monument.

This monument was built to commemorate heroes who couldn’t be identified in opposing Dutch Colonialism on 1905. The monument with a circular shaped ornament of large dragon and on its top stands a statue of a young man who holding a flag.

7. Bung Hatta Proclamator Park Monument

While across the front of monument, there is a park with a black statue of Bung Hatta. Known as Bung Hatta Proclamator Park, this park was dedicated to Mohammad Hatta, the native son of Bukittinggi who proclaimed Indonesian independence with Ir. Sukarno.

8. Janjang Ampek Puluah

Returning to Cindua Mato Street which I passed last night, I headed for a connecting stairway between Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah also Pasar Banto (three markets in Bukittinggi). A steep concrete staircase with forty stairs which is 112-year-old. This is embodiment of public facilities integration in past time. At that time, Dutch East Indies Government and several local powers agreed to connect every market in Bukittinggi, one of which was by making janjang or stairs.

9. Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum

Coming out of lower gate and passing through Banto Trade Centre which looked unkempt, I headed to Bung Hatta residence when he was a child. Even though this house is actually only a reconstruction building, but its interior arrangement and exterior appearance are made as closely as possible to condition of the original house which has collapsed. If you want to know about life history behind Muhammad Hatta glory in his political career, then come to this place.

10. Fort De Kock

After visiting Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum, I intended to walk to Fort de Kock through Pemuda Street with quite a long climb walking and meanders from south to north. But apparently I wasn’t strong in middle of journey, I called for online transportation to drive me at Fort de Kock front gate.

Fort de Kock was built by Captain Bauer in 1825 on Jirek Hill as the defense dome of Dutch East Indies Government in facing popular resistance i.e Paderi War which led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Indonesia’s national hero).

11. Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan

From Fort de Kock, I just needed to cross Limpapeh Suspension Bridge to a famous zoo in Bukittinggi.

Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan is one of the oldest zoos in Indonesia and the only one in West Sumatra with the most complete collection of animals on Sumatra island.

12. Baanjuang Traditional House Museum

As the zoo grew, in 1935 the Baanjuang Traditional House was built in it.

Functioned as a museum, this traditional house is dedicated to elevating the traditional culture of Minangkabau people. Its inside were exhibited various clothes, jewelries and typical Minang art tools.

13. Zoological Museum

Not far away….In northeast of the zoo, there is a Zoological Museum with Sumatran tiger and goldfish as its icons. The museum was established in conjunction with a similar museum at Bogor in 1894. Two thousand species of animal are preserved and exhibited in this museum.

14. Sianok Canyon

I left Fort de Kock from its entrance. My next destination was Sianok Canyon. A valley formed by natural fracture, has a wall which is perpendicular to Sianok River which flowing in the middle. But it was unfortunate that the rain fell so heavily. After getting off from an online motorcycle taxi, I felt like I was hopeless and just waited for rain to stop. Under a tree, I continued to observe valley in a side of Sianok Canyon.

15. Japanese Tunnel

The rain began to thin but still never let up. It caused my hope to enjoying the canyon for a longer time had to ending. I get a online motorcycle taxi with middle-aged women as the rider. Under light drizzle, I headed for Panorama Park.

Before exploring Panorama Park, I made time to explore the longest defensive hole in Asia. A Japanese tunnel made by order of Lieutenant General Moritake Tanabe, 25th Division of Japanese Army Commander. Very deep, long and amazing.

16. Panorama Park

Finally the closing visit fell at Panorama Park, a large park with two entrances on edge of Panorama Steet. With a ticket for USD 1.1, I tried to enjoy this shady garden in my last seconds in Bukittinggi.

Leaving the park and returning to hotel, I prepared to go to a travel agent office to reach Padang city. On 13:00, I finally left Bukittinggi. Goodbye Bukittinggi.

So for you who intend to go to West Sumatra….Visit Bukittinggi and enjoy the cool air there.

Annanta Travel from Pekanbaru to Bukittinggi

Staying up late with a true friend.

The last evening in Pekanbaru became a nostalgic session in durian aroma and a savory portion of fried Malon (Manuk Londo-a type of quail) which looked plump on a plate. This was a meeting which I deliberately prepared with a durian businessman that I didn’t know how long we didn’t meet, before leaving Pekanbaru tomorrow.

—-****—-

Morning came together with chewing toast from Ganda Bakery, which remained since my arrival in Madani City (other name of Pekanbaru), tasteless but still quite delicious to eat.

Smartphone ring which I was waiting for finally arrived.

Is this Donny?“, he shortly said.

Annanta Travel, Sir?“, I briefly replied and asked.

Yes, Don. What is an easy landmark to find the hotel?”, he asked in detail.

Quickly reflex, I ran to reception desk and handed my smartphone to the staff on duty. Somehow the staff explained to driver. As I understood, they spoke in Minang language.

Ten minutes later, a black Kijang (Toyota’s varian) which labeled “ANNANTA” stopped its engine roar in Sri Indrayani Hotel courtyard. Saying thanks to reception staff, I left the lobby and entered travel car in right rear seat.

Snack and mineral water provided by travel agency.

Do you understand Javanese language, Uda (mention for brother in West Sumatra)?“, I was curious because driver played Didi Kempot’s song which stored on his blue flashdisk.

Ah, I don’t really understand, Donny. Just tunable to listen it“, he was laughing.

Ha ha ha“, I laughed off.

I became the first passenger who he picked up. I just enjoyed every step on gas pedal into narrow alleys and streets in some housing complexs to pick up five other passengers. On second taking, I finally found my seat couple, a smiling grandmother who only could speak Minang language. Meanwhile, the last passenger was a stocky young man who seated in the front seat next to driver.

Situation in travel car.

222 km journey would be taken in 7 hours interval and through the famous Kampar River. Pekanbaru-Bangkinang highway was like a street race track like Monaco Circuit. Annanta Travel was so swiftly moving among heavy and slow-goods trucks. Grandmother who sat next to me only occasionally smiled to face me while enjoying this single race.

Entering Payakumbuh City, I kept awake. Didn’t want to lose a brief moment when passing a scenic spot. It was none other than Kelok Sembilan. I was so fascinated when I crossed this overpass, along 2.5 km and as high as 58 meters. Tall, dashing and charming to everyone who passes it.

Fascinated when Marshall Sastra and David John Schaap peeled it off on a Indonesian TV program “My Trip My Adventure”.

Overland journey for USD 11.8 passed 4 Regencies (Kampar, Rokan Hulu, Lima Puluh Kota and Tanah Datar) and 3 Cities (Pekanbaru, Payakumbuh and Bukittinggi) and leaved a natural beauty which is tempting to my eyes.

A trip which only provided a lunch break. This morning toast wasn’t longer able to withstand hunger, even wind had acquired my stomach. That afternoon, Minang’s typical black rendang (West Sumatra’s typical meat with spices) became my dining companion. This was the first time I felt rendang in its origin land.

Annanta Travel, “The Fast” from Sumatra.
Uwan Labuak Bangku Restaurant in Lima Puluh Kota Regency.

Rain began to fall when the trip entered Bukittinggi City through Tanah Datar District. I started to get ready to got off, because Annanta Travel have last destination in Padang. I was dropped off at Veteran Street, right at T-junction with Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Indonesian national hero) Monument in the middle.

Arrived in Bukittinggi.

Towards dark, I must head to De Kock Hotel.

Local Endemic on Jenderal Sudirman Street, Pekanbaru

Ikan Selais Tiga Sepadan Monument.

Is “Ikan Selais Tiga Sepadan” Monument, the first icon which I met on Jenderal Sudirman Street. It is caused by this monument which is the closest spot to Putri Kaca Mayang Park. Depiction of community harmony which is symbolized by harmony of three Selais fish sculptures which are endemic animal in Pekanbaru.

As should be a protocol road, then Jenderal Sudirman Street has a superior charm with architecture distribution of modern buildings. Not so hard to find some iconic buildings with typical architecture along this street. This protocol road stretches about 7.5 kilometers in distance, starting from Siak IV Bridge at north end and ending at Gurindam 3 Police Station at southern end.

Enchantment of Jenderal Sudirman Street which looks Islamic with Al Asma Ul Husna signboards.

A building which looks quite striking is regional library building which is at street number 462, known as Soeman HS Library.

Soeman HS is a national poet of “Angkatan Pujangga Baru (1933-1942 Indonesian poet era)” who is so phenomenal.

While 700 meters to north of library lies Point 0 Km Pekanbaru, which is marked by Zapin monument, which is a monument with a malay women pattern and is right in middle of T-junction roundabout. While on street west side, there is a building known as “Menara Lancang Kuning“. Owned by Riau Provincial Government, this nine-story building functions as a joint office.

Menara Lancang Kuning.

12 years old, this building has a Sky Garden on top floor. Freely opened to local residents who want to relax and enjoy beautiful views of city from various sides.

My visitation that afternoon was enlivened by spill of a religious mass organization which was protesting in front of Governor’s Office. It seems they are protesting against state’s decision to dissolve this organization.

Therefore, I couldn’t freely enjoy charm of Zapin Monument uniqueness which its surrounding area was tightly closed by demonstrators presence.

Couldn’t step farther.

While on north side of Menara Lancang Kuning, there is an iconic building with typical Malay architecture. That is office of Riau Province Governor, a three-layer front-roofed building with “Selembayung” on each top and has upturned arches on front window. While just to its left is Riau Governor Office Mosque with a net-pattern metallic brown dome.

Quite spacious office

Back to south, before closing exploration in Pekanbaru, I found Bank Indonesia building. Unlike most Bank Indonesia building in other big cities which often use former Dutch buildings, Pekanbaru Bank Indonesia Building looks more like a modern building. Maybe, this is because Pekanbaru is a city which is actively developing, so every important building which is owned by the city is always completely new.

Bank Indonesia building is hiding behind trees shade.

My step this time will be the last step in my visitation in Pekanbaru, because next day I will leave for Bukittinggi.

It was time to go back to hotel and rest.

Goodbye Pekanbaru, welcome to Bukittinggi.

Heroic Story behind Putri Kaca Mayang Park

Bambu Runcing Monument.

A roundabout in southeast of An-Nur Great Mosque is decorated with a yellow pointed bamboo monument with background of University of Riau right behind it. I continued to direct my Canon EOS M10 towards the monument until an online motorcycle taxi driver came to call me.

Looked like I would spend the afternoon with local residents to enjoy city atmosphere in a Green Open Space on edge of the protocol road. From An-Nur Great Mosque, I headed south for 4 kilometers with a 15-minute motor driving.

Ten minutes to four I arrived. Dozens of people have drifted into quiet atmosphere of park even though roar of vehicle exhausts adorned sound color around it.

A park with background of The Premiere Hotel.

Unique, this park is divided by a shortcut which connects Jenderal Sudirman Street in east of park and Sumatera Street in its west. It is pinned a name as RTH Kaca Mayang Steet, it is short splitting along a hundred meter.

Three-legged concrete seating, three categories of modern trash can, mushroom shaped concrete canopy with green roof, a pair of sand playful area with up-down stairs which flank a theater area, small diameter trees as a sign that they are recently embedded, jogging track with continuous pattern of two halves of park and two small bridges over a fairly clean water flow are types of facility which are seated in this one hectare park. That is a brief description of Putri Kaca Mayang park that I can catch.

Putri Kacang Mayang park is one of eight Green Open Spaces in Pekanbaru which is known as the most child-friendly park. Regional government has to spend USD 45,000 to build this park.

Park naming itself is taken from a local fairytale which is believed to be the origin of Pekanbaru city. Putri Kaca Mayang is said to be described as a beautiful princess who was later kidnapped by a king from Atjeh who was hurt because his marriage proposal was rejected.

Commander Gimpam who is the strongest figure in Gisab Kingdom feels his pride was trampled by princess kidnapping, because King from Atjeh with a help from a traitor had managed to fool him who was preparing to wait for battle at city borderline, while his enemy managed to enter the kingdom through another very path secret.

Without long thinking, King Atjeh was chased alone by him. With his power, Commander Gimpam destroyed the entire enemy kingdom alone and finally princess was returned to him. But unfortunately, Princess didn’t survive returning to Gisab Kingdom because of falling ill on the way.

That is a story piece of Putri Kaca Mayang Park naming. Apparently, there is a classic story behind beauty of this city park.

Heading to An-Nur Great Mosque from Chinatown

I took a moment to close my eyes after I finished check-in process at Sri Indrayani Hotel. An uneasy night on a middle bench of INTRA Bus, continued for four hours on foot to explore Senapelan area had made my calf muscles exhausted and my eyes felt heavy.

My smartphone which was still charging, shouted to wake me up, exactly one hour before Asr Prayer. Prayer times was indeed an option as a starting marker for continuation of my journey in Pekanbaru. That was because I chose to visit the grandest mosque in the whole of Riau Province or it could be said as one of the grandest in the country.

No longer postpone for late lunch, I went through Chinatown along Dr. Leimena Street which isn’t far from my hotel gate, until I found a small restaurant which exposed fragrant spices and looked very crowded. Its entire seat in downstairs was almost full and without long thinking, I immediately occupied one seat in between.

Noodles with bean sprouts mixed with lontong (Indonesian compressed rice), shrimps, eggs and fragrant with a sprinkling of fried onions….Hmmh, delicious.

Slowly drinking a sweet-sour of cold-orange juice made my body felt cool for a moment in the middle of city heat. And right at a last sip, an online motorcycle taxi came to pick me up.

Heading southeast for three kilometers and arrive at the gate exactly twenty minutes before Asr Prayer arrived. So many police officers in mosque courtyard, it seemed to be securing an important agenda that afternoon. Every vehicle which entered mosque area didn’t escape from strict inspection.

Where are you going, Sir?” a young policeman which armed with long barrel gun said at entrance gate. “Asr prayer, Sir“, a password was so effective for passing the inspection.

It’s like the Taj Mahal, right?
Domes like an upside down “spinning top” and that palm trees….Hmmmhh, nice.

I hadn’t entered yet the mosque room. Busy in courtyard to enjoy the beauty of architecture which was presented in front of my eyes. A greeny dominant mosque which is a half of century old with large area which I estimate to be more than ten hectares….Really, very vast.

Just look at how spacious a parking lot side is?

The Mughals are still be dominant architectural style in it, its distinctive arches resembling arches of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb in Agra. While nuances around the mosque was slightly adopted Al-Masjidil Al-Haram atmosphere in Mecca and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi in Medina.

The Malay style is embedded to green color of main building, red color on tower ornaments and yellow gold color on interior ornament and calligraphy. Then the Malay custom is depicted on two levels of floor with veranda below. It adopts a concept of Malay’s houses on stilts.

Five pillars of Islam are symbolized by five domes and leadership of Prophet’s Caliph is represented on four towers.

Now I was preparing to Asr Prayer, purified myself on lower floor and then climbed stair by stair leading to main worship room on second floor. The atmosphere inside was so solemn, it made me feel grateful because I was still given an opportunity to visit this magnificent God house.

Six giant pillars with green color in base layer and white on top layer.

I made my sitting time so long in the back to enjoy this iconic religious tourism of Riau Province which is said able to accommodate almost five thousand worshipers.

Dome arch from inside.

This famous architectural creation in Pekanbaru can’t be separated from Kaharuddin Nasution cold hands, the second Riau Province Governor who moved Provincial Capital from Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island to Pekanbaru in the 1960s. Certainly, this displacement had consequences for him to facilitate religious activities of residents majority who in fact embraced Islam. That is why the Governor felt it was important to present An-Nur Great Mosque.

Cool……