Gatokaca and Pregiwa Romanticism in Sriwedari Park

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Sriwedari Park gate.

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.

Hangout place in front of Sriwedari Park.
Gatotkaca and Pregiwa statue.

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.

Note:

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.

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A Project at Loji Gandrung Front Yard.

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Loji Gandrung

Have you ever visited Merdeka Palace? Or visit DKI Jakarta City Hall? Yes, these two important places in Jakarta often offer visiting tours.

So, what about Solo City?

Yups, Solo City also has a similar tour. A place which has become attention center for this tourism type is Loji Gandrung, An official residence of Solo’s Mayor which is located on south side of Slamet Riyadi Street.

The night went on, it was almost nine o’clock in evening when I finished in designing a Marketing Conference teaser. Luckily, I got help from a design staff in Jakarta. I have also sent that teaser to Whatsapp number and email of all prospective Marketing Conference participants.

Now, I thought again about next destination. My task this time was to choose several destinations along Jaladara Tourist Train line which be rented by event comittee to get around Solo City on second day of Marketing Conference. So in remaining time, before it got too late, I would survey at least three tourist attractions which were located nearby each other.

I immediately ordered a taxi online, then drove to downtown. I moved south for five kilometers from Manahan area to Laweyan area.

Loji Gandrung, Sir!”, I asked online taxi driver.

Wow, it had closed, Sir

Oh, it’s okay, Sir. I just want to find information there”.

Oh well, Sir. Loji Gandrung is indeed popular in Solo City, Sir. In the past, President Soekarno often stayed at Loji Gandrung when he visited Solo”.

Wow, it’s cool, Sir“, I started to be stunned by a story from that young driver.

Our conversation topic progressed to several things, until driver hit brake just across Loji Gandrung gate.

Loji Gandrung gate.

Without hesitation, I entered the gate. It seemed that renovation was underway at Loji Gandrung front yard. I just saw the top end of a bronze statue whics was tightly covered by a row of project boards. My arrival made a security out of his post and swiftly directed his steps towards me.

What do you need, Sir?. Sorry this is a city government building. It’s forbidden to carelessly enter the yard”, he admonished.

Oh sorry, sir. I just want to find information

What information, Sir?”

Sir, we will rent Jaladara Train and intend to make this place as a tourist destination on train route. Can I know the procedure, so that I along with event participants can visit this historic place, sir?”

Wow, the licensing is a little tight, Sir because it’s being renovated. But you may submit a formal application and is addressed to Head of Household Department. Hopefully on the event date, you can be allowed to enter”.

Oh good, Sir. I hope so“.

I looked around. This Loji Gandrung building had a very classic architecture. There was a blend of European and Javanese architecture. Thick European walls were covered with a typical Javanese roof. The front and back yard of the building was wide with several trees.

I realized that what was in front of me was a government building and I couldn’t stay long in that place. I must immediately go and empathize to security by did’t disturbed the comfort of that place.

Before I stepped out of Loji Gandrung yard. I was still intrigued by project mystery around front yard. Finally, I ventured to ask to securiry.

“Sir, whose statue is blocked by this project board?”

“Oh, that’s a statue of General Gatot Subroto, Sir”.

I said thank to secutiry because he had accepted me well even though he only talked for no more than fifteen minutes.

Why should it be General Gatot Subroto statue?……..

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