The Story of Buddha’s Death at Watugong Pagoda

The moped was lauched with all its might by Titan heading south of the city. 15 kilometers away, 30 minutes in length. He said that I would be brought to the highest pagoda in Indonesia, in Pudakpayung area. Almost 12:00 hours, Titan and I arrived there, right on the edge of Perintis Kemerdekaan Street. Entering the gate, I just realized that it was a Buddhist monastery or worship complex, named Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong.

I passed a building with a roof shape which was similar to roof top at Grand Palace, Bangkok. If Grand Palace has a golden roof, this building will be brick red. This building is called Dhammasala Vihara. I started exploring it from top floor which was used as a multipurpose hall then entered its room in downstairs.

Dhammasala Vihara.
The first floor of Dhammasala Vihara is a praying room, decorated with a golden Buddha statue.

Leaving Dhammasala Vihara, I slowly approached second main section of monastery. This was what Titan meant earlier. The seven-story pagoda was with its nicknamed as Avalokitesvara Pagoda. Avalokitesvara itself comes from Sanskrit word “Avalokita” which means to hear down and “Isvara” which means sound. Meanwhile, Avalokitesvara in Chinese language is called by two words, namely “Kwan Im”. Meanwhile “Kwan Im” itself is a manifestation of compassion from Buddha.

Therefore, this temple is also known as Goddess Kwan Im Pagoda. Some people call it as Metakaruna Pagoda or Love Pagoda because of its existence to honor Kwan Sie Im Po Sat figure, Goddess of Love.

Sidharta Gautama statue under Bodhi Tree, a 65 year old Bodhi Tree.
Avalokitesvara Pagoda rises 45 meters in high.
Me dan Titan.
The 5 meter high statue of Goddess Kwan Im is located inside Avalokitesvara Pagoda.

Having finished walking around Avalokitesvara Pagoda which was guarded by God statues which arranged around each side on ground floor, I started exploring its courtyard and garden. There were twin gazebos with two layers of roofs which were used by visitors to sit and rest because they were tired after exploring vast monastery area.

Meanwhile, on other side of its courtyard was Sleeping Buddha Statue (Buddha Parinibbana), which reminded me when visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane exactly five months before my visitation to this monastery. Next to Sleeping Buddha Statue, lined Ariya Atthangika Magga Monument, which represented eightfold main path as a practice for attaining highest happiness (Nibbana).

Gazebo around pagoda.
Buddha Parinibbana which describes passing of Buddha between two Sala Trees.

I slowly started to leave Buddhagaya Vihara. 7 meters tall Ashoka Monument was also visible. A monument made from solid stone and had lion head. A meaning which is contained in this lion head is that no matter how wild a lion is, when we know its character, it will be easy to conquer.

And at the end, I passed Sanchi Gate and Watugong Monument. This gate is a replica of a gate in front of Sanchi Stupa at India. The gate was built as a symbol of respect when entering temple building.

Meanwhile, Watugong Monument was built to show origin of area name, i.e “Watugong”. The name was taken from an original natural stone in the form of a gong (Javanese musical instrument).

Almost finished in visiting.
Ashoka Monument to commemorate King Ashoka from India who obey in practicing Buddhism.
Watugong Monument and Sanchi Gate.

My visitation in Semarang had really ended. Titan would take me to Sleep & Sleep Capsule to pick up my backpack and supplies. After that I would go to Ahmad Yani International Airport and returned to Jakarta.

Thank you Semarang.

Eating Mangut at Kampung Pelangi

Kampung Pelangi Kalisari (Kalisari Rainbow Village) is three kilometers at south of Sleep & Sleep Capsule, which was a place to stay during my extended period in Semarang. At ten o’clock in the morning, I had driven through Imam Bonjol Street then continued to Pemuda Street, riding an online motorcycle taxi, I wanted to finish my curiosity about the beauty of a tourist village. By visiting “Kampung Pelangi Kalisari“, I don’t have to insist on going to Malang to enjoy the same beauty in “Kampung Jodipan” and “Kampung Tridi“, “Kali Code” in Yogyakarta or “Kampung Teluk Seribu” in Balikpapan.

Last night, I also contacted an old friend who life in Semarang, his name is Titan. It so happened that he took the time to meet up. We agreed to meet in Kampung Pelangi. He would take me around Semarang on his motorbike. Just see in next article, where I would be brought by him.

Arriving at destination, I took time to look for breakfast in a stall complex which was located along the contour of Semarang River which separated Dr. Sutomo Street with houses in Kampung Pelangi. I ate Rice with Mangut (processed smoked stingray, typical from Pati City) very heartily.

A row of stalls at Kampung Pelangi Kalisari front gate.
Pati’s typical “Mangut” cuisine.

I started to enter Kampung Pelangi through a small arch patterned bridge. On this bridge, existence of Flower Market and Kasmaran Park had been informed to tourists through a signpost. Meanwhile, Semarang River looked neat with presence of colorful painted river wall, complete with sidewalk right on river side.

I started to enter Kampung Wonosari (the real name of Kampung Pelangi) through a sloping alley with colored pavling blocks, decorated with colorful umbrellas which provided shade from the sun, rows of flower pots made every aisle looked beautiful and information boards were placed at consistent distance. At some points of climb, a break point was provided in the form of a concrete seat, allowing some climbers who were tired to rest temporarily.

The bridge before entering Kampung Pelangi.
Semarang river.
Pedestrian path.
Information board with location map.

When I reached at hill top, precisely below at a giant signboard “Kampung Pelangi“, there was a burial complex called “Taman Bahagia Wirawati Catur Panca“. This public cemetery was history of Kampung Pelangi origin. It was said, initially, Kampung Pelangi area was designated as a public burial area. But then some residents came and established settlements around this cemetery until it became crowded today.

I didn’t know where the end of road, some tourists got off their vehicles in a parking area. Meanwhile, some residents were lightly chatting at a coffee shop, showing me where the best vantage point to see the city from a height. Show the hands of coffee connoisseurs, located in an open attic belonging to a resident, which when I climbed it made my gaze was brightened by city view without any obstacles.

“Taman Bahagia” cemetery.
Kampung Pelangi” giant signboard

When I was enjoying a nice view of city without sun’s rays, came to the same attic, Mr. Asep from Bogor City. Similarly, he was also currently extending in Semarang after his out-of-town assignment as a Civil Servant. Suddenly I got a traveling companion and a warm conversation was inevitable. I admired him as a person who was young at heart, had same habits as me, it turned out that his hobby was traveling by taking advantage from every moment of his duty at out of town.

Titan finally called me using his smartphone. He was waiting at front gate, where I first entered Kampung Pelangi an hour ago. Immediately, I finished our conversation that was having fun. The surprise was, Mr. Asep preferred to come down with me and continued our conversation while we descended from Kampung Pelangi.

Towards the highest attic in Kampung Pelangi.
Amazing view from top of Kampung Pelangi.
Come on, Donny!. I can take your photo, for your travel memories!” Pak Asep volunteered.

I was at bottom of Kampung Pelangi. Saying goodbye to Mr. Asep, my gaze began to sweep across sides to find Titan. “Over here, Donny!“, Titan called me. Oh, he was sitting at a coffee shop. Meeting with my second old friend in Semarang after last night I also met Ezra.

I left Kampung Pelangi in back seat of Titan’s motorbike. I was ready to go to next destination.

Exploration Stuck in Pahlawan Street Fountain

After dinner at Ayam Pak Supar Semarang food stall, Ezra said goodbye to go home. He said, it took thirty minutes to reach his home. While, the night showed on 22:30 hours. Our conversation material had also ran out. He offered to take me back to Sleep & Sleep Capsule. Thinking troublesome, I subtly refuse it. Finally I just asked to be dropped off at a place where was still busy on his way to home, so I wouldn’t troublesome him.

I quickly took a ride on his blue manual motorcycle. A few moments later, the motorbike started to slow down and he lowered me on a side of sidewalk which was wide enough, full of young people who sitting together at several points, interspersed with roving coffee sellers along the sidewalk.

Here, Donny, the busiest place on my way to go home. Do you want to get off here? ”Ezra said after stopping his motorbike.

OK, just here. I’ll have a coffee first before going back to hotel, Ezra”, I assured him so he could go home. Then I sat on a concrete dividing, then ordered a glass of instant coffee. How does it feel, if you are an original coffee connoisseur, and then you have to hang out with drinking instant coffee… .Hahaha. Never mind, the important thing was I could enjoy the night.

Semarang Telkomsel office in Mugassari area.
A side of Pahlawan Street.

Having not finished yet drinking coffee in a glass and enjoying youth people activities in front of Semarang Telkomsel Office, one or two drops of water began to fall from the sky. A sign that the city would soon be pouring by rain.

I looked around for shelter in case it really rained. I saw in north, there was a stage where several people seemed to be crowded around it. Without thinking I immediately rushed there.

It was true, drops of sky water had risen to next level be a gentle drizzle. It took time to order a taxi online, before getting soaked, I better took shelter. I quickly climbed the stage to save myself from heavy rain.

It turned out that this stage would be used to welcome Governor of Central Java in a Healthy Walk event to commemorate the Anniversary of KORPRI (Indonesian Civil Servants Corps). Finally, rain poured down very hard, even though I was on roofed stage, still some parts of my body was wet because rainwater was swept away by strong winds in all directions.

Even 45 minutes I waited for the rain without being able to fulfill my initial intention to explore along this protocol road. The main street in Semarang which was very famous for routine Car Free Day agenda. I only got bonus for enjoying color show at a fountain at an intersection between Pahlawan Street and Imam Bardjo SH Street.

Celebration stage.
Roundabout at Pahlawan Street.
Fountain at Pahlawan Street.
Fountain at Pahlawan Street.

By midnight, Pahlawan Street was helpless in the rain. All sides were deserted. Finally I decided to immediately return to hotel for rest. This was my last night in Semarang before returning to Jakarta on tomorrow afternoon. But I still have time to explore Semarang until noon on next day.

Sky Show at Semarang Marina Beach

In the afternoon, on my third day in Semarang, I finally created an opportunity to watch an earth show which was often sought by sky color enthusiasts….Yups, sunset.

I quickly drove from Sleep & Sleep Capsule in Dadapsari area after putting all my equipments and backpack. Using an online taxi i.e orange maroon Calya (Cayla is a brand of Toyota in Indonesai), Mr. Muchlis and I headed for Marina Beach in Tawangsari area. A young driver continued to show off his rearview mirror which was modified into a reverse camera and a road recording camera….Even though it was only a camera made in China, the price was USD 30….Hahaha.

Driving for about six kilometers in fifteen minutes, I arrived at Marina Beach gate. Passing a post and paying an entrance ticket for about USD 0.4, I was dropped off in right at beach parking area. One problem was cellphone signal didn’t get caught in beach area. “Wahhh, bad news, when I will get back, I have to quite walk far outside beach area to order an online motorcycle taxi“, I thought.

Origin direction into the beach.
Beach parking area.

It was already 17:30 hours, but the beach still stung. The sun still showed its might in that open area. To reduce the heat, I sat on a bench under a tree while enjoying coconut ice directly from its shell. Let the sun still shined and I would start to enjoy it when it started to down.

It still stings.

The sun which had started to fall, prompted me to get up and stepped on concrete embankment area as well as pedestrian area which was still reinforced by giant rocks in shoreline. Making this beach could no longer show its natural beauty.

Young people were seen sitting on giant stones, dating, taking selfies, or contemplating their fate in the midst of the characteristic wave ripples. Meanwhile, little childrens run along concrete pedestrian.

Big rocks as waves breaker.

Another sights were firmly planted fishing charts along coast, while offshore, an island-like land decorated with neatly parked fast boats, was West Marina Beach area.

To watched sunset with a perfect viewpoint, I moved closer to beach part which facing west. There were rows of angler who remained focused with their fishing rods along reclaimed pedestrian, which on this side was covered with paving blocks which made shoreline looked more artsy. Meanwhile, beverage and food stall were busy serving their customers who occupy benche rows and got ready to enjoy nature show. In southern part, Marina Convention Center looked dashing blue, giving impression that Marina Beach had been exposed to technology and modernization.

This was the best spot to enjoy the dusk.

I started to take a tripod, aimed my smartphone towards the sun which began to clearly round and slowly turned into orange color. Youth people from north of coast began to move to take up their best position on west of coast. Meanwhile Mr. Muchlis looked more relax, sitting and enjoying a portion of “lontong” (rice roll). Meanwhile, I just sat cross-legged right on beach side, next to my smartphone camera which was working to capture that special moment.

Extraordinary show.
He started hiding.
Welcome evening.…

Sleep & Sleep Capsule: Cheap Lodging in Semarang

Good morning….The last dawn at The Azana Hotel Airport.

According my business trip schedule, I should return to the capital city this afternoon. Of course, on 12:00 that afternoon, I had to check out of The Azana Hotel Airport. Because training would finish on 14:00, before I went to Bukit Semarang Baru area to handle the training, I immediately handed over my room key while leaving all my belongings at reception desk.

This second day of training went very smoothly and was finished on time. One by one, all participants withdrew to return to their respective cities. I immediately returned to The Azana Hotel Airport, to picked up my items.

You certainly already know my behavior….Yups, I deliberately extended my visitation to Atlas City with my own expense. Now, I was ready to behave again like a backpacker. I would move to a hostel for USD 3 per night. And because Mr. Muchlis, who would back to home on 19:00 hours, he finally followed my steps.

Taking an online taxi, I headed to Sleep & Sleep Capsule in Dadapsari area. The online taxi driver seemed to know about this cheap capsule hotel, was able to read my intend for visiting Semarang, so my conversation with him automatically warmed up in backpacking realm.

I was dropped off at Imam Bonjol Street, right in AKI University courtyard. It wasn’t difficult to find Sleep & Sleep Capsule, because its name inscription was very large on university wall. A small canopy corridor led me to a door with size of an alley which directly opposite the reception desk.

Entrance corridor.
Reception desk.

Having paid the hotel cost through Agoda.com, a female reception staff only asked for my ID Card to match the data. Although minimalist, this hotel looked very neat and modern with the concept of activities at an airport. The lobby wall interior was designed like an airplane window side, complete with its airplane seats. Meanwhile, the flow of guest traffic in the lobby area was limited by floor design of airport asphalt. The entire lobby was dominated by yellow, brown, white and gray….Very nice.

Lobby.
Shared spaces.
Shared spaces.

Meanwhile, each guest would get a locker which was placed in a separate room from bedroom. I noticed a lot of guests who put their laptops and some educational institution paperworks in their locker, I then concluded that they were students who were studying. I didn’t know whether they prefer this capsule hotel type to live in or they only stayed overnight because of overtime work on campus. This was possible because this hotel was located next to AKI University.

Locker corridor.

I immediately put my backpack in my capsule room, in the top level in bunk bed. I immediately put my traveling equipments in my folding bag to bring it to my next destination that afternoon. Frankly speaking, this was my first time, I had slept in a capsule room. Usually I chose a regular dormitory.

There is a slight difference between capsule and dormitory. Capsules have a border while dormitory tends to feel more relieved because it don’t have a border.

Because capsule number in this room are 42 capsules, it wasn’t wonder that the capsule room was very noisy when bedtime approached. It was certain that among these 42 people were expert in snoring and would disturb others in the night….Hahaha. The commotion would return in the morning because people scrambled to shower. They seemed to pursue their respective affairs as early as possible. So do I.

Bedroom.
My capsule.

The toilet was at the end of capsule room. The sink, urinal and shower were in separate rooms. Even though it was used for 42 guests in one room, the bathroom still looked clean and smell good. It seemed that these guests have experienced in living here, maybe students have subscribed to stay at this capsule hotel.

Bathroom.
Bathroom.

Well, who want to stay in a capsule type hotel like me?……Hahaha.