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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Fall asleep at Amaris Hotel Sriwedari

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I was still four kilometers from western boundary of Solo City. The air wasn’t as hot as midday earlier, now it was 14:15 hours and I had just finished exploring De’ Tjolomadoe Sugar Factory Museum. A portion of rawon and chocolate ice milk which I ate in the museum at least made me calmer and clearer thinking about the next stage of survey.

But it was been six hours since I left the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana in Pasar Kliwon area this morning. I decided to immediately do an check-in process at Amaris Hotel Sriwedari. That means, I have to head to the middle of Solo City again. I decided to take an online taxi.

Soon I ordered it. Until the online taxi which I was riding began to rush towards downtown. After rode twelve kilometers, I finally arrived in front of Amaris Hotel Sriwedari in thirty minutes.

Rahadian at reception desk.
Lobby.
View from guest room.

Rahadian immediately handled of check-in process at reception desk and I chose to enjoy a glass of orange juce as a welcome drink facility at this two-star hotel. We immediately entered the room and I decided to cool off myself under the shower.

I re-opened the itinerary which I had compiled in Jakarta. I took a deep breath, because there were still many agendas left to do. But before heading to the next place, I decided to take a moment to write down all important things which I have been getting since morning. I started to type all important things about Dawet Telasih Ice, Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, Jaladara Tourist Train, Balekambang Park, Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo and De ‘Tjolomadoe. That notes would be a survey report which was needed by Marketing Conference Event Section to determine conference form in more detail.

Sharing the task with Rahadian in compiling the report, made it faster for us to complete it. It took one hour to make a detailed review of six destinations and the report was completed after I sent it via email to Mr. Dedi who is the Chair of Event Section who was of course still in Jakarta.

Hotel restaurant.
Breakfast on next day.
Third Day in Solo City.

Feeling exhausted after twenty-two hours from the time of my arrival in Solo, I fell asleep beside my laptop which was still on. Looked like that Rahadian let me soundly sleep until a few moments later he started to wake me up.

Mr. Donny….Wake up !. Let’s take another survey. We still have many places to visit! ”, He lightly said with a light smile.

How long have I been asleep, Rahadian?”, I nervously said.

One hour, Sir”.

Oh Gosh, it’s late. Let’s go! ”, I jumped out of bed.

Almost five o’clock….I decided to pack up to go to next destination. I would head east for two blocks. This destination is in Keprabon area and only one kilometer from the hotel where I stayed.

Let me show you that place !.

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Solo Survey Started from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana

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Almost midnight….

The conversation spiced with an additional cup of latte with Mr. Arman in the lobby of Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences was still warm. Meanwhile, Rihsan, his second eight-year-old son, fell asleep on one side of sofa. I was sure that if it wasn’t ended, this conversation would end at dawn. Then I was the one who was responsible for closing this conversation.

Alright Mr. Arman, it’s time for me to excuse myself and rest at hotel“, I said as polite as possible after sipping the rest of my latte.

Oh, it’s almost midnight huh ?. Oh yes, where is Mr. Donny staying?”.

At Grand Amira Hotel, Sir Arman”.

Oh okay. Be careful on your way. See you again next time”.

The streets are deserted. To reduce safety risks, I decided to order a taxi online instead. Soon, I picked up by him. Then, the taxi drove through Honggowongso Street to Pasar Kliwon area. On my way, I tried to track down Rahadian on his way from Bandung to Solo. But my calls weren’t answered, my messages were unrequited, maybe he was sleeping on train.

Is Solo safe or not, sir if i ride a motorbike taxi at night?” I asked to driver to open the conversation.

Safe, Sir. In Solo, online motorcycle taxi runs for 24 hours. Don’t worry”.

Wow that means, tomorrow night I can stay up late in the city, Sir….Hahahaha“.

Culinary night, Sir Donny. Solo is a culinary centre. Culinary here has its own time. There are morning culinary delights, some are open at noon, now at night some are starting to open, Sir“, he briefly explained.

Wow, it’s unique. Culinary traders seem to have their respective sales time slots. Just like a deal….hahaha”, I began to admire the uniqueness of this city.

The taxi driver never knew that my goal to Solo was to do a culinary survey and found several culinary spots which would become a destination at my company’s Marketing Conference event. Tomorrow morning I would start in tasting every famous culinary dish of Batik City with Rahadian.

In 15 minutes, I arrived at the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. Modern minimalist hotel which was booked by my office. For me, Hotel with its cost about Rp. 335,000 per night had become a luxury hotel because I often used dormitories when doing backpacking. My steps in the lobby was greeted by a sweet smile from receptionist who seemed to hurry to standing when he saw my arrival.

Reception desk.
Hotel’s lobby.
My room.
My room.
My room.

“You come very night, Mr. Donny”, he briefly said.

Oh yes, Miss. I had to meet my old friend in Mangkubumen area. It had been fun conversation with him, Miss”, while I handed to her the booking confirmation letter and my ID card.

I see, but you don’t need to worry, our receptionist serves 24 hours, Sir“. Her smile looked sweety while giving a room key and payment receipt to me.

After that I rushed up to room with a lift to right behind of reception desk.

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Knock….Knock….Knock“, the sound seemed to have been going on from a few minutes ago.

Oh my God……

I was fast asleep and late to woke up.

Knock….Knock….Knock. Mr. Donny open, Sir!. This is Rahadian”, the voice softly sounded from outside.

It must have been since dark morning, Rahadian had arrived at hotel. I guess that he have waited for a long time in lobby. I saw on my smartphone a lot of missed calls from him. Some Whatsapp messages were unread.

I opened the door and Rahadian’s face was joking as if he was grumbling. “How is it, Sir. If I don’t go up to this room, you will definitely wake up in the middle of day. It’s bad, Mr. Donny”.

“Sorry, Rahadian. Last night, I met an old friend at Solo Paragon. So I was late to go to this hotel….Hahaha. You can shower first, we’ll have breakfast and do a survey”, I joked while rubbing my eyes and jumping back into bed.

Hotel’s restaurant.
Time to breakfast.
He is Rahadian.

This morning I would check out and move to Amaris Hotel in Sriwedari area. Rahadian and I deliberately brought a small and light backpack, so that after checking out, we could freely move without having to put anything at Amaris Hotel first.

Did you want to follow my culinary survey?.

Came on!….

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