Three Malay Dances at Merdeka Walk

After tasting Waroenk Nenek’s pecel lele (fried catfish with chili sauce), the sky looked occasionally throwing lightning. As if announcing to earth inhabitants that soon it would drop rain which it couldn’t hold anymore.

It seems I never heeded the announcement. The green button “Order GoRide” has already been touched and invited a online taxibike driver to appear in front of me in 4 minutes. Motorizing along 4.5 km, I got off at right in front of “Pos Indonesia” building. “Anno 1911” was precisely wrote above a old window with four columns and three rows shutters, had became a birth certificate of the building, it is meaning that the building is 109 years old now.

The colorful gates of Merdeka Walk which are only 150 meters from my dropping point, I approached it by walk. This time, I passed next old building which had become “Bank Indonesia” office and next to it I found an elegant Old City Hall which was doused in yellow spotlights from its roof.

Arrive at a big T-junction, right in front is my next destination and at the south side is “Bank Mandiri” Building.
Old City Hall in north of Bank Mandiri.

I slowly tread into Medan’s culinary center. Large trees became the first sight which catched my eye’s attention. How shady it would be if I arrived at noon, the assumption which I immediately imagined.

Let’s come in!….Don’t just stare.

Long rows of tables and chairs which were arranged lengthwise following restaurants direction which lined up parallel to Balai Kota Street greet me. I wasn’t counting but I heard that Merdeka Walk provided 700 seats for visitors.

Hang out there seemed good.

This place also provides menu variety from Asian food to European food. But yes, that’s how I am, you can certainly guess….I never once sat and tasted food in this place.

Sitting there is fun also…Looks like again.

Two Merdeka Walk restaurant sides will be centered in a field area called the Center Piece. That night, this area was transformed into a red carpeted stage which was functioned as a catwalk. Loud music delivered by backstage sound system was welcomed by swinging footsteps in one straight line. Child models were able to stylish like an adult and experienced models.

At the Center Piece there was also a local TV shooting activity.

Not long after, the sky really poured heavy rain. I couldn’t imagine, they who quickly sipped hot coffee or they who chewed their food which have just been served with a high tempo too….amused to see it. While me?…. Easy…. Just ran away and took shelter in an closed restaurant then waited for rain until finished.

What’s behind of Merdeka Walk?

The night began to move, in the soft drizzle I went down some stairs at back of Merdeka Walk to saw activities at Merdeka Square. It seemed that this field is an children choice area which allowed them to free run around or just drove around in cars which were glittering with colorful lights.

Medan Hall.

Then my steps came to a large hall where several families gathered while laying mats and enjoying dinner together with a dinner basket from home. A harmonious family.

And when I intended to end my visit on Merdeka Walk, I hear a faint Malay music which was followed by someone’s voice which I guessed as MC. The sound was sourced from north. I rushed over

It turned out to be a free performance of Malay dance.

For a moment I enjoyed three Malay dances which were held right in front of the yellowish green “Tourist Service” building.

Beautiful closing night in Medan because on next day I would go to Toba Lake….I couldn’t wait.

10 Tourist Attractions in Medan

I’ve never given brain a slightest chance to think long. Riding a motorcycle taxi, I sayid “sayonara” to Amplas Terminal which seems unwilling to be left behind by visitor who are willing to take time to know about it.

15 minutes later, I already alighted at Medan’s main destination. They are:

1. Maimun Palace

The palace whose name means “blessing” has served for nearly 130 years in representing a greatness of Deli Sultanate. This palace was constructed as a sign of kingdom’s capital shifting from Labuhan to Medan.

Yellow is a distinctive Malay color that symbolizes wisdom.

Redeem an entrance ticket worth USD 0.37, I explored every corner of the palace and continued to admire every detail of the fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. Five hectares of palace area makes anyone freely enjoy beauty of the palace from various points of view.

Next destination is only 2 minutes by walking, which is:

2. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Located in west of palace, this octagonal sacred building majestically stands in passing time. This fenomenal creation by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam implies that he prioritizes grandeur of the mosque rather than the palace where he lives.

Its marble was directly imported from Italy.

Right on Dzuhur prayer time, I took time to mingle with local people to taste the coolness of this 110 years old mosque. The grandeur of mosque is a marker of prosperity of Deli Sultanate in its time.

Don’t leave an area around the palace and mosque because there is still one more place which is believed to be a relic of Deli Sultanate, namely:

3. Sri Deli Park

Stepping for about 100 meters to north of mosque, I was arriving in the park. To absorbed its historical value, I tried to imagine being a Sultan’s son who was relaxing in afternoon then taking a bath in the trapezoid pool which is located in the middle of park.

Park which can reduce city’s heat.

This park was as a closing exploration to remember the glory of Malay under the leadership of Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (the title of Sultan Deli).

4. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Continuing to walk to north, within 800 meters I found a giant water tank which is owned by PDAM (stands for Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) Tirtanadi in North Sumatra Province. This giant water tank has long been a tourist landmark for the city.

Don’t look at its old face but look at its role.

Who would think that this red and white water tank was made by Netherlands Colonialism at beginning of 20th century. According to the meaning of its Sanskrit name, Tirtanadi has a vital role in supplying clean water needs of townspeople since it was first built until now.

Do you know the meaning of “Tirtanadi” word?….Yups, Tirta means water and Nadi means life.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera (Money Museum of Sumatra)

Let’s take more step!….

About 300 meters at west of Tirtanadi Water Tower, I found a various forms of money collection from several eras in a museum which its establishment was initiated by a money collector named Saparudin Barus.

Even money from Deli Sultanate era was still well preserved.

This museum doesn’t have an entrance ticket. It’s just that museum will give souvenirs in the form of 2 old coins with a hole in the middle and is valued for about USD 0.74.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

This time, I stopped at another important destination in Medan. This is a house which is owned by rich trader of Chinese descent who had a major role in city development. This benefactor is Tjong A Fie. And the remain aside from his greatness name is her house where he lives.

Every room in Tjong A Fie’s house has a special function that fascinates me.

I was willing to pay an entrance ticket for USD 2.6. But that value paid off once I understood about its story that explaining each side of the house and traced Tjong A Fie’s career in growing his business and build Medan.

7. Madras Village

There was no authentic reason which I could explain why I had to visit Madras Village. One simple reason, it was a domino effect because I stayed at Dazhong Backpacker Hostel in the center of Madras Village.

Mingling with Indian descent citizens.

Madras is taken from the name of an area in South India which is the ancestors origin of Indian Tamil descent residents.

8. Waroenk Nenek

After meeting up with my friend in city, the darkness persuaded me to return to hotel. But the hunger that was unstoppable, made me to looking for dinner before I actually arrived at hotel.

Bonus destination.

Then I arrived at a restaurant with its slogan “Semua Ada” at Patimura Street. One portion of fried catfish with sambal which was served by beautiful waitress in hijab became the most beautiful gift that night.

9. Merdeka Walk

Fresh after dinner made me canceling to back to hotel. I was adding to one destination again by visiting the city’s culinary and entertainment center which is usualli called eMWe.

Drizzle started to fall when I arrived.

Created in 2005 and able to accommodate 700 visitors at one time making this place as a favorite destination when weekend arrives. Especially for young people who want to relax after working hard all week.

10. Medan Hall.

It’s still one area with Merdeka Walk which occupies at one side of Merdeka Square. This hall will be the center of Medan square in the future after revitalization which is being designed by city government.

At 21:00 hours, the hall still had visitors.

Availability of parks around the hall makes this place very crowded with activities variety from just gathering with family, sports or activities of several young communities.

That was a quick visit in Medan that made me want to back there again.

Tiga Tarian Melayu di Merdeka Walk

Selepas mencicip pecel lele khas Waroenk Nenek, langit terlihat sesekali melempar kilat. Seakan mengumumkan kepada penduduk bumi bahwa sebentar lagi dia akan menjatuhkan hujan yang tak mampu ditahannya lagi.

Sepertinya aku tak pernah mengindahkan pengumuman itu. Tombol hijau “Order GoRide” sudah terlanjur kusentuh dan mengundang pengendaranya hadir dihadapanku dalam 4 menit. Bermotor sepanjang 4.5 km, aku turun tepat didepan gedung Pos Indonesia. “Anno 1911” tertulis tepat diatas jendela tua dengandaun kolom empat baris tiga, telah menjadi akta lahir gedung itu, artinya usianya telah beranjak 109 tahun.

Gerbang warna-warni Merdeka Walk yang hanya berjarak 150 meter dari titik turun, kudekati dengan berjalan kaki. Kali ini aku melewati gedung tua berikutnya yang telah menjadi kantor Bank Indonesia dan disebelahnya lagi kutemukan Old City Hall yang elegan tersiram lampu tembak berwarna kuning dari atapnya.

Tibalah di pertigaan besar, tepat di depan adalah destinasiku berikutnya dan di seberang selatan itu adalah Gedung Bank Mandiri.
Old City Hall di Utara Bank Mandiri

Perlahan aku menapak memasuki pusat kuliner kota Medan. Pepohonan besar menjadi pemandangan pertama yang menarik perhatian mata. Betapa rindangnya jika tiba di siang hari, perandaian yang kubayangkan seketika.

Yuk lah, masuk!….Jangan bengong aja donk.

Deretan panjang meja dan kursi diatur memanjang mengikuti arah tenant yang berbaris sejajar dengan Jalan Balai Kota menyambutku. Tak menghitung tapi mendengar bahwa Merdeka Walk menyediakan 700 kursi untuk para pengunjung.

Nongkrong disitu enak deh kayaknya.

Tempat ini juga menyediakan variasi menu dari makanan Asia hingga ala Eropa. Tapi ya begitulah diriku, kamu pasti bisa menebaknya….Aku tak pernah sekalipun duduk dan mencicipi makanan di tempat ini.

Duduk situ juga asekkk….Sepertinya lagi.

Kedua sayap tenant Merdeka Walk akan berpusat pada satu area lapang yang disebut Center Piece. Malam itu, area ini disulap menjadi sebuah panggung berkarpet merah yang berfungsi sebagai jalur catwalk. Musik keras yang dihantarkan oleh sound system di belakang panggung di sambut dengan ayunan langkah kaki-kaki kecil dalam satu garis lurus. Model-model cilik itu mampu bergaya bak model dewasa dan berpengalaman.

Di Center Piece juga sedang ada aktivitas syuting TV lokal.

Tak berselang lama, langit benar-benar menumpahkan hujan dengan derasnya. Tak kubayangkan, mereka yang menyeruput kopi panasnya dengan cepat atau mereka yang mengunyah hidangan yang baru saja disajikan dengan tempo tinggi pula….Geli melihatnya. Sementara aku?….Gampang….Tinggal lari dan berteduh di sebuah tenant kosong lalu menunggu hujan selesai.

Ada apa di belakang Merdeka Walk?.

Malam semakin beranjak, dalam gerimis lembut aku menuruni anak tangga di bagian belakang Merdeka Walk untuk melihat aktivitas di Lapangan Merdeka. Sepertinya lapangan ini menjadi area pilihan buat anak-anak yang memungkinkan baginya untuk berlarian dengan lega atau sekedar berkendara keliling dengan mobil-mobilan yang bergemerlap lampu warna-warni.

Pendopo.

Kemudian langkahku sampai pada sebuh pendopo besar dimana para beberapa keluarga berkumpul sembari menggelar tikar dan menikmati makan malam bersama dengan bekal rantang dari rumah. Sungguh keluarga harmonis.

Dan ketika bermaksud mengakhiri kunjungan di Merdeka Walk, aku mendengar sayup musik melayu yang selang beberapa waktu terdengar suara seseorang yang kuduga adalah MC. Suara itu bersumber dari utara. Aku pun bergegas menghampiri

Ternyata pertunjukan gratis tarian Melayu.

Sejenak aku menikmati 3 buah tarian Melayu yang diselenggarakan tepat di depan Bangunan “Tourist Service” yang berwarna hijau kekuningan.

Malam penutup yang indah di Medan karena keesokan harinya aku akan menuju Danau Toba….Tak sabar rasanya.

10 Destinasi Medan: Sebentar yang Merindukan.

Aku tak pernah memberi kesempatan sedikitpun terhadap otak untuk berfikir panjang. Menunggang ojek online, aku mengucap sayonara pada Terminal Amplas yang sepertinya tak rela ditinggal pengunjung yang sudi meluangkan waktu untuk mengenalnya.

15 menit kemudian, aku sudah hinggap di destinasi utama kota Medan. Tak lain lagi dialah:

1. Istana Maimun

Istana yang namanya bermakna “Berkah” ini telah berjasa selama hampir 130 tahun merepresentasikan agungnya Kesultanan Deli. Dibangunnya istana ini sekaligus sebagai penanda berpindahnya ibukota kerajaan dari Labuhan ke Medan.

Kuning adalah warna khas Melayu yang melambangkan kebijaksanaan.

Menebus tiket masuk bernilai Rp. 5.000, aku menjelajah setiap sudut istana dan terus mengagumi setiap detail perpaduan arsitektur India, Timur Tengah dan Eropa. Lima hektar area istana membuat siapa saja leluasa menikmati keindahan istana dari berbagai sisi pandang.

Destinasi berikutnya hanya berjeda 2 menit dengan berjalan kaki, yaitu:

2. Masjid Raya Al Mashun

Terletak di barat istana, bangunan suci bersegi delapan ini berdiri megah tak bergeming melintas masa. Karya fenomelal milik Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam ini menyiratkan bahwa beliau lebih mengutamakan keagungan masjid dibanding istana tempat tinggalnya.

Marmernya didatangkan langsung dari Italia

Tepat waktu Dzuhur, aku menyempatkan diri berbaur dengan masyarakat Medan untuk mencicipi sejuknya hawa masjid tua berusia 110 tahun tersebut. Kemegahan masjid merupakan penanda kemakmuran Kesultanan Deli di masanya.

Jangan beranjak dulu dari area sekitar istana dan masjid karena masih ada satu tempat lagi yang diyakini sebagai peninggalan Kesultanan Deli, yaitu:

3. Taman Sri Deli

Melangkah 100 meter ke utara masjid, aku telah hadir di pusat taman.  Untuk meresapi nilai sejarahnya, aku mencoba membayangkan menjadi putra Sultan yang sedang bersantai di sore hari kemudian membasuh badan di kolam trapesium yang terletak di tengah taman.

Taman yang mampu meredam panas kota.

Taman ini menjadi penutup eksplorasi mengenang kejayaan Melayu dibawah pimpinan Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (gelar Sultan Deli).

4. Menara Air Tirtanadi

Terus berjalan mengambil arah utara, dalam 800 meter aku menemukan tandon air raksasa milik PDAM Tirtanadi Provinsi Sumatera Utara. Penampung air raksasa ini telah lama menjadi wisata landmark kota.

Jangan lihat wajah tuanya tapi lihat perannya.

Siapa sangka toren belang merah putih ini adalah buatan Belanda  di permulaan abad 20. Sesuai makna nama Sansekertanya, Tirtanadi memiliki peranan vital dalam mensuplai kebutuhan air bersih warga kota sejak pertama kali dibangun hingga kini.

Tahu kan arti kata Tirtanadi?….Yups, Tirta berarti air dan Nadi bermakna kehidupan.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera

Ayo melangkah lagi !….Tanggung nih.

Sekitar 300 meter di barat Tirtanadi Tower, aku menemukan koleksi berbagai rupa uang dari berbagai zaman dalam sebuah museum yang pendiriannya diinisiasi oleh seorang kolektor uang bernama Saparudin Barus.

Bahkan uang dari zaman Kesultanan Deli pun masih tersimpan dengan baik

Museum ini tidak bertiket masuk. Hanya saja mereka akan memberikan souvenir berupa 2 uang koin dengan lubang ditengah dan dihargai Rp. 10.000.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

Kali ini, aku singgah di destinasi penting lain kota Medan. Ini adalah rumah saudagar kaya raya keturunan Tiongkok yang mempunyai peran besar dalam pembangunan kota. Sang dermawan ini bernama Tjong A Fie. Dan yang tersisa selain dari kebesaran namanya adalah rumah tempat tinggal beliau.

Setiap ruang dalam rumah Tjong A Fie memiliki fungsi khusus yang membuatku terkagum.

Aku rela membayar tiket masuk seharga Rp. 35.000. Tetapi nilai itu terbayar lunas begitu memahami cerita tempoe doeloe yang membahas setiap sisi rumah dan menapak tilas kiprah Tjong A Fie dalam membesarkan bisnis dan membangun Medan.

7. Kampung Madras

Tak ada alasan shahih yang bisa kujelaskan mengapa aku harus mengunjugi Kampung Madras. Satu alasan sederhana saja, itu adalah efek domino karena aku menginap di Dazhong Backpacker’s Hostel yang berada di pusat Kampung Madras.

Berbaur dengan warga keturunan India!

Madras diambil dari nama sebuah daerah di India Selatan yang merupakan asal nenek moyang warga Medan keturunan India Tamil.

8. Waroenk Nenek

Selesai bertemu teman dekat di Medan, gelapnya hari membujuk untuk kembali ke hotel.  Tetapi badai lapar yang tak terbendung , membuatku terpaksa mencari makan malam sebelum aku benar-benar sampai di hotel.

Destinasi bonus.

Hinggaplah langkah di sebuah rumah makan bermoto “Semua Ada”  di bilangan Jalan Patimura. Seporsi pecel lele yang disuguhkan oleh dara-dara cantik berhijab menjadi hadiah terindah malam itu.

9. Merdeka Walk

Segarnya badan setelah makan malam membuatku urung kembali ke hotel. Aku menambah kembali koleksi dengan mengunjungi pusat kuliner dan hiburan kota yang biasa dipanggil eMWe.

Gerimis mulai turun ketika aku tiba.

Dibuat pada 2005 dan mampu menampung 700 pengunjung dalam satu waktu menjadikan tempat ini sebagai destinasi favorit saat weekend tiba. Terutama buat anak-anak muda yang ingin melepas penat setelah berkerja padat sepanjang minggu

10. Pendopo Kota Medan

Masih satu area dengan Merdeka Walk yang menempati salah satu sisi Lapangan Merdeka. Pendopo ini akan menjadi pusat alun-alun kota Medan di masa depan pasca revitalisasi yang sedang dirancang oleh pemerintah kota.

Jam 21:00 pun pendopi masih kedatangan pengunjung.

Ketersediaan taman di sekitar pendopo menjadikan tempat ini ramai akan berbagai aktivitas dari sekedar berkumpul bersama keluarga, berolah raga ataupun aktivitas beberapa komunitas muda Medan.

Itulah kunjungan kilat di Medan yang membuatku rindu untuk kembali.