My Journey to Semarang; A Cultural Melting Pot

One of the many perks of working for Female Daily that I truly enjoy is the chance to travel around Indonesia. After being invited by Warna Impian to attend Jotun Fun Carnival Day in Paragon Mall last June, I recently visited Semarang for another business trip. Together with some fellow journalists from Jakarta, we were invited to the exotic Martha Tilaar Enchanting IndOriental Beauty Journey.

Along with other cities in northern coast of Java, Semarang is widely known as a  melting pot of East Asian, European, and Indonesian cultures. It is home to many historical and cultural sites, where ancient and colonial monuments are preserved.  In this 3-day historical trip, Martha Tilaar Group didn’t only invite us for sightseeing, but also to taste the mouthwatering culinary and shop the finest Batik in town.

Right after we arrived at the Ahmad Yani Airport, we were welcomed by the “Gebyar Semarangan” dancers.

Our first destination was Sam Poo Kong Temple located in Simongan, southwest area of Semarang. Historically, there was a Chinese Moslem fleet commander, named Admiral Cheng Ho, who arrived in the western part of Semarang and disembarked from his ship in this area. The admiral found a stone cave in a  hillside and used it for prayer, therefore this temple also popular as Gedung Batu Temple. Although the commander was a Moslem, many  Chinese Indonesians believe that it is a temple rather than a masjid due to its Chinese architecture. This historical site is widely used as a memorial, place of worship for Chinese people, and a place of pilgrimage for many Moslems.

The lion dance (barongsai) performance in the temple

 

 

Can anybody interpret what my Chinese fortune stick says? :D


In this temple, myself along with 2 fellow journalists also took a memorable photograph wearing Chinese traditional costume. The photographer told us that it was similar to what the empresses wore during the Ming Dynasty.

Don’t you love the phoenix crowns that we wore on that day? It’s so festive!

 

On that rainy afternoon,  we also visited one of the biggest pagodas in Southeast Asia and the tallest one in Indonesia, Avalokitesvara Pagoda. This majestic pagoda is located in the complex of Vihara Buddha Gaya Watugong, in front of Makodam Diponegoro IV Semarang. Many people call this religious site as Kwan Im Pagoda, as there lies 20 statues of Goddess Kwan Im (Dewi Welas Asih) within that seven levels building.

 

 

Inside the pagoda

 

One of the many Goddess Kwan Im statues in Avalokitesvara Pagoda

 

The visit to those destinations made me love Semarang even more. Semarang and other cities in Central Java is truly, like what I’ve said before, a great melting pot. I really love how the assimilation of every element melts into a harmonious culture which is reflected in various traditional dances, wayangs, batik patterns, culinary, architectural styles, and historical sites. The beauty of Central Java also inspired Sariayu Martha Tilaar in creating its 27th Trend Warna: Pesisir Sentrajava – The Colors of Asia.

Actually, this wasn’t the first time Sariayu Martha Tilaar promoted Central Java on its Trend Warna. The very first Trend Warna collection in 1987, Senja di Sriwedari, was also inspired by wayang wong performance in Sriwedari Garden, Solo. For this Pesisir Sentrajava collection, Sariayu inspired by Lasem “The Little Tiongkok” with its Indo-Oriental culture and Karimun Jawa with its magnificent underwater garden.

 

Do you want to know more about this latest Trend Warna? Find out in my upcoming articles!