Tsulasa', 07 Sya'ban 1439 (Monday, 23 April 2018 01:54)

Yogyakarta City - D.I. Yogyakarta - Indonesia

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A. Overview

One of hangout spots tourists must visit in the City of Gudeg, Yogyakarta, is the South Square, better known as Alun-alun Kidul (Alkid). The vast space in the back of the Royal Palace has become the town landmark. Its existence clings to the hearts of Yogyakarta people. Every morning, there are usually people doing sports, from gymnastics, jogging, to biking. In the afternoon, it is the turn for kids and parents to occupy the area. While at night, Alkid is full with groups of teenagers.

Even though the area is only a wide grassy yard with two big banyan trees in the center, Alkid has become a magnet for people. One of the attractions is the Masangin tradition, walking through the middle of the banyan trees. According to people’s belief, anyone can get through the passage in between the trees with eyes closed, his/her wish will be granted.

Based on the word of mouth, Masangin tradition originated from a rite performed by the Royal Family. In the past, every Suro 1st (the first day of a year in Javanese calendar) and birthday anniversary of Yogyakarta Sultanate, the royal family performed the rite of Topo Bisu, a walking rite surrounding the Benteng (stronghold) of the Royal Palace. Finishing the first rite, the next thing to do was, with eyes closed, walking through the space between the two banyan trees. Beside for ngalap berkah (seeking for good fortune), the rite was carried out to pray for Yogyakarta Sultanate’s safety and security.

That time, people believed that between the banyan trees, there was a rajah or talisman for enemies who planned to attack the palace. If a royal army man could walk through the trees, it means he had power and pure heart, so that he could be free from the rajah influence. Thus, it also means that he would be able to drive out enemies.

Over the time, there is a change in people’s interpretation of tradition. There are many traditional values and sacredness that have been interpreted differently. So is the case with Masangin rite. The cultural rite which used to be sacred and philosophically deep has turned into a game that in fact adds to the cheerfulness of Alun-alun Kidul Yogyakarta. Nowadays, at dawn, people start to come in Alun-alun Kidul to try their luck in walking through the ringin kurung (the space in between the banyan trees) with their eyes closed.

B. Feature

Most people will think it is easy to get through the space between the banyan trees. However, they will change their mind as they try it for the first time. Although you stand right on the straight line to the ringin kurung, when getting closer to the trees you likely start swerving away. According to the local people, it needs not only fixed concentration to do Masangin, but also a pure heart.

Believe it or not, in reality only few people can pass through ringin kurung at the first try. In most cases, people succeed after trying twice while others, they keep on trying and still fail. This is a unique attraction for tourists. They will want to try it over and over until they make it.

Nowadays, most tourists do Masangin without any intention of seeking for fortune. They try it for fun and new experience. If they succeed, it will be fun. If not, then better luck next time.

C. Location

The Masangin tradition is performed at the Alun-alun Kidul (Alkid) Yogyakarta in the south of Yogyakarta Royal Palace.

D. Access

For tourists who go by their own vehicles, there are three main roads to get to Alun-alun Kidul. From Malioboro, tourists can go through the road at which former Ngasem Bird Market lies, near Tamansari Water Castle. Coming from the east, you can take Wijilan Street. While for those who depart from the south, there is a direct passage through Plengkung Gading.

Using public transports, tourists can take a line 5 city bus, or Transjogja bus line 3A and 3B. By city bus, tourists can get off at Plengkung Gading then walk northwards for about 5 minutes. Likewise, by Transjogja, the bus can take tourists to the bus stop at Letjend. M.T. Haryono Street or the one at Mayjend. Sutoyo Street. Then tourists should head for Plengkung Gading and walk northwards. If not feeling like walking, pedicabs are always around for tourists.

E. Ticket

Basically, there is no charge to do Masangin. But if visitors do not bring anything to close their eye with, around the location there are many who rent eye patch for Rp 3.000,00.

F. Accommodations and Other Facilities

Where Masangin is performed is a busy public space and one of Yogyakartanese favorite hangout spots. Teenagers, children, and adults come to this area everyday. Therefore, it becomes a good place for peddlers to do business at the sidewalks around the area. There are local snacks and drinks such as angkringan food, tempura, cimol, leker, bakwan kawi, wedang ronde and wedang bajigur.  For meals, there are gudeg stalls nearby at Wijilan Street or stop by at cafĂ© around Alun-alun Kidul.

Beside those snacks and drinks peddlers, there are also tandem bike rentals. There are two kinds of tandem bikes rented here, the 2 seater and the 3 seater bikes. Both kinds are rented at a similar price, i.e. Rp 10.000,00. What differs the two is the number of laps allowed. You can rent the two seater bike for two laps, while the three seater bike is only for three laps. For children, who are yet to ride a bike, there are other playthings for them, namely the becak mini (mini pedicab) and odong-odong (a kind of hobbyhorse operated by propulsion).

Located downtown, Alun-alun Kidul enables tourists to go to many other tourism objects. Although there is no city bus or Transjogja passing this area, there are many pedicabs to take you anytime. There are no worries about inns too. There are a number of inns in the area with various tariffs, from the cheap to the expensive ones. What is more, there are Yogyakarta souvenir stores just a walk away.

Elisabeth Murni

Translation: Reza Daffi


Photos: Collection www.wisatamelayu.com

If you are from outside Yogyakarta and want to visit this place by travel agency services, please contact :

Maharatu Tour and Travel

Jl. Sisingamangaraja No. 27 Yogyakarta.
Telp. +62 274 8373005. Fax. +62 274 379250
Email : maharatu@maharatu.com -maharatu257@yahoo.com
Website : www.maharatu.com

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