Visiting The Infamous Indonesian Love Tales

Written and Edited by
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Illustration By
Abdurrahman Rabbani

As a home of multi-faceted societies and tribes, the tourist destination in Indonesia is attached with bewitching love tales. Remember the story of Bandung Bondowoso, who failed his mission to build one thousand temples in one night for Roro Jonggrang? The collective memory of love tales has been passed down generations through bedtime stories or during the history lesson. Like how special love has portrayed when it can win against all the odds, it is not rare to uncover how love can make human vicious. Visiting the place where love tales lie means we preserve cultural identity—both intellectual and visceral and now let’s see further beauty of it.

Prambanan

Stand stall as high as 47 meters with grandeur and rich exterior ornamentation, Prambanan shows the immense beauty of the compound temple. Located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. There are some versions about the origin of Prambanan, but perhaps the famed one is legendary love tales between Bandung Bondowoso and Roro Jonggrang. Bandung Bondowoso fell in love with Roro Jonggrang, who happened to be the daughter of the man he was killed. When he was proposed to Roro Jonggrang, she said that she would accept his proposal under one condition: Bandung Bondowoso could build one thousand temples in one night. As a sacred and mighty prince, Bandung Bondowoso has agreed to its impossible mission, commanded a multitude of demons to help him. When the 999th temples finished, Roro Jonggrang that has been against the idea of becoming Bandung Bondowo’s wife, set up everything to fail his mission by cooperating with her maids to lit fires and begin pounding padi, a traditional dawn activity, woken up the rooster and tricked the demons to leave. Bandung Bondowoso exploded in anger and placed a curse on Roro Jonggrang after knowing it was her work, turning her into stone and become the feature of 1000th temples. Not only people enchanted with the tale, but Prambanan also becomes the most-attracted destination because of Ramayana Prambanan, a long-standing cultural show based on the bas-relief at Shiva Temple which has been performed every full moon night since 1961.

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Situ Patenggang

A magical panorama decorated with green trees and scenic crystal clear lake view is a strong point of Situ Patenggang or Situ Patengang, one of Bandung popular destinations. Located in an area with an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level with a total area of approximately 45,000 hectares, Situ Patenggang prevails a mystical love tale. According to history, the word ‘Patenggang’ or ‘Patengan’ derives from the Sundanese language, ‘pateangan,’ which means ‘looking for one another.’ The two names above unfold a story of Ki Santang and Dewi Rengganis, who genuinely love each other. Ki Santang is the nephew of Prabu Siliwangi, a much-loved Padjajaran king, whereas Dewi Rengganis is a typical villager who lives in a mountain. Both are believed head over heels in love but separated by distance and time—which said separated due to a very long war. Their strong bond overcomes all the impossibility, and they finally met each other at a big rock, which today is known as Batu Cinta-love stone. After a heartwarming meeting, Rengganis asked Ki Santang to fulfill her wish of having a big lake with the island in the middle of it. Thanks to Ki Santang’s devotion, Rengganis wish has been granted. In order to commemorate Ki Santang and Rengganis love story, the island is named after their love-Asmara Island. There is one myth that began circulating since then when the lovers were visiting Asmara Island and come to the Batu Cinta, their love relationship will last. The main attraction isn’t only legendaryBatu Cinta, but also a complete package of an extensive trip nature experience where people can play water rides, going around the lake in a swan-shaped boat, or go fishing. Certain areas of Situ Patenggang is also can be used as a picnic and camping site.

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Baturraden

A splendid natural view, along with greeny landscape and waterfalls on the foot of Slamet Mountain, Baturraden has a real charm that people find is alluring. Baturraden is a fabled tourist destination in Banyumas Regency, where it is located 14 km north of the city of Purwokerto, Central of Java. Based on the local folklore, the name Baturraden derives from two Javanese words, Batur, which means friend, assistant, servant or maid, and Raden, which means noble. It tells the story of Suta, a young servant who falls in love with a wealthy noblewoman. One day, Suta encountered a life-changing moment as he was rescuing the daughter of his master, Duke of Kutaliman. Since the incident, those two were casually meeting and mutually developed feelings. Later, Suta plucked up the courage to propose Kutaliman’s daughter. The proposal didn’t go well as planned, led Suta to imprison in the dungeon. Kutaliman’s daughter immediately formed a plan in rescuing Suta. Long story short, the escape plan has succeeded, and those two rode horse which headed towards the slopes of Slamet Mountain. When they took a rest on the banks of a river, they were fascinated with Baturraden’s natural beauty and fresh mountain breeze, so they decided to spend the rest of their life in there. Suchlike Suta and his wife, who entirely enamored by Baturraden, people feel the same way since each Baturraden spot holds special meaning, including Pancuran Telu and Pancuran Pitu, Baturraden’s two natural hot springs. In Baturraden, people can spend the whole day, laid out the mat on the grassy lawn along with the river, or experience trekking and camping with loved ones.

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