The Many Faces of Indonesia
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. The Indonesian archipelago has 18,307 islands and 8,844 that have been named according to estimates made by the Government of Indonesia.
Indonesia is the fourth populous country on earth (behind just China, India, and the United States). Indonesia’s 2014 population is over 250 million people.
Indonesian is the official language but there are many different languages native to Indonesia. Almost every island has its own dialect or another regional language (for example Javanese ).
Indonesia is the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. Almost 88% of Indonesians declared Muslim according to the 2010 national census.
Although the Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, the Government officially only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Java is the biggest and the most populous island in the country. Most of the people are muslins. You can see Musholla (Muslim prayer room) everywhere – In the restaurants, schools, universities, shopping malls.
Long time ago, Java was center of Buddhism. The Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument and it is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The temple is a massive step pyramid structure made from giant stone blocks, built on a hill, surrounded by valleys and hills. The levels rise up representing the stages of enlightenment. Hundreds tourist visit Indonesia just to see the temple.
Another historical heritage in Java is the temple of Prambanan. It is known as the largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia. Built in the 10th century, the temple complex is dedicated to Shiva.
Yogyakarta is famous as one of the main tourist destinations in Java. From Jogyakarta one can travel easily to the Borobudur and Prambanan.
Malioboro Street is the most famous shopping street in Yogyakarta. It is the place for shopping souvenir, batik and art craft.
The side lines have cart vendors hawking their food so you can buy some of the typical Indonesia dishes for a quite good price.
Bali is the most popular destination for foreign visitors. The majority of the population of Bali is Hinduist. In every village in Bali, there are several temples and at least one small family temple in each home of Balinese people. It is believed that there are more temples than homes on Bali.
Tirta Empul Temple or Tampak Siring Temple is a holy spring water temple situated in east of Ubud, Bali. Balinese go there to cleanse their bodies spiritually, mentally and physically.
In Indonesia the traffic situation is complicated. There are a lot of traffic jams in the big cities. Most of the people prefer to use motorbike than car as a cheap and easy method of transportation. Almost everyone has its own moto. Actually Indonesians are very good at fitting lots of things onto one motorbike – whole families fit onto motorbikes.
The traditional vehicle of Indonesia, popularly known as “becak”, is three wheels vehicle. It has been one of the traditional transportations in Indonesia for a long time. The capacity of a becak is two passengers and a driver that is behind the passengers.
Staple food in Indonesia, as in most neighboring countries is rice. It is preferred at any time of day. The traditional menu includes rice and one or two jars of fish, chicken, vegetables, and sometimes soup. Often prepared early in the day, then covered and served at room temperature later, so that people can eat when their work schedules permit
Rice is grown on large fields and even stepped terraces.
Batik is both an art and a craft. It is an old technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth. Batik is designated by UNESCO as a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. Yogyakarta is important Batik textile centre. In Museum Batik and lot of galleries you can see the process of making batik.
Wayang is a Javanese word for particular kinds of theatre – performances of shadow puppets. The puppets are made from leather by expert crafts people.
This production has been made possible by the journalistic training programme Beyond Your World.