Saturday, 13 April 2013

Cirebon Trails and Kuningan

Cirebon comes from 2 words - chai river and rebon (geragau, shrimp). Cirebon is a fishing port in West Java (Jawa Barat) and is famous for fish and shrimps (Kota Udang) in addition to batik and kaca tulis.

There is a main mosque (Masjid Besar Cirebon) and an ancient mosque (Masjid Trusmi, dated to 1500s). Trusmi village is also famous for batik. The awan mega mendung (stormy clouds) motif with Chinese details are characteristic of Cirebon batik.

In Kasepuhan village, there is a grand palace called Keraton Kasepuhan, in Cirebon city centre. It is regarded as the oldest keraton in Cirebon. However, there is another old palace nearby, Keraton Kanoman. The entrance to Keraton Kasepuhan has 2 white lions which are symbols of Prabu Siliwangi's pride. Keraton Kasepuhan is in Cirebon city centre, in Kasepuhan village. Gamelan  music dominates at palace performances in Cirebon. The most famous piece is the Gong Sekati or Sekaten, which is played twice a year. The marketplace, Pasar Kanoman is near Keraton Kanoman.

Approximately 5 km north of Cirebon city, towards the beach, is Astana Sunan Gunung Jati which houses the royal graves of Gunung Jati on its hill slopes. There are mausoleums (makam) behind the pavillion which only the sultan will open to visitors. Otherwise the mausoleums are closed to visitors. The locals come together during festivities to relive the story of a shipwreck where many died and were buried here.

Kuningan is a small town in the southern suburb and is cooler compared to Cirebon. It has the Sangkan Hurip hot springs and the historical Linggardjati building (Gedung Naksa). It was at this Linggardjati building where The Netherlands signed The Linggardjati Treaty with the Indonesian authorities, and the Republic of Indonesia (RI) was born in 1947. The hills lead to Mt Ciremai, the nearest volcano, and rice terraces cover its slopes. It is called Kuningan, maybe due to the yellow sulphur deposits found on the slopes near the volcano. This volcano is still active and it last erupted in 1951. There must be plenty of pokok cermai, ceremai or ciremai here near Mt Ciremai.

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