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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ngobaran Beach

Publish 01-01-1970 07:00:00 by Admin
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A. Overview

Ngobaran Beach is one of tourism objects in Gunungkidul area which offers exotic natural and cultural attraction. The combination of those attractions becomes a unique appeal rarely found in any other beaches in the area. Located about two kilometres west of Ngrenehan Beach, this beach offers not only exciting natural panorama such as the carpet of white sand, rolls of tides, banks of coral, sea weed (algae), and rows of sea pandanus, but also cultural attractiveness which is full of mystical atmosphere.

Ngobaran Beach is well-known as a ceremony site of some religion and belief. There are praying sites such as mosque which stands next to a shrine facing the South Sea, as well as ritual area for the followers of beliefs such as Kejawen and Kejawan. In addition, there are some statues and stupas functioning as site of religious ceremony. On the top of coral hills around Ngobaran Beach, there is a stone box covered with dry plants. The stone box is located in front of a Joglo house (Javanese traditional house) surrounded by wooden grey fence. According to the folklore, the place where the dry plants grow is the place used by Prabu Brawijaya V to burn himself.

Local people believe that Prabu Brawijaya V, also known as Bhre Kertabhumi, who was the last generation of Majapahit Kingdom (1464-1478), escaped from the palace together with his two wives, Bondang Surati (the first wife) and Dewi Lowati (the second wife). He did so because he was reluctant to be converted into Moslem by his own son, Raden Fatah, the first king of Demak. They wandered around into remote areas and coastal areas. When they arrived in a beach later known as Ngobaran, they were trapped. They faced the wild south sea and found no hope. Finally, Brawijaya V decided to suicide by burning himself. Before approaching the burning fire, he asked a question to his two wives. “My ladies! Which one of you have greater love for me?” Dewi Lowati answered, “My love for you is as great as the mountain, Your Majesty.” And Bondang Surati answered, “My love for you is like a nail, it grows again after being cut.” That was Bondang Surati’s love for her husband. Once the love has gone, it would grow still.

After hearing the answer from both wives, Brawijaya V pulled the arms of Dewi Lowati and took her to the burning fire. At the time, both were dead and burnt. Prabu Brawijaya V chose Dewi Lowati because she has lesser love for him than the first wife. Based on this act of suicide by immolation, this beach was named Ngobaran. Ngobaran was derived from kobong or kobaran in Javanese, which means being burnt or immolation.

The truth about this story is still doubted by some people. Based on the information from local people who hear this story from their ancestors, Prabu Brawijaya V was not dead in the area of Ngobaran Beach. During the incident, an inhabitant saw that the one burnt on the fire were not Brawijaya V and his wife, but his dog. This information was proven by the discovery of petilasan (remains) in form of burnt bones which apparently were belang yoyang (dog’s bones), not of men.

Another version states that Brawijaya V was practicing moksa (fade away) in the peak of Lawu. According to historians, this version is in accordance with historical facts. The fact says that Brawijaya V was reluctant to convert into Moslem religion yet was reluctant to fight against his own son. Therefore he left his palace toward Blambangan and isolated himself in Mount Lawu together with his two servants Dipa Manggala and Wangsa Manggala. At the top of Mount Lawu, Brawijaya practised the moksa and faded away along with his two servants. This moment indicated the end of Majapahit Kingdom. The end of Majapahit Kingdom was represented by candrasangkala (lunar chronogram) “Sirna Ilang Kertaning Bumi” which means Sirna=0, Ilang=0, Kerta=4, Bumi=1. This phrase, if read reversely, states the year of Majapahit’s fall down, that is 1400 Saka year or 1478 AD.

Despite the different versions of the story, some local people believe that Brawijaya V had been in Ngobaran Beach. Therefore this site becomes a historical tourism object or ritual site in Gunungkidul. The followers of Kejawan, an inherited belief from Prabu Brawijaya V, often hold their rituals in this area. In addition, Hindu followers also hold Galungan ceremony every full moon and Melastri ceremony as the ritual series of Nyepi ceremony in this beach. Moreover, the followers of Kejawen hold rituals in this area every eve of Tuesday and Friday Kliwon (the fifth day of the five-day week of Javanese; still observed by many as sacred days).

B. Features

When entering the area of Ngobaran beach, you will be welcomed by mystical atmosphere along with the sound of waves hitting cliff of coral. Cultural features which will be first found in this area is an inscription located among statues and stupas. Presumably, the inscription was made by local people to commemorate the events of Prabu Brawijaya V’s fading away in the area. Written in the inscription, an Ikrar Kesatria (Knight’s Pledge) in three points, namely: I PROMISE TO OBEY AND BE FAITHFUL: 1) Respect and honor the ancestors of my own nation; 2) Respect and honor the teaching of Trimurti as the belief of my ancestors; 3) Respect, honor, and keep my motherland as the land of my ancestors.

At the south of the inscription, you can find a shrine building located at the tip of coral hills. Beside the shrine, you can enjoy the amazing panorama of sea. Not far from the shrine, you can find a joglo house and a Moslem prayer house of 3 x 4 meters which has sand floor. This prayer house is unique because the direction of kiblat (the direction of Kaabah in Mecca) is the south. However, local people has put a sign of the true kiblat, thus visitors should not be confused anymore. After praying, visitors can see the beauty of Ngobaran Beach from the place of imam (the leader of prayers) because this part is widely opened.

After enjoying the mystical atmosphere, you can walk westward following the descending way to the beach. At the beach, you can enjoy the natural charm of Ngobaran Beach. This beach has white sand carpet and coral covered with algae. If slightly seen, this beach is like a green carpet. Algae in Javanese is called karangan. It becomes the main commodity of local people.

Visiting this beach during the receding tide, that is 06.00 – 11.00 in the morning, you can find local people looking for karangan to be sold to broker which are mostly from Surabaya, East Java. If you want to buy sea weed to be cooked at home, you can get it at relatively low price. There are various types of karangan such as karangan simbar as the ingredient of chips which is sold at Rp 3,000 -Rp 5,000/kg, karangan lumut at Rp 1,500-Rp 2,000/kg, and karangan ager as the ingredient of jelly at Rp 1,200-Rp 1,500/kg.

Visiting this beach during afternoon, you can observe the activity of fishermen around the beach looking for various kinds of marine biotas such as sea urchins, starfish, lobsters, and crustaceans. Those marine biotas live in mini ponds at empty spaces between corals.

After enjoying plenty of cultural and natural attractions in this beach area, your visit is incomplete if you miss the chance to enjoy the culinary menus. One of the special foods available in the food stalls along the entrance of this beach area is the fried sea urchin. According to local people, the flesh of sea urchin is tough and delicious. The way of cooking this food is also unique. The prickle of this sea urchin is cleaned first and it is hit using a sickle until the flesh is seen. After that, the flesh is taken. This delicious special food can be the closing of all sensations offered by Ngobaran Beach.

C. Location

Ngobaran Beach is located in Kanigoro Village, Saptosari Subdistrict, Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

D. Access

Access to this beach is similar to the access to Ngrenehan Beach. Visitors can go through two main routes commonly used by either local people or tourists. The first route is Yogyakarta – Gading Airport – Gading T-junction (to the right) – Playen – Paliyan – Trowono – Saptosari – Ngobaran Beach. The second route is Yogyakarta – Wonosari City – Paliyan – Trowono – Ngobaran Beach.

If you are in Parangtritis area, you are closer to Ngobaran Beach. You just need to climb the upward path at the east side of Parangtritis Beach to Panggang. From Panggang, you can take the route to Saptosari and Ngobaran Beach.

E. Ticket

The entrance ticket to the area of Ngobaran Beach is priced at Rp 3,000. The benefit visitors can get by buying this ticket is that they can enjoy the beauty of Ngrenehan Beach as well. Both beaches are in one tourism package.

F. Accommodations and Other Facilities

Accommodations and facilities in Ngobaran Beach have not been complete, because this area is unreachable by electric current. Facilities like motels and inns are not available so visitors can only visit this beach during the day. The available facilities are toilet, food stalls, small mosque, and parking lot.


Translation: Febrianti Ika Dewi


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