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Monday, March 19, 2018

The Grave of Nyi Ageng Serang

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

The name Nyi Ageng Serang must be familiar for Indonesian people. She is one of Indonesian national heroines who struggled to fight the Dutch colonial.

Born in Serang, Purwodadi, Central Java, in 1752, Nyi Ageng Serang’s real name was R.A. Kustiyah Wulaningsih Retno Edi. She was the daughter of Panembahan Notoprojo, the ruler of Serang which was an area under Mataram Kingdom. She was a perseverant soldier in fighting for her country against colonialism. She was truly a female soldier. The people of Serang called her Diajeng Sekar, an honorary title for women who had a character of a champion. She led the Gula Kelapa Troop for Northeast Central Java region.

Nyi Ageng Serang never gave up in her struggle against the Dutch until she was grey. It was the war that brought her to a place where she was buried, i.e. Traju Mas hill which is no known as Menoreh Hills. In time of Diponegoro War, she led her troops for a long march from Serang to the west then to south through Progo River and then up to Traju Mas. It was in this hill she and her troops planned attacking strategies.

Nyi Ageng Serang passed away at 76. She died of illness in 1828, two years before Diponegoro War ended. She was buried in Menoreh Hills at her own request before she departed. The grave complex lies in Beku, Banjarharjo, Kalibawang, Kulon Progo.

Before entering the complex, tourists will see a monument that marks her as national heroine. There are also some other graves of soldiers who struggled with Nyi Ageng Serang. In the center part, there are two buildings in joglo architecture. The graves of Nyi Ageng Serang, her daughter, and her servants are in one of the buildings. In the other one, there are the graves of her husband, R.M. Kusuma Wijaya, her mother, and her relatives.

The grave in fact is always crowded on Indonesian Independence Day, Heroes’ Day, holidays, Islamic holidays, and certain other days. Every year, the people of Banjarharjo village hold some art and cultural performances to commemorate Nyi Ageng Serang’s service and struggle.

Another thing that pilgrims should know is that they are not allowed to bring weapon and liquor. Pilgrims should not be noisy nor trigger noisiness. Women who are in period are not allowed to get into the complex. And lastly, pilgrims should take off their footwear before entering the grave complex.

B. Features

The complex of Nyi Ageng Serang grave has a great historical value to commemorate her struggle to wipe out colonialism. It was in the hill that she and her troops devised strategies. Menoreh Hills and the grave complex are historical facts that women can be as strong as men, far before feminism movement started in Europe.

The people of Banjarharjo Village hold an art event to commemorate the heroine in a routine basis. It is usually held in Sura (Muharram) month. It features dolalak dance, kuda lumping, shalawatan, and other performances by artists from different areas in Banjarharjo. The event is an expression of the artists in honoring the heroine and at the same time, their efforts to preserve local culture. In the event, there is usually also a bazaar of fruits and food produced by Banjarharjo village.

Aside from having heroic and historical values, the grave of Nyi Ageng Serang has a distinctive attraction. People often come to the grave to seek for good fortune (ngalap berkah), praying for their wish to come true. The rite of praying for those in the afterlife has combined with people’s mysticism. This is evident as a lot of people crowd the place in some certain days, for example, on nights before Kliwon (one of the day in 5-day Javanese calendar) Tuesday or Kliwon Friday.

C. Location

The location of Nyi Ageng Serang Grave is in Beku, Banjarharjo Village, Kalibawang District, Kulon Progo Regency, about 30 km west of Yogyakarta.

D. Access

Tourists can use public transports, private transports, or tourism bus to get to the location. The street to the grave is in a good condition so there will be no problem concerning people’s comfortableness.

The route to Nyi Ageng Serang Grave from Yogyakarta is through Godean Street. At the crossroad west of Godean market, take the road that leads to Kenteng, then turn right at the first crossroad. From there, the street has no branches so all you have to do is go straight ahead until you see a direction sign to Nyi Ageng Serang Grave and Maria Sendangsono Grave. Take the former road and it will take approximately 20 more minutes to get to the location. Just go straight until there is an ascending left turn. That road leads to Nyi Ageng Serang Grave.

E. Ticket

There is no charge for entrance. However, pilgrims can give donation for the grave upkeep and renovation.

F. Accommodations and Other Facilities

In the complex, there are custodians that will provide pilgrims with information about the grave. For those who want to do ngalap berkah rite, the custodians are ready to help. Usually for that, they will ask pilgrims to bring with them seven certain kinds of flowers and myrrh. Sometimes they will require pilgrims to fast before the rite.

Mujibur Rohman

Translation: Reza Daffi (trans/12/07-10)


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