Blessed with diversity, Indonesia is a country known to have different ethnic backgrounds and beliefs. It signifies Indonesia’s motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” or “Unity in Diversity”. Discovering this diverseness can reawaken your spirit, especially through a spiritual trip in Indonesia. Different destinations across the archipelago can foster an experience of enlightenment, which comes from places of worship. You, too, can absorb their peaceful atmospheres.
So, let's rediscover true bliss by touring around these 5 religious landmarks around the country!
1 | Iconic Mosques
Mosques in Indonesia are not just a place to pray, many also showcase their beautiful architectures. One, in particular, is the ever-famous Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. Renowned as Southeast Asia's largest mosque, it has been admired by many public figures, including Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Barack Obama, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia. This is because the Grand Istiqlal Mosque is situated not far from a Catholic church, Jakarta Cathedral -- emphasizing Indonesia's tolerant philosophy and way of life among diverse religions. You can easily reach this religious landmark from Merdeka Square.
Another destination you can add to your spiritual trip is the Gedhe Kauman Mosque, Yogyakarta. It was built by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, Kyai Faqih Ibrahim Diponingrat and Kyai Wiryokusumo as the architect. Here, you can witness its unique exterior designs of traditional Javanese. As you stroll the site, you can absorb Indonesia's history and culture, even explore the area's well-known attraction. It is located not far from Alun-Alun Kraton and Kraton Palace, so you can be sure to stop by these fascinating places in Yogyakarta!
2 | Beautiful Churches
Many remarkable churches in Indonesia are surrounded with vast greenery. One place you can visit is the Santo Fransiskus Asisi Church in Berastagi, North Sumatra. Built in a cool hilly town, this Catholic church has combined Western-inspired styles with its Karo tradition. You can observe its carvings and intricate designs, boasting the values and symbols of the Karo heritage. There are two main parts: the main prayer hall and geriten, or a pavilion, where the youths hold church activities. Observe the unique architectural design amongst nature and try to spot Mt. Sinabung from afar. You can even visit the mountain with a 4o-minute drive from this landmark.
We suggest you visit Blenduk Church in Semarang if you’re ever in the Central Java area. This Protestant church is the oldest in Central Java, built in 1753. With its European-style designs, this majestic church is easy to spot. It showcases an elegant white exterior complete with stunning portico and stained glass. The dome structure and striking designs are easy to spot when you're strolling through Semarang Old Town.
3 | Blissful Temples
Hindu Temples offer a place of serenity -- one of which you must add to your spiritual trip is Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. Situated in the relaxed atmosphere of Lake Beratan, the temple offers stunning panorama of the sweeping mountains and skies. This religious landmark, also known as Pura Ulun Danu, was built in adoration of the Goddess Danu, the goddess of water, lakes, and rivers. It presents four sacred buildings: Linga Pura, Pura Puncak Mangu, Pura Dalem Purwa, and Pura Teratai Bang. These areas offer a place of worship, particularly those who pray for fertility, prosperity, and well-being. One fascinating thing about this site is its Trimurti belief, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It lies in the holy colors represented in its architecture. Be sure to observe this mesmerizing destination while learning new things and absorb Bali's refreshing nature.
Try and observe Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta when you travel in Bogor, West Java -- it’s perfect for your spiritual trip.
As the second-largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, this landmark showcases its grand design amongst the fresh greenery of Ciapus, Tamansari. As you enter the area, you will be greeted with its lion statues and structural masterpiece. Because it is right at the foot of Mount Salak, the extraordinary sceneries of the mountain and foliage will refresh your soul!
4 | Captivating Monasteries
Ever been to Mendut Buddhist Monastery? If you have, you know how serene this religious landmark is! Located in Magelang, Central Java, the monastery presents different Buddhist statues surrounded by lush greenery. If you want to experience a spiritual trip here, try joining their meditation session. However, if you prefer to journey around, you can observe its Mendut Temple, viewing its ancient structures and design. Be sure to stop by Mendut Buddhist Monastery for some tranquility while you’re at Borobudur -- it’s just 3.5 km away from there!
A gem you should add to your bucket list is the Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Temple in Bintan Island. Also often called as 500 Lohan Temple, this Buddhist religious landmark boasts 500 life-size sculptures of Lohan or Luohan -- a term used for souls who have successfully experienced nirvana. Each of these great statues illustrates life-like details, capturing human facial features and postures. You can sight this magnificent spot with a 20-minute drive from the city of Tanjung Pinang.
5 | Stunning Shrines
Kelenteng Kong Miao in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta, is an excellent place for you to visit. This Confucianism religious landmark stands side by side with other worship sites, including mosques, churches, and temples -- symbolizing harmony among different religions. The complex has three areas: Tian Tan, Da Cheng Dian, and Qi Fu Dian. As you step in Tian Tan, it showcases three top roofs, symbolizing God, human, and earth. You can observe its vibrant colors, design and learn more about the ways of Confucius. Be sure to come by this site for a spiritual trip when you’re around Jakarta.
Though Bali is known for its Hindu landmarks, numerous other religious monuments are present here too! One of which is the Kelenteng Cao Eng Bio. As the island's oldest Chinese temple, it is an excellent spot for your spiritual trip. As you step inside, you'll notice its Chinese architecture in its main building, which serves as the prayer room. There are also several scripture verses presenting words of wisdom around this site. Try and explore this site with its iconic bright red colors and intricate designs -- it'll uplift your spirits!
Stepping inside, you'll immediately see its main building in beautiful Chinese architecture, which houses the prayer rooms with a large ash cauldron on pedestals and gigantic red candles. You'll also see wooden plaques bearing several scripture verses of wisdom in Chinese and Indonesian, as well as names engraved in marble in honor of those who have contributed to building the Caow Eng Bio Chinese temple.
There's nothing like a spiritual trip in Indonesia! Journeying through the religious landmarks here can rejuvenate your mind and soul. Not only will you absorb new understanding and respect for different beliefs, but it's majestic constructions, and outstanding natural sceneries will leave you completely fascinated.
As you plan your future travels, you must also consider the CHSE (cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability) health protocols being implemented in Indonesia. Please always wear your mask when you are out and about, wash your hands clean, and ensure physical distance from others.
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