Yogyakarta Love Beach

Roughly located in the centre of Indonesia’s most populous island of Java, Yogyakarta is more than just a major city, it is also a spiritual home and a centre of Javanese art and culture. Most people who venture to Yogyakarta do so with the intention of visiting Borobudur, a fantastic 9th century Hindu Temple, and also Prambanan, a temple complex that is from the same period of Borobudur, and one that is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.

Most visitors also visit the numerous museums and galleries in the city of Yogya, as the locals call it, in order to soak up the culture.

On the coast, about 30 kilometres from Yogya, are many fine beaches. These are not the over-developed tourist hotspots that you find on Bali, but are certainly reminiscent of how Bali was before it was discovered. There are about 15 beaches within reasonable access of Yogya, and one of these, Parangkusumo Beach has very special significance to the locals.

Parangkusumo is also known as Love Beach, and it is called that because of a legend dating back to the 14th century that is associated with the beach. In that legend the first king of the Mataram Sultanate, Panembahan Senopati, established a relationship with the mythical Goddess of the Southern Ocean in a bid to maintain control over a great swathe of land. The Goddess agreed on condition that the Sultan and his descendents marry her, and the Sultan agreed on condition that the marriages bore no children. From then on Parangkusumo became known as Love Beach and the Sultan did become a great leader.

Today the beach is considered to be the entrance to the South Ocean, and there is a Love Stone, where, it is believed, the lovers sat, that is located in a specially-built complex. Here you will find the remnants of many offerings, in the form of flowers and incense, that have been made to the Sultan and his bride.

The offerings are there because many people believe that any requests will be answered if they are said by the Love Stone. Believers of this tradition will usually make an annual pilgrimage to the Love Stone to make offerings and conduct ceremonies.

Visitors can swim at the beach, and taking rides in attractive horse-driven carts is a pleasant way to enjoy the area. There are plenty of warongs (restaurants) nearby which sell food and drinks, and for overnight stays there as some good losmens (bungalows) where you can stay for a reasonable tariff.

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