Cirebon in Four Days (Day Two)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

 
On the second day of our trip to Cirebon, we went out from the hotel earlier as we planed to go to Desa Linggarjati, Cilimus, Kuningan. It’s about twenty five kilometers away from Cirebon.

The place, located in a mountainous region, used to be a vast tea plantation during the Dutch colonial years, with a nice beautiful house like a villa in the middle of it. Architecturally, there was nothing special about the house.

It became significant when in October 7th, 1946, some politicians representing the newly born Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Netherlands sat together in a room to negotiate. The meeting was chaired by Lord Killearn of United Kingdom.

The negotiation didn’t instantly work out for Indonesia who was still struggling for its independence from the Dutch. But it was like the first diplomatic struggle for the new republic.


It took about an hour from Cirebon to Linggarjati by car. Just like the first day, we rode a rented car with Arief as the driver. The sceneries that we saw on the way to the house was breathtaking. We even stopped on the road side just to capture a vast rice fields with blue mountains as the background.

Today, the house became a museum ran by the local government. When we got there, we were welcomed by some men in white shirts and black pants which seemed to be their uniforms. We paid the admission fee and then walked in into a hall with dioramas.

We were at first a little bit disappointed as there was no tour guide. While looking at the dioramas, a man in white shirt was walking passing us both. By reflect, we called him and asked him to explain about the diorama.



It was great to know that the man was capable in becoming a tour guide of the museum. He really knew the history of the house, and also the negotiation which latter known as the Negotiation of Linggarjati. He told us about figures whom we saw in the diorama.

The hall where the negotiation took place was set to look exactly similar with the day the delegations of two countries in dispute met face to face. I had no idea what language they spoke at that time. They also put many photos describing the negotiation on the walls.

All the furniture like tables, chairs, cabinets, and even a piano were all set and laid out exactly like on the day the negotiation was held.

The tour guide then took us around to the bedrooms where the delegations slept at night, then to the dining room, and last, to the bathroom. Not as I expected, the bathroom didn’t have a bathtub or any luxury sanitary that a place for a political negotiation should have had. As a matter of fact, I only found a big solid water tank.


 

We walked out from the house and went down to the garden outside. Many times, I had seen people take picture of this house from the garden below. Unfortunately, since we came in August where Indonesia celebrated its independence day, there were many Indonesian flags at the entire landscape.


Leaving the house at Linggarjati, I asked Arief, our driver, to take us to an old Dutch grave in Kuningan which I had found in google long before this trip. It was great that Arief knew where the grave was. So we went straight to that place.

It took almost an hour from Linggarjati to the grave, which later I found, was of van Beck. It was located at Desa Cigugur, in the foot of Mount Ciremai, right exactly on the road side. It shaped like a mausoleum.


While I was taking pictures inside the dome, my driver, who was also a half psycic, tried to pull me out from there. He looked terrified, but I had no idea what was going on. I noticed that the hairs on his arms stood up.

Later when we reached the nearby town, the driver told me that there was a “Dutch woman” wearing a white gown and holding an umbrella, smiling at me and was walking toward me while I was taking pictures inside the mausoleum.

What he did was preventing the “Dutch woman” from touching me, because he said, if that had happened, I would have got a fever.


In the afternoon, we headed to Gua Sunyaragi, an ancient man made cave located in the city. Long before I came to this place, I had always thought that it was a cave created by nature through a long geological process.

We were guided by Pak Ahmad. He’s an official tour guide in that place. He took us around and explained every single detail of the place. To sum up his long explanation, the Sunyaragi used to be the place for the Sultans and his family to relax. By family, it means his wife, concubines, and children.


Long time ago, all these stone structures were surrounded by water. So I pictured that Sunyaragi in the past was like a man made lake with canals and creeks. The water has gone now, but the basins on the ground are still visible.


The sultans used to meditate inside the caves which were completely dark. When I was inside the cave, I could hear nothing from the outside. It was perfectly isolated.


Of all the caves in Sunyaragi, there was one that I really wanted to check. I had heard about this cave since long time ago when I was still in high school. I heard from a friend that the sultans or anyone meditated inside this cave could be physically brought to Mecca or even China.



Rasionally thinking, it’s definitely impossible. I asked Pak Ahmad to show me that cave. Turned out it became a ruin then. It comprised two small entrances and the height of the opening were very low.



Pak Ahmad told us that what possibly went to Mecca and China was not the physic but rather the mental. By being deeply immersed in their meditation, people could fly away anywhere they wished to go.


Before dark, we headed back to our hotel.

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