Saturday night was an interesting evening at Taman Mini, or Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park, in Jakarta. The South Sumatra pavilion hosted a special performance of Puyang Gadis Theater – a theater performance about a legend in South Sumatra in which a girl whom has the favor of a powerful Sultan, chooses to marry her brother instead; ultimately losing her life.
Taman Mini has 26 pavilions that culturally represent much of the diversity of Indonesia. They hold regular performances of traditional theater, music, and dance from all around Indonesia – highly recommended!
The evening began with delicious dinner of traditional South Sumatran food like Beef Rendang – a very unique and delicious curried beef, and Sumatra Chicken Curry. Yep, Sumatran food is very spicy. If you like curry, chili, ginger, coriander, and lots of garlic, you’ll be right at home in Sumatra.
Following a few opening songs from some very talented singers…
The story begins…
Once upon a time in the small South Sumatran village of Kupang Lama, there lived a beautiful girl named Siti Lam Jenah. Siti was from a very poor family, so she had to live with her oldest brother Bujang Juaro, who was very famous.
One day Siti, and the other girls from the village went to the river to bathe and to wash clothes. The traditional bathing bowls are called Takuk Labu. Siti was not very attentive, and she allowed her Takuk Labu to float out into the river where it was picked up by a passing merchant ship.
It was a very fine Takuk Labu, so when the merchant ship reached port, the sailors turned it over to the boat’s owner, the Sultan of Palembang. The Sultan asked his Shaman to examine the Takuk Labu, and the Shaman said the bowl had been owned by the most beautiful girl in all of Sumatra.
Intrigued, the Sultan decided to visit Kupang Lama to find the girl and marry her. The villagers were quite surprised the day the Sultan arrived in his fine boat. The Shaman demanded to know where the owner of the Takuk Labu was, but they would not tell him. The Sultan said he would return in three days, and the girl must be handed over him then.
Fearful that the Sultan would not marry her, but make her a concubine, she decided to marry her brother, Bujang Juaro, who loved her very much. But there was the problem of the Sultan coming back. They hatched a plan – they would bury Siti alive so the Sultan could not find her.
When he arrived three days later, the Sultan was furious the villagers would not tell him where Siti was. He ordered his men to search the village, but to no avail. Ultimately he challenged Bujang Juaro to a fight to secure the whereabouts of Siti. Unfortunately for the Sultan, Bujang Juaro defeated him.
But, tragically for Bujang Juaro, after he defeated the Sultan, he remembered he had forgotten to give Siti a flute to breath through. Frantically, he dug where they had buried her, but could just find clothes, and jewelry.
The entire village was grief stricken. Then they heard Siti’s voice, “In the future there will be other beautiful women from Kupang Lama, but their years will never be long in order to prevent this from happening again.”
To this day, the villagers of Kupang Lama believe that beautiful young girls will die young, before they have a chance to marry.
Taman Mini is located in East Jakarta. It’s easiest to get there by taxi. It will cost roughly Rp 90,000 in a Blue Bird taxi or about Rp 80,000 in an Express taxi, if you’re going from Central Jakarta. The driver will ask if you want to use the toll road, which will cost an additional Rp 12,500 in tolls but it’s well worth the time savings.
Operating hours – The park is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Admission fees – At the main gate (built in the traditional style of a Javanese split gate), visitors are charged Rp 15,000.
Enjoy Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park – Taman Mini!
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