Last weekend was a big day in the Javanese calendar; it was the Javanese New Year. The eOasia team was in Yogyakarta and had the chance to explore an off-the beaten path tour in Java, accompanied by a team of spiritual Javanese who introduced us to their way of spirituality, specifically by giving tribute to their ancestors.
We’ve selected a few other tours below that are not only spiritual but also cultural. You will be brought to some sacred spots such as hidden beaches and temples, mountains, waterfalls, caves or even natural spring waters around Yogyakarta, while enjoying the benefits of meditation.
But first let’s initiate you through our travel story of this special weekend.
The Javanese New Year, a spiritual awakening.
On the 25th of October, Javanese were celebrating the year 1947 according to the Javanese calendar. The traditional and spiritual way to celebrate this event was introduced to me by Patrick, a Belgium anthropologist who specializes in the Javanese culture for the last 15 years.
Thanks to him, the eOasia team was brought to sacred places, usually not easily accessible to foreigners, where some of the Javanese philosophy and spiritual rituals were demonstrated to us.
The rituals and history of Java
Java is among the most spiritual places in the world where mystical practices remain a practice for its people. From generation to generation, rituals visits to Javanese ancestors and ancestral spots for the new year have been maintained, while believing that spirits remain awake and in contact with the new generations, thus making Java a land full of mystical stories and legends.
The sacred places we’ve visited
Our meeting point was at Kota Gede (The old town), which is also one of the famous attractions in Yogyakarta. This is where the 24 hours pilgrimage started and where we gave tribute to Senopati, the first king of the Javanese Kingdom. We entered into the catacomb where we’ve literally assisted to spiritual awakening rituals, the place being still full of spirits. Some of the Javanese accompanying me started to be possessed by these spirits, manifesting it by paranormal screams, sometimes by roarings of animals depending on the personality of the people being possessed, frightening and powerful!
Parangtritis beach is a sacred place and this is where the king Senopati had a love affair with a spirit named the Queen of the South (Ratu Kidul) that makes that place so sacred. We were brought into a meditation ritual by the shore with crashing waves, right after midnight. Javanese try to establish communication with the Queen, but this requires a mental preparation of meditation knowledge and patience. Nothing’s better than being on the beach to enjoy the true benefits of meditation!
Early in the following morning, we travelled to East Java to have a bath in the 7 sacred sources (Sapta Tirta), a totally off the beaten path tour destination!
These water sources are unique on their own, with waters that are warm, water of life, water of death, soda water, to quote a few. These sources are known for having healed many diseases to pilgrims. In addition, these sources also have a strong historical significance; this was a retreat area for the Rebel Prince (Mangkunegara I) during the Dutch colonial time. The legend tells that the prince would frequent this place to heal his soldiers, which made them almost invulnerable. Javanese people accompanying us filled their bottles at the different sources to bring it back to their family, with the objective to keep them healthy.
We’ve also found a hidden Hindu temple that was so perfectly located on the hill right above these sources.
The last sacred place we’ve visited was the ancient Buddhist Plaosan temple, near the famous Prambanan Hindu temple, surrounded by rice fields in the north of Yogyakarta. We had there a last meditation ritual, practising some Buddhist meditation while admiring a beautiful sunset. This can give us an idea of how Buddhists and Hindus were incorporated during the ancient Javanese dynasties.
Off the beaten path tours, from Yogyakarta.
The experience above was our own experience celebrating the Javanese New Year, similar to a meditation retreat. However, there are even more interesting selections of spiritual and healing tours that have been selected for eOasia.
Some of the tours are more like an introduction to spiritual awakening and buddhist meditation or a way to live a totally different travel experience. The main objective of these tours is to learn to know “Oneself”, or as said by Patrick: the recipe to become “cool, calm and confident”.
What we really loved about these tours is that this is not only about spirituality, but you also learn a lot about the Javanese history and culture that is so full of mysticism and legends, while enjoying the beauty of some authentic sacred places where no other tours would bring you.
Full Day Spiritual Tour
During this spiritual tour, you will enjoy hiking a sacred mountain (Gunung Nglanggeran), a ritual visit to a graveyard of a saint and a meditation at a sacred beach from the top of a cliff.
In between, there will be the chance to purify yourself in some sacred springs and a traditional Javanese meal. Discover the true benefits of meditation!
Spiritual Healing Course
You will be taught how Javanese use alternative practices to heal themselves through massages and energy techniques. You will also learn about herbal remedies or Jamu. This is a 20 hours introductory course to spiritual healing where you will get to learn basic techniques of Ying Yang acupressure and be able to overcome fatigue symptoms.
Tenaga Dalam (Inner strenght)
Tenaga dalam meaning literally Inner Power is an ancient Javanese form of martial practice combining breath techniques, concentration and vital energy capacity training.
Tenaga dalam is applied in martial arts, energy healing and general protection techniques.
You have the choices between a 4 hours introductory course while you pass by Yogyakarta, or a complete training over one week teaching you the 10 essential movements of Tenaga Dalam.
Learn how Javanese are able to break walls with a simple mental suggestion 😉
These off the beaten path tours departing from Yogyakarta are truly where you will learn the benefits from meditation, and get an insight on a such a mystical culture. As Patrick says: “Come and just be yourself”.