Tag Archives: God

THE MYSTERY OF THE CHICKEN CHURCH

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Last week Ade and me made a trip to Yogjakarta, with actually one mission. Find the Chicken Church!

First I was not sure about making this post because something in me didn’t want to reveal the truth about this mysterious building. But because there’s so less information about this church on the internet, I had to share the true story.

A couple of months ago Ade read a status update of a friend on Facebook talking about a mysterious building called the Chicken Church located somewhere on the top of a mountain close to the famous temple the Borobudur in Magelang. I was instantly fascinated and I directly knew ‘We need to go there’. After checking around on the internet and Google earth (I was convinced the church was ‘photo-shopped’ into the map), I realized there was no one who could exactly explain anything about the history or function of the building, neither his age or exact location. I only knew this was certainly not a tourist attraction. I found a blog of someone in Indonesia who visited the church and gave a small explanation about how to go there. We decided to rent a car and see how close we could come.

We followed the given description and found a small gang leading to a even smaller road into a village. After wandering around for a while we realized we needed some help and decided to ask some locals. Easier said then done, because most people who live in small villages like that are elderly people. They live so isolated that they rarely have any visitors. Besides that they are always very happy to help you, but you have to accept and answer fully in Javanese (Very different from Bahasa), mostly in the style of ‘Aaaahhh yes! Here a little bit to the left… And then a little bit up the hill… And then you have to ask someone again…‘ You can imagine that those are not the most clear descriptions, but with a little bit of fantasy you can guess where you have to go. At the end of the road before we would really drive into the middle of nowhere we found a small house. We decided to ask the people if they could tell us the road to the church. They told us we only had to walk up hill for around 10-20 minutes and we would find the church ourselves. Parked the car and started walking. After crossing a very scary bamboo bridge and struggling for half an hour through the jungle we almost wanted to give up, until suddenly in front of us the head of the chicken appeared. I can tell you, it was the most surreal thing I ever saw. A 30 meter long, building in the shape of a chicken. Sadly enough we saw that the building was in a poor shape. The paint was peeled of the walls and the nice stone ornamental windows on the side of the church we’re damaged. The main structure of the church was still ok.

But the panoramic view was unbelievable. The weird thing is that your seeing something so great and that you want to share it, but that you are the only two people there. From the back of the church you could look into the auditorium of the church, that was empty beside some big white pillars. Because there was some sort of hole on the left side of the church, we realized that there had to be a whole floor underneath it. We decided not to enter the building because it simply looked to unsafe. In the ceiling of the church there was a big cross shaped ‘window’. After a while we decided we had to head back to the car before it would turn dark.

When we arrived in the hotel, I could’t get the church out of my head. Because there was such little information available, I needed to know more. The people in the village, told us it was owned by some Chinese business man who wanted to turn it into a hotel or that it served as a Christian Church, no clear explanations.

I decided to try to find any information on the internet and after being lead from one website to another I found that the church was also known as ‘Banyak Angkrem‘, which leaded me to a blog of a guy who was asking himself the same question as me ‘What is this place?‘.

The church turned out to be a dove instead of a chicken. His blog leaded me to an email conversation between a girl and a man who turned out to be the owner and builder of this strange church named Daniel Alamsjah. Finally some answers on all my questions!

Daniel was married to one of the woman in the nearby village in the 90’s, the story goes that one day in 1988 Daniel got a vision of God. God told him that he had to build a church on a hill in the shape of a dove. A place to unite Christians from all around the world. Every day God spoke to him in this vision . Until one day he decided to visit his mother in law who was living in a small village on the foot of the hill Menoreh, called Gombong. Daniel had a strong feeling that he needed to climb this hill, when he arrived on the top of the hill he decided to pray. ‘Was this the hill he saw in his visions?‘ He realized that he would never have enough money to buy this ground and build the church of his vision. He prayed and he prayed for days on top of the hill until he knew that God would help him no matter what. Within 6 months he managed to own 2,5 hectare of the ground on top of the hill and in 1994 he finally started building on his dream project. Due to the economic crisis in Indonesia that time, he run out of money and the sponsors who worked with him on this project him lost interest. In the time that the project came to an end he completed 70% of the church. Until today Daniel still believes that one day he will realize his dream project with the help of God.

What seemed to be a house of some mysterious, occult, society turned out to be a very ambitious, religious project of a man who got a vision of God.

Later I found some information on the internet that in the early days this building, in that time called Bukit Merpati, also served as a rehab clinic for drugs users. In the end, after finding out the true story it didn’t actually change anything about my opinion how surreal and somehow creepy this place was. Certainly something worth visiting when you’re around!


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Underneath here you can find a video impression of the church.

 

 

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ADE ITAMEDA X OLIVIER

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Last week a plan that was made years ago was finally executed. Olivier,  a long term friend and fellow tattoo-artist, came with the idea of a collaboration between him and Ade around 3 years ago, when both of the guys where still working in Rock’n Roll Tattoo studio in Jakarta. Because of all the travelling they never found a good moment to work it out. But last week, Olivier came up with a nice sketch of a wayang shadow puppet version of ‘Hanuman‘ pierced by a traditional Indonesian keris. Ade made a couple of adjustments and then it was ready!

 

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GANESHA

 

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A while ago Ade finished a back-piece on Michelle. To explain the meaning of the Ganesha in one sentence is technically seen impossible. The story behind ‘Lord Ganesh’, the famous Hindu Elephant God, is so complex that there’s not only one way of explaining it.

I will try to tell you a little bit more about this famous religious figure, found mostly in India. Ganesha, also called Ganesh or Ganapanti Tantra is seen as the biggest deity of Hinduism, a deity with a head of a elephant. He is the God of wisdom and knowledge, takes away obstacles in life and he is the protector of travellers. Hindu’s pray to Ganesha before they start something new, like a new job or moving out to a new house. Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is mostly portrayed with and mouse or a rat, named Mushika, as his ‘Vahana’ (vehicle).

When Ganesh was still very young, he wanted to be left alone and preferred to spend his time wandering around by himself. Because of that reason and because of the fact that Shiva had started a war, Shiva never had the opportunity to really get to know his son. After years and years of battle’s Shiva returned to Parvati and Ganesh. When he arrived at the house he saw an intruder. And because he was so incredibly sanguineous he instantly decapitated the intruder. But he didn’t see that the intruder was  actually his own son! He didn’t recognize Ganesh on the first sight because Shiva never really been close to him. Because Shiva felt devastated  he commended his servants to bring him the head of the first creature they would see alive. After a short period of time they returned with the cut-off head of an elephant. Shiva put the head of the elephant on the lifeless body of his son and Ganesha directly rose from the death and entered history as a half-god with the head of an elephant.

There are many different appearances of Ganesh, every time shown with different attributes. In the case of this tattoo, a key (client’s wish), a lotus and a plate with candy. Mostly Ganesha is portrayed with a big, bare belly and a rose-orange skin, a rat sitting next to his feet and off course an elephant head. Sometimes Ganesha has an symbol between his eye’s and trunk which looks like the number ‘3’, similar to the symbol of Om or Aum; the sound of the vibration out of which the universe was created.

Ganesha is also seen as the one who wrote down the Mahabharata (One of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India). And anywhere in India you will find statues of him which they believe will help travellers to make the decision which way they need to go. Ganesha is always symbolizing the start of something, the first impulse.

 

 

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GARUDA

Inspired from batik pattern Garuda.

Gurda derived from the word Garuda. As known, the garuda is a large bird. In view of the Java community, an garuda has a position very important. Gurda motif is also inseparable from the beliefs of the past. Garuda is the mount Batara Vishnu. This god is known as the Sun God. Because the eagle to ride Batara Vishnu, the Garuda is also used as a symbol of life as well as a symbol of virility.

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