"Places to See in Blitar" Blitar by Marjara

Blitar Travel Guide: 42 reviews and 188 photos

Bung Soekarno Memorial

Blitar is one of many little towns that one would pass by while going from Malang in the East Java to Jogja in Central Java without paying much attention to it. There is little in the town to command the attention of the visitors. But the town has become associated with Soekarno (or Bung Karno) who was in the forefront of the country's struggle for independence from the Dutch between 1945 and 1949, and then became and remained its undisputed leader and president until he was overthrown in 1968. After his death two years later he was quietly buried here in his birthplace along with his father and mother and lay in his grave in comparative obscurity. He was reinstated in 1978 and has since then been regaining his rightful place in the estimation of the people of Indonesia. His grave located only a couple of kms north of Blitar on the road to Panataran has become a place of pilgrimage where the Indonesians come to pray at his grave and pay him homage. The bigger graves by the side of his grave are those of his mother and father. The graves are covered over by a three-level traditional roof and surrounding it are spacious grounds with gardens.

Panataran Temple Complex

About 10 kms north of Blitar lies an impressive group of Hindu temples in one site near the village of Panataran. It is the largest complex of temples east of Prambanan near Jogja but it is from a little later time period. Its construction took place between the 12th and the 15th centuries during the Majapahit rule. Most of the temples are in ruins and have only the base in tact. A few of them have been partially restored. Most of the structures have sculptures that narrate scenes from the Hindu epics. The panel in the photo shows the construction of the causeway between India and Lanka so that the forces of King Rama could cross over and bring back Sita, Rama:s wife, who has been abducted by Ravana, the evil king of Lanka. You can see Hanuman and his force of monkeys at work digging stones and carrying them to the site. The temple is or will be very shortly on the list of UNESCO's Heritage sites.

Rainy Day in the Market

There is not much to visit within the town. There is a statue of Soekarno in oneof the intersections and also a museum to honour his memory. There is a park which called Aloon Aloon. One of the places that I go out of my way to visit is the marketplace. The purpose is not to buy stuff so much as to watch the hectic buying and selling that is going on there. I observe the local people and even more closely I examine what the merchants stock, how they display their goods and what goes on when the deals are made. There are always a number of things being sold with which you are not familiar. The market in Blitar is located on Mawar st., which turns left from Medreka St. There is a Chinese temple right at that spot. It was bedecked all in red for the New Year. There was an outside market and an inside market, which was full of goods and people. The verandah was cluttered with stuff. Just as I walked up and down the outer market and made a round of a few of the lanes inside the market, it began to rain. The merchants dragged their wares closer to their shops. The activity inside went on unabated but outside there was a visible change. Since the rain is a daily occurrence in the months of November to February, the people are well prepared for it. Those on motorbike take out their raincoats and put them on right away. The street vendors and the three-wheeled becak drivers pull the plastic sheets out and spread them over their contraptions to keep them dry. Since I was without a raincoat or even a plastic sheet I had to wait in the verandah of the market for over an hour.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Blitar is worth stopping at for the Panataran temple complex.
  • Cons:The exit from the Soekarno memorial is through winding lanes of boutiques. Try to leave by the way you came in.
  • In a nutshell:I didn't plan to stop but I did. The visit to the temple made it worthwhile.
  • Last visit to Blitar: Jan 2012
  • Intro Written Mar 13, 2012
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  • theo1006's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Good that you stopped at Blitar, so many tourists doing Java pass by it. But did you really pay just Rp 30,000 for a room at Hotel Tugu? Perhaps it was Rp 300,000.

    • Marjara's Profile Photo
      Aug 30, 2012 at 6:20 AM

      The price was INR 300,000., which worked out to a little less than $35 Canadian at the current exchange rate. I stopped at Blitar for two reasons. First, I did not want to undertake a long journey from Malang to Solo or Jogyakarta in one day. It would have wasted a whole day. Second, I was intrigued by the descriptions of the Panataran temple complex, which turned out to be be even more worth seeing than I imagined. Blitar city itself had little to offer.

Marjara

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