Palembang, A Photography Journal The Blessing of Musi River Flowing Over The People. Palembang the capital city of the South Sumatra province in Indonesia is the second-largest city in Sumatra Island after Medan. Palembang is located on the Musi River banks on the east coast of southern Sumatra with land area of 374.03 square kilometres and a population over 1,8 million people (2015 estimated). This journal begin with the question “What would Palembang Citizen do without the Musi River???”
The Mayor office of Palembang, a well known landmark with also called Kantor Ledeng translated as Office of Plumbing because they also provide a plumbing service to draining water throughout the city. The office located in downtown, used to be the first water tower to provide clean water for the entire city back then in 1927, builed by Indonesian architect Ir. S.Snuijf from Surabaya and the whole project cost about 1 ton of gold; which is one third of the entire Palembang city master plan budget at that moment.
Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, based on Kedukan Bukit Inscription which on 16 June 682 ac a Chinese monk, Yijing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya near Palembang in Sumatra in the year 671 for 6 monthsand has a history of being the capital city of the Kingdom of Srivijaya, a powerful Malay kingdom, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. So this year, Palembang will be celebrating its 1332 years old of it’s existence.
Palembang’s main landmarks include Ampera Bridge and Musi River, the latter of which divides the city into two. Jembatan Ampera was built in 1962 using Japanese technology and architect to connect the trade across the river.
The north bank of Musi River in Palembang is known as Seberang Ilir and the south bank of the river in Palembang is known as Seberang Ulu. The Seberang Ilir is Palembang’s economic and cultural centre and the Seberang Ulu is its political centre, but nowdays the Seberang Ulu area also intriguing the investor to built several mall and modern trade centre there.
There are very important reasons why people throughout history have chosen to live where they do. If we look at maps of different places in the world, we will notice that most large communities and cities are located on, or near the water. Let’s look some maps of two countries where there were early civilizations, and see if this is true. The population of metropolis city is growing rapidly, the downtown people comes by to work and doing business, hence the mobile live effect the transportation; just like the busy street of Palembang City.
This is daily live in Palembang, like other most of the cities are near the cost of the ocean or along river; it’s a hectic, busy and fast by all means. This is callled Pasar Tumpah or translated as “floading” market, it’s name after floading because few of the seller who won’t or couldn’t affort the rent inside the market decide to hijacking the side of the road to sold their stuffs, so the term of floading didn’t refers to the real puddle. Despite the complicated money and regulation conflicts between the Goverment, the consumer and the seller, i think it’s nice to photograph the crowd.
This is Musi River, flowing over more than 750 km along the river which divides the city into two parts, the Seberang Ulu and Seberang Ilir is the longest river in Sumatra. Since the first of the Musi River has become the economic lifeblood and the city of Palembang in South Sumatra Province. The tradition, cultural and beautiful living of the river city make The President of Indonesia declared Palembang to be the “City of Water Tourism” on 27 September 2005.
Palembangnese people lovin the lives that Musi river given us. People began to build their homes where they could be close to food and supplies. Larger towns and cities began to spring up along trade routes. Let’s stop for a minute, and think about the locations of some of the major cities, here in Indonesia. These cities have one thing in common; They are all near water! We will also learn why these locations were important to the growth and development of Palembang City.
The overflowing blessing of Musi River made the land along the rivers is fertile. The is fertile land made the crops can be grown and more than fullfilling the domestic need of the people. Animals can also be raised if there is enough food and water for them. People learned that they could stay in one place and grow enough food to feed their community, if they were near a water supply.
The Musi River also provide the mind bogling varieties of freshwater fish and other edible freshwater aquatic lives. Eversince the massive exploitation, the stock of wild fish in Musi river is degradated constantly; hence the regulation of unethical and ecological method of fishing like electrical shocking, jaring pukat harimau (very tiny holes trawls) or poisoing is banned since 2004.
The culinary herritage of Palembang is also related with the fish and any other freshwater aquatic creatures. Palembang well known fish dish is pindang, a spicy sour sweet soup made of garlic, ginger, chili, and one of several sour flavouring agent like tamarind, pinneaple or cherry tomato.
There’s always be heart warming about river, dining on the side of the river is one of the tourism attraction in Palembang. There’s several outstanding fine dinning restaurant along the Musi River banks which is actually selling the view and the dining experience.
This is floating restaurant boat boarding on the Musi River, about 1 km docking in the left side of the Ampera Bridge. Palembang citizen embrace the living on the side of Musi River, even we like to dining over it, literrary. This floating boat restaurant is also called by locals as rumah makan goyang or literary translated as shaking up restaurant because the boat will be shaking up when a big wave streaking off the boat when gigantic boat cross over the river.
This is how Palembangnese had a dining, nice windy window facing the Musi River with the Ampera bridge and docking-crossing over boats as the background; this is a perfect scenery for me. This view is also the favourite spot for photography and as long as i remember i’ve never failed to impressed local Indonesian tourist and especially a foreigner backthen when i was a tour guide.
The docking boat is also the perfect spot for photography. As people began to travel around, different societies came into contact then different societies of people could now share ideas with each other. People began to trade food, clothing, and other things. Many major waterways were becoming trade routes that people would travel to buy and sell goods.From these ports, goods can then move to other locations by land or river. Trade and shipping are very important to the development of towns and cities. Shipping creates jobs, and communities develop around these locations.
As time went on, waterways began to serve more purposes. Rivers, lakes, and seas began to be used for transportation. People built boats, and started exploring the area around them, hence the large cities had a gigantic fort to accomodated it. Port is the very important trade centers.
Under the Ampera bridge, there a small port to accomodate the tourist to rent a boat to explore the Musi River. On a short 1-2 hours travelling along the banks of the Musi River will be cost you about IDR 150.000 (10 USD) on a low tourism season and doubled on the high peak season.
Me and three dentist collegues friends with the accompany of two foreigner friends; a world trotter Russian couple traveller had a little adventure on the last Cap GO Meh Celebration in Pulau Kemaro. We rent a small river boat to explore the lives within the Musi River to explore the photography spots along the riverbanks.
Pulau Kemaro is our first photography spot. Pulau Kemaro or Pulo Kemaro in locals dialeg is a small delta in Musi River located about 6 km from the Ampera Bridge. Pulau means merupakan island and kemaro means dry season, this delta names after it because it will be dry even in the peak of heavy rainy season. Pulau Kemaro is famous with it’s Buddish temple Kelenteng Hok Tjing Rioand Kelenteng Kwam In with it’s stunning 9th floor pagoda tower. We had our adventure there in the Cap Go Meh or Lantern Festival (15 days after The Chinese New Year).
The Pulau Kemaro pagoda tower with it’s 9th floor stand proud in the island as a main attraction to the main land. The perfect spot to capture the 360 degree of the right side of the Musi River bank. This pagoda build in 2006 and it’s definitely need the hell of healthy mental and body to climbed out there and it’s all worthed when you see the scenery above.
My Russian friends Knesia and all of the ganks is very excited to enjoy the scenery, and of course capturing the moment with our camera. When i ask Knesia, about her Instagram and why she capturing the places and scenery she ver visited, she proudly told me that “There are no borders. My home is Milky Way galaxy, Solar system, The Earth.” then she told me that the photograph is one of her legacy.
This is how crowded traffic over the Musi River captured from the 9th floor of the pagoda in Pulau Kemaro. The large ship is called kapal tongkang in locals, a barge with tugboat to propelled it was carrying coal. A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods.
All of the major factories were made near rivers, including this PT.Pupuk Sriwijaya or simply called Pusri, a Urea fertilizer factory. The small brigde to connect the Seberang Ilir land with the Pulau Kemaro, so this is the alternatives route to visit the delta beside renting a boat from the Musi River.
On our little trip to the Pulau kemaro during the Cap Go Meh/Lantern Festival i realized that we Palembang Citizen livin in harmony. We had a different background and religion but we all embrace the Cap Go Meh celebration; you can see from the picture above that there’s also may moslem citizen(wearing hijab) at that moment and no one of my photo hunter ganks is practicing Buddism but we were there too to celebrate the Lantern Festival.
Moving back to the Ampera bridge, there Benteng Kuto Besak, a gigantic fort situated on the Seberang Ilir banks of the Musi River and adjacent to Ampera Bridge, this fort is one of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate of heritage buildings. Nowdays, used as a hospital by health office II Sriwijaya Military Command.
This is Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, also located near the Ampera Bridge. This museum is flashback time machine to travel the history of Palembang city. This museum rich in its collections and the the building itself is a historical legacy, as it is a monument of the golden aged former royal palace of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate.
The stairway entrance of Museum Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin the Second is also the favourite spot for pre wedding photography. Even few of my dentistry collegues had their wedding shots in the exact angle of the photograph above
People’s Struggle Monument (Indonesian: Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat), located in downtown, adjacent to the Great Mosque of Palembang and Ampera Bridge. Monpera is also 8th floored museum was build in 23 Februsry 1998 to remember the five days battle of wars of Palembang people agains the Netherlands colonialization on 1 January 1947. This landmark of palembang city also attract the youth generation with it’s roof top as a photography spot; in the other hand it’s also a test of how fit you think you are.
Wow, that’s my first impression for the view in the rooftop of Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat (Monpera) Palembang. You had a 360 degree of Palembang City view from here and the distance made everything seems so small. All the effort to pushe you up to the 8th floor with be worthen the moment you felt the wind and the scenery ahead of your eyes.
This is the Mesjid Agung or the Great Mosque on Palembang view from above. You will notice the pyramid shaped roof of the mosque featured a chinese architectual accent with it’s upward curve in the edge of the roof.
This is Pasar 16 Ilir Palembang, the 9th Floored Market in the Seberang Ilir Musi riverbank that built in 1670. This is the center market of non food items in Palembang and the 20 years of using it without proper maintenance made it unrepresentatives this days. Fortunately, the Palembang Goverment is just started the renovation project this to improved the market to make people more comfort to shop there
Palembang has a tropical rainforest climate with relatively high humidity and sometimes significant winds. The temperature ranges from 23.4 to 31.7 degrees Celsius. Annual rainfall ranges from 2000 to 3000 mm. Humidity ranges from 75 to 89% with an average of 45% of annual sunshine. If you lucky like me and my ganks, you’ll got a chance to photograph the rare moment of local rain in the other side of the Palembang city; the Seberang Ulu.
Mesjid Agung or Grand Mosque of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Palembang is located in downtown facing the Ampera Bridge. This mosque was firstly build in 1738 and renovated sevral times eversince. The mosque is the largest mosque in South Sumatra with a 1080 m 2 and had a capacity of 15,000 pilgrims.
The main gate of Grand Mosque of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Palembang had it’s European influence with doric style. My last trip to Mesjid Agung also shocked me because i just known that most of great grand Mosques in Indonesia is build with European architect which in fact not practicing Islam.
The Great Mosque of Palembang is assimilation of western and eastern architectural. As i describes before that roof got Chinese accent, the main gate had the European acccent, in the other hand the celling had it’s Arabian influence . The minbar of this mosque is very similiar with the Great Mosqued of Medina.
This is the stunning interior of The Great Mosque of Palembang, floored with the finest Indonesian marbled stone, 10 metres of European style glass Mosaic window and roof and also a finest crystal hanging on it
We Palembang citizen overwhelmed by the blessed living we had, hence we had our times for praying to God. Palembang citizen is mostly practicing Moslem, but many of the inhabitants also practice Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.
The photography essay of Palembang got me thinking to myself, I DAMN LOVIN PALEMBANG!!! no doubt about it. I love how the river overwhelmed the lifestyle, the cultures and the hectic lives of we all the citizen. Palembang people is very polite and welcoming to other people. As a former tour guide, i’ve been told by many foreigner tourist from around the world that Palembang people is very generous, even with a simple effortless smiles.
The other photography project i had is to capturing Dentist Chef food photography featuring anymously all over the Palembang city; on the signboard of a restaurant, street gawker banner or menu book of a fancy restaurant in starred hotel. This is dilemmatic, i glad that they must be thingking that my photographs is awesome, hence in the otherhand they not giving credit of the Dentist Chef courtesy. I’m not saying about the money value of using the photograph as a commercial purpose, but removing the watermark on the photograph is definitely unethical. This is my statements years ago, eversince i’m already dealing it with ahappy state of mind now since one food court had a dozen or more of my photograph.
I’m very glad Dentist Chef Pindang Tulang anymously featured in the official Palembang City Goverment Tourism Booklet. Despite fact that the courtesy didn’t mention the Dentist Chef what so ever, i’m happy that i can represent the culinary of Palembang and hopefully it will attract more tourist coming and exploring the Musi River City.
Here comes the tricky part; before you get to nearby the Ampera Bridge, make sure you going there in a stable state of mental, better be happy because you gotta deal with some crowded and busy street of Palembang city. If you get lucky there’s no traffic jam and traffic congestion. This is daily basic life in Palembang, just look out the photograph of Palembang street with heavy traffic congestion, hence you definitely need some ride which affordable, comfortable, safety and yet had a great performance on the road. Palembangnese busy street need Toyota Agya for enhancing and support a hectic and mobile citizen like me.
My collegues friends bugging me about Toyota Agya which had been ride it for one year. My tree hugging-go vegan chick fling-pro envirometal maniac lady friend always told that she’s been saving so much money for the fuel efficency of Toyota Agya (21 km per litre, aided by its 740 kg kerb weight). Toyota Agya is one of the Low-Cost and Green Car (LCGC) programme that’s dominating the local automotive industry in Indonesian market segment for the first-time family car owners. Toyota Agya sold started at 11.000 USD (in Jakarta) and i guess a first jobber can afford it because the tax breaks offered under the LCGC regulation.
Low cost city car is considered as responsible way of life nowdays, no one argues it for sure. My comfort zone of ride is had quite an impressive and aggresive exterior presentation, spacey interior with nice air conditioner, anual and automatic transmission, Dual SSR Airbag for savety concern and the most important things is spacey trunk. Why i needed a large trunk? simply because i had a few groceries shopping and sometimes i need to bring my dentistry stuffs for clinical and laboratory purpose. My photography hunting session need a space to stucked with my camera gears and stuffs. It’s all complete feature of Toyota Agya!
I’m a 25 years old single young dentist with a very mobile and hectic lives; between the entire city for photography hunting, the clinics; the hospital, the supermarket, the gym, the malls, the cafes, the futsal places, the few imaginary girlfriend(s) place(s) (which i wish had someday latter) and for sure for by big craving tummy that made me always travelling and exploring through out the city to Eat more and cook more hence i’m the DENTIST CHEF. I’m very wishing that i had Toyota Agya, AGYA names even derived from Sanskrit word which means FAST, which is just perfect for my youth lifestyle.