This is a becak, or pedicab, in Yogyakarta. It was taken while out and about in the Indonesian city last January.
Since I’ve been lazy with the camera as of late, I decided to at least reprocess some photos I have backed up as NEF (“raw”) files. Some of these date 3-4 years.
While I’m not personally an overtly religious person, places of worship have always fascinated me – something people who have followed this blog will notice. In a way, they encapsulate a place’s culture. I think a perfect example is this first church, located in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Note the differences in architecture compared to the American churches below.
Something else that interests me is the difference between more rural and urban churches. In League City, Texas, a small farm town until it expanded recently due to suburban expansion, Saint Mary Church’s old building is now a historical site for the town. I found its humble stature interesting, especially compared to St. Paul, located in nearby Houston.
For good measure I included a few Buddhist temples which also show differences in geography. This is less evident however in these photos, but can be seen when visiting these temples in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong versus Thailand and Cambodia.
Above: a church located in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
A Buddhist temple located on the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, Thailand.
A Baptist church in Taipei, Taiwan.
The “Big Buddha” of Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong.
Left: Wellington First Congregational Church in Wellington, Ohio. Right: Wellington First United Methodist Church in Wellington, Ohio.
Left: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston, TX. Right: St. Mary (Old) Catholic Church, League City, TX.
These are oldies, taken in January and September, 2011 while visiting Daxi and Jiufen. They’ll have to make up for the fact that’s been quite a while since I’ve even touched my camera between a few different factors like half marathon training and other hobbies.
Starting off with a shot repeated on this blog. This was taken and posted the first time I visited Daxi.
These are from Daxi:
From Jiufen. I wasn’t paying attention to the gentleman smiling big, so he was out of focus. I’m guessing that’s why I didn’t include it the first time around, but I kind of like the photo, actually.
This was actually taken years ago while visiting Thailand. I did NOT do this, but thought it was photo-worthy when I noticed it by chance while out walking in Bangkok.
This is the last of what I took in Bali. These are from the limited time I had there, mostly around Nusa Dua. If you venture away from the beach resorts, there is much to see in terms of daily life and culture. I realize much more can be seen elsewhere on the island – I’ll just have to return someday!
Above: a woman prepares offerings for local Hindu statues.
Above: detail of completed offerings.
The kraton, or palace, of Yogyakarta is an interesting site as it hearkens to both pre-colonial and Dutch colonial Indonesia. The center of the Yogyakarta Sultanate, it has been a center of regional power since 1755 with the current building having existed since 1790. Today, the Special Region of Yogyakarta, a sort of autonmous territory which includes the city, is ruled by the Sultan, Hamengkubuwono X.
During our tour, which cost 15,000 rupiah (about 1 USD) with an English-speaking tour guide, we were guided through the palace grounds and given chances to take photos.
Above: the official seal of the monarchy.
Whenever I travel, I try to get an idea of the more mundane aspects of life in the place I’m visiting. Getting away from “touristy” areas (though this is hard sometimes), eating local food, and just observing and interacting with people is sometimes more fun for me as a photographer.
These are from Yogyakarta in central Java.
Above: a Catholic school lets out in a district near the Kraton, or Sultan’s palace.
Above: What seems to be a bulk snack food store in Kotagede, an older section of Yogyakarta.
Above: The “Jogja” (Yogyakarta) skyline in a residential area. Locals told me you can see Mt. Merapi on a clearer day.
Above: Residential neighborhood, Yogyakarta.
Above left: Neighborhood mosque, Yogyakarta. Right: Neighborhood, Yogyakarta.
Above: A busy market near Kotagede, Yogyakarta.
Above: A vendor in Yogyakarta.
Above: A pedicab, or becak in Yogyakarta.
Above left: Maliboro, the main shopping district in Yogyakarta fills at night. Right: Tugu Monument, which sits at a main intersection in Yogyakarta.
Above left: A girl leaves a nearby Islamic school in Kotagede. Right: A sign for what I think is an Islamic school in Kotagede.
Above: Kotagede near the river. Notice the mosque and speakers for prayer on the left. This also shows off the Javanese architecture which can also be seen in structures of other religions.
Not far from Borobudur is Prambanan, a similarly dated temple complex. Originally, it consisted of 240 temple structures, of which only a few remain. The largest and most important of these is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva, and roughly translates as the “Realm of Shiva.”
Architecturally, I was struck by how similar it is to Angkor Wat, which makes sense as both are Hindu temples. Like Borobudur, it also includes many bas reliefs of significant lore. Most important is probably the Ramayana, a great Hindu epic telling of a king’s daughter who is captured and rescued.