Loro Kidul

The Goddess of The South Sea at Parangtritis.

There is a slight apprehension intertwining with the mist caused by the violent waves of the Indian Ocean battering the beach of Parangtritis. The air, full with sea particles and fine sand, feels heavy and light at the same time. Sometimes even the most innocent of weekend strollers, seem to disappear temporarily into thin air, when the waves roar loader and higher without any particular reason.

After all, this wind-swept stretch of black sand on the south coast of Java, is the self-chosen home of Nyai Loro Kidul, a legendary Javanese goddess. A one hour drive from Yogya, cannot dispel Yogya the mystical connection with the sultanate of this royal city. The legend has it that the founding father of the Mataram dynasty was led to victory in war after being taught by the Goddess. Up to this time and day, the subsequent rulers of the sultanates of Mataram, both from Yogya and Solo, continue to pay tribute to her in various ways. In both the palaces of Yogyakarta and Solo, there are rooms dedicated to the mythical union of the Sultan and Loro Kidul. Many laymen claim to have sighted Loro Kidul exactly on this beach, which is the perfect location for meditation.

There are however other places on the island of Java with an equally strong presence of the Loro Kidul. Pelabuhan Ratu, a small fishermen city in West Java, celebrates an annual holiday in her honor on April 6th. Many locatons on the south coast of Java, are familiar with some sort of ceremonies honoring the Queen of the South Sea...

Even after the spread of Islam, these beliefs remained persistent. Another sign that in Indonesia, there is more than meets the eye and things are not as straightforward as one might assume...

Switch to Dutch