The Sunrise from Chicken Church


“Oh, did you wake up for sunrise?”
“I tried, actually I did, but I went back to my bed, immediately.”
“You know it doesn’t count?”
Somehow I made it to wake up around 3 a.m, in late August, onecloudy and cold morning, with a light rain. I’ve been told that the August is the coldest month in Indonesia. How can even be cold in Indonesia? Despite three months of the dry and hot season, non-cloudy mornings and clear Indonesian sky, I choose that day. At least I did it, I woke up to see sunrise and there’s no need to complain about anything. Especially not about morning rain.
“Jovi. I’m in front of your house, are you ready?”
“Iya, coming in a minute.” I’ve just woken up, after two hours of sleep I had. To the Church there was more than an hour ride by motorbike from the North, and I believe that was one and only time I saw non crowded streets of Yogyakarta. Although I got my denim jacket, it was still cold, either because of the speed (It’s possible, cause in Jogja during the day you can not ride that fast due to traffic) or it was just colder than usual. We parked the motorbike at the close parking lot under the hill and headed to the small road where I could only see a meter in front of my fet, what the flashlight allowed me.
“There are monkeys around.” – It’s not that I was afraid of monkeys, but I’ve heard they could be aggressive, quiteoften. After all, it was so dark that everything looked even more spooky, with some unknown noises all around, Monkeys.
There it was – “Sunrise Point” at Bukit Rhema, Rhema Hill. We jumped over the bamboo get as there was nobody to open it, and set on the wooden bench. There’s no such as good or bad sunrise, as long as you know how to enjoy it. All I knew is that in front of me were shadows of Merapi Volcano, covered with huge clouds, and a miniature of Borobudur, the biggest Buddhist temple. I put my right arm in the direction of the sun, trying to face the north of Yogyakarta, where I was living. It still hadn’t made any sense to me, and all I could see was wild nature and the bright sun stabbing my eyes. Timing is always the same – the sun rises before half past five in the mornings and sets around half past five in the evenings. That’s how it is in Jogja, it’s not changing.
“People usually visit the Church below.” I haven’t seen any Church on the way to Bukit Rhema sunrise point, so I wascurious to check it out on my way back. It looked like everything not alone like a Church! Huge stone building, more alike a pigeon than a chicken, with really big crown on the head. Since it was already the dawn and the Church was open. I’d bought an entrance ticket (it was about 1 euro) and got inside. Huge open space with some chairs around. And big TV screen showing the history of the Church. What I remember, it had been built by a local man named Daniel Alamsiyah an entrance.
One led to the top, to the roof, and another stairs led under the Church, to the basement. Underground wall lamps were on, cause in other case it wouldn’t be possible to see anything. That part reminded me of a maze that looked like a prison, with maybe around ten stone cells. Each cell, better to say small praying room, was nothing more than close empty space, with a rug on the ground. 
Despite lights hanged on the each ceiling I still doubt any claustrophobic person would enter the rooms to pray. The hallway of this mysterious maze was decorated with different paintings, picture and sculptures related to different religions. It might look strange for someone who’s just come to Indonesia but I’d already got used to all the “contadictions” that could be found around.
“Let’s go upstairs!” – Tiny spin stairs let to the first upper floor. Walls all around were covered with modern paintings with various motives of Javanese culture, love, faith and no drugs propaganda. Neither I asked nor I knew why it was there and how it could be related to any religious place, even with the one like Chicken Church was. One level above and there you were – on the top of the building in the pigeon’s grown! The view was beautiful, pretty much the same scenario I was able to see from the hill. Except sitting on the bench you were standing on the the stone pigeon head of the Holy Temple from Daniel Alamsyah’s vision.
One tip for visitors: if you consider yourself clumsy – watch out your head and steps while climbing down the stairs. And don’t forget your free snack, it comes with the entrance ticket.

Writer: Jovana Bozilovic

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