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UNITY IN DIVERSITY  

Indonesia is culturally rich. As one of the world’s most diverse countries, diversity is a central feature of Indonesian culture. From Sabang to Merauke, Indonesia has 300 ethnic groups; 750 languages and dialects, with several local languages having their own scripts; and numerous religions, as a result of the country’s unique history and geography. Although the Republic of Indonesia is only 72 years old, Indonesia as a society has a long history that stretches back to 200 C.E. when the Indian influence began to develop in Southeast Asia, resulting the famous Hindu landmarks: Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple, which is built in the 9th Century. The Indian influence then began to wane in the 13th Century with the arrival of Muslim traders and teachers from Yemen and Persia, and then also the Europeans from Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Britain. All of them then formed the rich identity of beautiful Indonesia that is yours to explore!

If you fancy something different with a little mystical air about it, you can visit Lemo cemeteries, which is a cliff funeral site where you can view unique Torajan burial tradition. There are 75 niches carved on the steep cliff where dead Torajan are buried. Some of the niches also contain large tau-tau statues dressed in colourful clothing that serve as the effigies of the dead and representations of dead nobles from the area. Culture and history lovers should visit Prai Ijing village, an indigenous settlement in Sumba Island offers unique architecture that has been maintained for hundreds of years. And then there is Bena village, the most famous and a must-visit in the Ngada district. It possesses impressive stone formations and ancestral shrines as well as traditional high thatch-roofed houses that are both picturesque and cultural-rich. You also can’t miss Pura Tanah Lot, one of the most important temples in Bali with beautiful sunsets and cultural relevance to Bali culture. A visit to Indonesia is never complete without a visit to Borobudur temple. This colossal Buddhist monument that looms majestically out of a patchwork of lush paddies and swaying palm trees has survived Gunung Merapi’s eruptions, terrorist bombs, and numerous earthquakes. Visit this temple for a beautiful landscape of green rice fields and tropical sunrise. And if you do, do not miss the Prambanan: a towering and beautiful temple built in the 9th centuries that offers a dazzling sculptural details and South East Asia’s most outstanding example of Hindu art.

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