Modi in Jakarta: How Muslim-majority Indonesia keeps its Hinduism alive

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Modi in Jakarta: How Muslim-majority Indonesia keeps its Hinduism alive

Modi in Jakarta: How Muslim-majority Indonesia keeps its Hinduism alive


PM Modi is all set to visit the Arjuna Wijaya Chariot situated at Central Jakarta as he spends a day in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the Prime Minister’s first stop as he commenced his three nation visit. The two other countries PM Modi will be visiting are Malaysia and Singapore.

PM Modi will visit the Arjuna Vijaya Chariot at Jakarta. Photo: Flicker

The Arjuna Vijaya Chariot statue stands testimony to the cultural reach and influence of the great ancient Indian epic Mahabharata in Indonesia, where the other famous ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana, is also equally popular.

Hindus comprise two per cent of Indonesia’s population and form close to a 90 per cent majority on the island of Bali. The country is also home to a 100,000-plus strong Indian diaspora, largely comprising Tamils and Sindhis, the majority of whom live in the capital, Jakarta, and the city of Medan in Sumatra.

Versions of Hinduism

Along with traditional Hindu gods such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Balinese Hindus worship a range of deities unique to their branch of the religion. Sang Hyang Widhi is the designation for one God in Balinese Hinduism.

The Temples

Bali teems with temples devoted to various Hindu gods. Even in other parts of the archipelago, for instance, the Muslim-majority neighbouring island of Lombok, Hinduism exists in a syncretic embrace with Islam.

Lombok is home to the Pura Lingsar temple complex, where both Hindus, and those Muslims who adhere to the island’s unique waktu telu tradition of Islam, worship.

Lombok in Indonesia is home to a temple complex which is a site of prayer for both Hindus and Muslims. Photo: Pinterest.

Indonesia is also the world’s most populous Muslim country and its third largest democracy. PM Modi, during his visit to the island nation, will also make a stop at the majestic Istiqlal Mosque, accompanied by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Food

Gado-Gado is a traditional Indonesian salad served with rice. Photo: Instagram

Hinduism is one of the six official religions of Indonesia, and the country is home to a lot of influences from the religion, including food.

Indonesia, that is known mostly for its wide array of non-vegetarian food ranging from various kinds of fish to seafood, has various vegetarian delicacies too to offer, including Gado-Gado and Sambal goreng kentang.

Cendol is a traditional Indonesian dessert that is made with coconut. Photo: Instagram.

Coconut features predominantly in the food, as do tofu and potato, and makes the Indonesian cuisine pleasantly familiar, but with a twist.

Indonesia should totally be your bucket list too, isn’t it?

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