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Story of Indonesia, Every Picture Tells A Story

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Located at Jalan Taman Wijaya Kusuma in Central Jakarta, on the north eastern corner of the Merdeka Square, almost right across Jakarta’s Catholic Cathedral, the grand Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in South East Asia both in structure and capacity, as it can accommodate congregations of up to 120,000 people.

First opened to the public by Indonesia’s first President, Soekarno, on 22 February 1978, the grand mosque stands out with its 45m diameter dome and tall minarets. As a perfect reflection of Indonesia’s high religious tolerance, the mosque was in fact designed by Christian architect from North Sumatra, Frederich Silaban in 1954. This national mosque of Indonesia was built to commemorate Indonesian Independence, as the nation's gratitude for God's blessings:  the Independence of Indonesia. Hence the name "Istiqlal", an Arabic word for "Independence".

During his brief 18 hours visit to Indonesia on 9th and 10th. November 2010, US President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made a special visit to the Istiqlal mosque. The US president was told by the mosque “Imam” or leader that during Christmas mass, the mosque’s parking lot is used by the Cathedral’s congregation across the road and vice-versa during Ied prayers. Later President Obama praised the Istiqlal Mosque as a symbol of religious tolerance which characterizes Indonesia and Indonesians, inspiring the world.

Photo by Sunaryo Kusumo/ 

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The Inspiring Grandeur of Istiqlal Mosque

Not only is Istiqlal the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, architecturally speaking it also happens to be staggeringly beautiful.

3 September 2012

Far from all the hustle and bustle of Bali’s vibrant southern coast, peace and tranquility welcome all to the secluded beaches and captivating hilly background of the coastal Village of Pemuteran at the north western coast of Bali. Located in the sub district of Gerokgak,in the  Buleleng Regency, the village of Pemuteran is only 20 minutes’ drive away from Lovina Beach, just at the outskirt s of West Bali National Park. The coastal area of Pemuteran is also the jumping off point to a diving adventure around the Menjangan Island.

With its gleaming black volcanic sandy beaches complemented with sheltering coconut and palm trees and backed by enchanting sceneries of green hills, Pemuteran is a perfect illustration of Balinese philosophy on energy “Nyegara Gunung” (The fusion of energy between the mountains and the sea). The serenity of this place radiates a certain spiritual ambience, making it a perfect place for meditation or just to immerse in the indulgence of nature. While peace and tranquility are found on the shores, wonders await below the surface. The Pemuteran area is unique because no other part of Bali has such large areas of shallow reefs, and these are accessible to divers and snorkelers because the region lacks the extremely strong currents and waves that characterize other coastal areas of Bali.

With all the fascinating wonders that lie beneath the surface, and the tranquility surrounding its shores, it may not be a coincidence that the Word “Pemuteran” means the turning point or a place to come back to. Because once you set foot here, you’ll definitely want to come back over and over again.

Photo by Andi Abdul Muhaimin/

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The Serene Pemuteran Beach

Soft breezes, lush sheltering trees, and  gleaming black volcanic sands of Pemuteran beach welcomes all to the peace and tranquility of Bali’s north-western friendly shores.