Jakarta : Jakarta is a city of skyscrapers, LED billboards, toll roads, flyovers, foot over bridges, museums, shopping malls, food courts, cafés, food streets, restaurants, colourful mosques and tree-lined verdant avenues.
It is also the capital of Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine. Rain washed trees, skyscrapers, red-tiled roofs of homes, buildings, avenues, litter free pavements, roads, canals and rivers lend the city a 24×7 fresh look.
Jakarta’s 75-floor 382.9 meters Autograph Tower, built in the year 2021, is the tallest building in Indonesia as well as the Southern Hemisphere. The second tallest is 304 meters 64-floor Luminary Tower which too was constructed in 2021. A Wikipedia entry says that “as of July 2021, there are 46 skyscrapers in Jakarta, which are taller than 200 meters. Jakarta has the highest number of 200-meter-plus skyscrapers among South-East Asian cities.”
In India the tallest building is in Mumbai. Called Palaise Royale this 320 meters 88-storey residential building was constructed in 2018. The second tallest in India is 280.2 meters World One, a 76-floor residential skyscraper in Mumbai constructed in the year 2020.
At the centre of Central Jakarta, spread over 75 hectares, is Merdeka Square. Merdeka in Bahasa means freedom and the square is also known as Freedom Square. And at the centre of this square is National Monument, a 132 meters high tower. From the top of this monument a 360 degree birds eye-view of the square is spectacular. Astounding it is.
It is surrounded by Istiqlal Mosque, beautiful Dutch era buildings, American Embassy, National Library (Perpustakaan Nasional), National Museum, Governor’s House and modern high rises. A single slow moving lift of 800 kg capacity takes one to the top of the tower for an awesome view of Central Jakarta.
Reach there early in the morning and be prepared to spend a couple of hours for your turn to reach the top. Remember that Indonesians love outdoors — picnics, trekking, travelling to places of tourist interest. During the weekends they are out dressed in their festive best, celebrating life with their families in full strength.
The National Museum of Indonesia is also called Museum Gajah or Elephant Museum. One must visit this museum to get a close look at the history of the world’s largest archipelago. This beautifully planned museum is considered to be one of the best in this part of the world. Open air courtyard houses stone statues of Buddhist and Hindu era. It takes visitors step by step through various stages of the country’s evolution. Easy to follow and understand themes, sections, display of artefacts and commentary/explanations make the visit memorable.
Well-metalled city roads with green avenues are a motorists delight. Central Vista road, with towering skyscrapers, hundreds of LED billboards on both sides of the road and lush green avenues, is Jakart’s pride. During the day the road is through a modern high tech zone which gets transformed into a fairy land in the night. One must not miss these two drives while in Jakarta. With petrol prices at Rs. 40.70 one need not worry about the fuel cost. Weren’t we Indians enjoying this price of petrol in 2004?
With this post I conclude the first leg of my journey through this great archipelago nation. Hope to go on the second leg of tour to cover Bali and Sumatra soon.