The Tidar Hill that located in the center of Magelang, Central Java, has been known as “the crater of candradimuka” (famous crater in the Mahabharata legend, into which the gods thrown Bhima’s son Gatotkaca—as a baby—and he became invincible) for Military Academy cadets with their legendary drum band troupe, Macan Tidar, or the Tidar Tiger. The Tidar region has been recognized as the main reserve of leaders for the Indonesian National Army (TNI).

As a matter of fact, the oral history developed in the community has told that, if the island of Java is folded, then the Tidar Hill would be located right on the middle. A notion later arisen that Tidar Hill is the pakuning (paku is nail in Javanese and Indonesian) of the land of Java. Based on this view, reputedly, the military academy was then established in the valley of Tidar.

Nevertheless, something was different on that day, Saturday, May 14, 2011. The Carnival of Paku Tidar participated by 23 art groups from the city and regency of Magelang, has melt away the “eeriness” of Tidar Hill.

Diverse traditional art groups which have become somewhat counter-culture for the establishment of keratin art and have now been known much, such as the grasak dance, warok bocah, dayaan, jingkrak (prancing) sundang, and topeng ireng (black mask), performed enthusiastically despite the heavy rains.

Prior to the carnival, a spiritual ritual of Tidar Hill was conducted by saying a prayer at the tomb of Sheikh Subakir led by an artist from Magelang, ES Wibowo. Potpourri of red and white roses, kantil, jasmine, cananga (ylang-ylang), champaka, and betel leaves was spread at the tomb of the grave.

In their prayers, the artists drew an imaginary line from the summit of Tidar Hill to the zero kilometer point in front of the Liong Hok Bio Shrine (Magelang’s city square) where the line was believed to be a bridge for uniting people. “This is an effort and a hope for a peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous Magelang,” said ES Wibowo.

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