Simpang Lima Gumul, the Real Paris of Java

Monument of Simpang Lima Gumul, l’Arc de Triomphe de Java

Monument of Simpang Lima Gumul, l’Arc de Triomphe de Java

After his big victory in Austerlitz, Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to make a monument to honor his loyal army. He then asked the architect Jean Chalgrin to build a victory arch. After Chalgrin passed away, Jean-Nicolas Huyot finished his work.

And later in modern day, L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile has become a must-visited building in Paris. This monument stands at the Chaillot Hill right at the middle of the five-way intersection.

About 16 kilometers away from the Arc de Triomphe, I met his “twin” in Indonesia. The building is also located at the five-way intersection, which lead us to Pare, Kediri (the city), Plosoklaten, Wates (Pesantren), and Menang. It’s called Simpang Lima Gumul, in Ngasem Subdistrict, just half an hour land trip from Kampung Inggris in Pare.

Do you plan to hold a gig or event in Kediri area? Simpang Lima Gumul might be the right answer. Local government of Kediri alone used to organize some exhibitions of art, cultural, Kediri’s superior products, and other events there.

Underground alleys, access to the building

Underground alleys, access to the building

Simpang Lima Gumul Monument was built in 2003 by Sutrisno, Regent of Kediri at the moment. It consists of eight floors. There are auditorium, conventional hall, multipurpose rooms, diorama room, and mini market that sells souvenirs. The monument has three underground access roads to the main room.

At a glance, Simpang Lima Gumul looks similar to L’Arc de Triomphe. But take it closer, you’ll see the engraving on the wall depicting Indonesian countryside, farmers, agriculture, and other. On all four sides of the monument there are statues of Ganesha, the symbol of Kediri. Meanwhile, Simpang Lima Gumul is 804 square meters, 25 meters high, and propped by the three ladders. You know what, it shows exactly the anniversary of Kediri Regency: March 25th, 804.

View from the top of the Monument

View from the top of the Monument

What can we possibly do there? Comme vous voulez. You want to lie down daydreaming? Go ahead. Chit chat with new friends who are also learning English in Kampung Inggris? It’s a good idea! Don’t know what to do? You may just watch people there like I did. When I went to the place, there were traditional martial art training and dance rehearsal.

If you prefer takes some pictures and check-in to Forsquare or Facebook, you are very welcome. There is strong wi-fi signal in the area. Of course, you can also use this free Internet access for other purpose.

Gumul Paradise Island

Not far from the monument, there is a fine recreational park. A variety of entertainment and merchants are easy to find there. Love to swim? Walk a little farther to feel the fresh water in Gumul Paradise’s pool.

The Water Park called Gumul Paradise Island

The Water Park called Gumul Paradise Island

The water park provides you a collection of amusing vehicles like you find in WBL, such as speed slides, body slides, mushroom pool, fun boomerang, spilled tub pond, flying fox, etc. Not to mention standard amenities like toilet, food court, little mosque, lockers, giftmart, spacious parking lot, and so forth.

Brief, “Arc de Triomphe” in Paris… err, I mean Pare, is not to be missed. If you wish to travel to Paris or just miss Paris, you should visit Simpang Lima Gumul. And I suggest you to come after the sunset. So you can enjoy the nuance while seeing les étoiles (the stars) in the sky. [photos form KediriKab.go.id]


Moch. YusufWritten by Moch. Yusuf, The Course Coordinator for Kampung Inggris. You may like his other articles about Kediri:

In Kampung Inggris, Everybody is so Serious on English

Activity in Kampung Inggris

Did you know, you can improve your English while go traveling. Visit Pare. It is known as Kampung Inggris (English Village). At least, two of its villages, i.e. Tulungrejo and Pelem Village, are dominated by English learning activities. They hold English courses intensively day and night. From days to months. It’s not merely formal classes. The students sometimes travel out to some tourism site, go around with bicycles, play some games, and finally sleep in dormitory. However, they have to speak English all the time. Yes, that’s English camp’s rule!

But of course, the program is not for native English speakers. There is no Caucasian here. The man who started this kampong development even is “just” an Indonesian.

Back in 1976, a young man named Kalend Osen wanted to learn some subjects from Hajj Ahmad Yazid in Pelem Village, Pare. Mr. Yazid was a polyglot. The young Kalend then stayed as a student in Mr. Yazid’s pesantren (Islamic boarding school). One day, two university students from IAIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya came to learn English for their exam. Because Mr. Yazid wasn’t there, his wife then asked Kalend to teach them. Hence, Kalend gave them short course for five days. Done. They went home.

In about a month, they returned to tell Kalend that they had passed the English exam. It was a good news! Kalend got more confidence to teach English. So, in 1977, he officially launched the BEC (Basic English Course). Kalend adopted pesantren method in his curriculum. It was successful method. That’s why, many of his students then ran their own English Course with the same success recipe: everyday learning (reading, writing, listening, speaking) from the morning until the night, in a conducive ambiance.

The new students keep on coming, from Surabaya, Jogjakarta, Jakarta, Bogor, even outside Java. And the number of the course institutions continually grows as well. Currently, there are more than 100 institutions in Pare alone.

Mostly, the houses in Pelem and Tulungrejo Villages are dedicated for the course activities, including the classes, guest houses or dormitories for students, book stores, etc. Luckily, The fees for the course and dormitory is super cheap. That’s why we call this place “kampung”. The living cost here is always lower than cities like Malang, Gresik or Surabaya. FYI, Pare is a district in Kediri Regency, East Java Province. It’s located at the bottom of Mount Kelud’s slopes. About 30 minutes land trip from Kediri, and about two hours land trip from Surabaya City.

And by the way, in Kampung Inggris, there are also course for other languages, such as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc. Interesting, isn’t it? [photo from Kompasiana]


Moch. YusufWritten by Moch. Yusuf, The Course Coordinator for Kampung Inggris. You may like his other articles about Kediri: