Bungkul Park, Cemetery that Becomes Pleasure Garden

Bungkul Park' altar

Waiting. Is something I hate, for the sky and earth’s sake! I don’t know what’s wrong with this girl. Every time she promised to meet, she has never been punctual. This attitude is very much like the classical Indonesians who never felt guilty when not being on time. What a shame. I really detest waiting. I need a fresh ai… oh, wait a minute! I am in Bungkul Park Surabaya. Fresh air is everywhere!

God, this garden has been tidied up. Before these days, what was The Bungkul Park? No more than an ugly garden where most people only passed by. But since 2007, Municipal Government has revitalized it into a stunning park with green things. It’s delicious to look at now.

The Bungkul Park itself has existed since a long time ago, far before Indonesian independent’s day. A landlord had been owned it. This one of Islamic figure in Surabaya’s name is Ki Supa, a.k.a. Sunan (some kind of religious title) Bungkul, a.k.a. Ki Ageng Bungkul. He was kris (Javanese armor) maker for Brawijaya King in Majapahit, a formerly Indonesian kingdom whose territory was even greater than Indonesia Republic today.

Bungkul was father-in-law of Sunan Ampel, one of Wali Songo (nine men who brought Islam to Java). Sunan Bungkul and his family were buried in east part of this park. So, beside we can take shelter and cheer up in Bungkul Park, we may also make a devotional visit here.

My friend, a captain of Indonesian Navy, once had invited me to go in. I said yes, and we were inside. Soon the “mystical” ambiance welcomed us. There were grave, each of them was surrounded by men reading a pocket prayer book. Perhaps they hoped by implore facing a sunan’s grave, their pray would granted more easily. Oh no, this is not Islam I know.

What made Bungkul Park sinking more is the appearance of vagabonds. In 1990s, “When night came, the condition was very deeply saddened. The beggars and homeless drifters were sleeping and eating randomly here, as Bungkul Park their private residence,” a Kedondong quarter citizen reminisced.

Auspiciously, he added, the situation has turned out currently. “The vile Bungkul Park has dressed up. I think the green area is less thick than before, but neater and more gorgeous. Well-organized too! You can see guidance boards on each path. There is also the path for the disables. And jogging track too.”

Not only that, I suppose. Everyone may use the altar in the center of the park to do physical (positive) activity, including mass aerobic. Hey, skate board and bike’s U field is there! Organize a public spectacle like indie music performance? You are welcome. Just get the permission first. This is common rule in everywhere on earth, I believe.

Bungkul Park is also cozy place to discuss things

Or, you only feel like to relax yourself? Not a bad idea at all. If there is no public spectacle, Bungkul Park used to be peaceful and pleasant. Wawan, a worker from Malang, told that he loves to come to this Raya Darmo Street and Progo Street’s park, “I can’t smell the Surabaya’s typical pollution. I feel like back to my regency already.”

Wawan then also reminded me not to forget bring the laptop and enjoy the wi-fi access facility. When starvation attacks, walk a bit to the park back, and you will find a “food court” around. Life is beautiful, isn’t it?

Hundreds of people visit Bungkul Park, everyday. The skater boys, the students as an informal discussion group, the families who try to enjoy the fresh air from this city’s lungs … and of course, someone who’s waiting patiently like me.

Abruptly, my cell phone sounds. The one I am expecting for texts me, “I think im gonna B late.msh ngetik bntar.sowry” (I think I’m gonna be late. Still typing something else. Sorry.) I look the message’s time. It’s 09:23. That means she wrote this excuse message after 23 minutes to late. Great!

And guess what, she then comes after I’ve been waiting for more than an hour in boredom. (Sigh) Life is beautiful, isn’t it? [photos by Iksan]


3 Replies to “Bungkul Park, Cemetery that Becomes Pleasure Garden”

  1. Zeas Zevin

    well…i hope the road on he skate park back to normal again…it’s wavey,and so many people on it…i can’t move even for an inch.. 🙁


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