Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Penyengat Island Festival 2016 : Cultural and Marine festivities

Situated just across the city of Tanjungpinang, capital of the Riau Islands Province, the small island of Penyengat aims to become the new icon of tourism and cultural development of Tanjungpinang. To that end, the local government will stage an exciting and multi-aspect event on 20th to 24th February 2016, named the Penyengat Island Festival 2016.

Taking place in three different locations, namely the Balai Adat (the Adat Court), the Town Hall, and the Bulang Village, the event will feature a wide variety of activities, among which Malay cultural performances, a yachts race, which will sailing toBelakang Padang island in Batam and on to Johore in Malaysia.  

The Penyengat Island Festival will also highlight the famous Gurindam 12 literary masterpiece written in Old Malay language of Riau, discussions on poetry, quizzes, and presentations on the history of Penyengat. Outside of poetry there will be topspinning competition, painting, literature classes, and cultural seminars. There will also be boat racing, canoeing, rowing, traditional swimming,  pillow fights, and kite flying competitions. In addition, the festival will also include a photography competition, culinary festival, Malay fashion show, and folklore story telling.

The highlight of the event that one must surely attend is the literary workshop on Gurindam 12 (The 12 Chapters on Religious and Moral behaviour) written by Penyengat’s own poet Raja Ali Haji. Expected to participate in the event are interfaith leaders, scholars, historians, cultural experts, writers, lecturers, and scientists who will engage in lively discussions on this classic masterpiece written by national hero, Raja Ali Haji.

Penyengat Island lies two kilometers directly in front of the town of Tanjungpinang and  can be reached in 15 minutes by boat. In the 18th century the island of Penyengat was the twin-seat of then Johor-Riau Sultanate. The island has an interesting blend of Javanese and Dutch architecture, and is still imbued with an air of dignity, even though it had been left almost neglected for more than 80 years. Here are tombs and crypts, and a restored fort.

As the central government of the once Sultanate of Johor-Riau, the island of Penyengat has many relics of the Sultateincluding the Sultan Riau grand mosque, the Cemetery of the Sultans of Johor-Riau and their family, the tomb of the National Hero Raja Ali Haji, the Palace Office, the Adat Court, and the Bukit Kursi fortress.

Since the island is close to Tanjungpinang, it is easily reached by speedboat, or you can rent one to take a small group of people for a roundtrip. To go around Penyengat you can use a motorized rickshaw similar to the ones found in the city of Medan for about Rp20,000. (Indonesia.travel)

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