While many visitors to Indonesia may miss out on Madura, those who make their way to the island enjoy striking examples of Indonesian culture. Fine food, a warm welcome, empty beaches, colourful batik and aeons of culture reveal plenty to love in this oft-neglected corner of East Java.
Perhaps the most iconic sight is in Pamekasan, to the island’s centre. Standing proud in the city’s alun, or square, the Monumen Arek Lancor, that resembles the traditional Madurese weapon, writhes out of the ground in an attitude of prayer and devotion, as though inspired by the ornate Masjid Agung Asy-Syuhada behind it and the Bunda Maria Ibu Para Rasul Catholic Church afront. Closer inspection reveals the symbol’s resemblance to the word “Allah,” reaffirming the intrinsic religious beliefs that many Pamekasan citizens abide by.
The vision is a contemplative one; atop the monument, the five symbols of arek and lancor firmly pierce the sky in a depiction of Madurese assertiveness and bravery. Visitors can find plenty of shade during the day to watch the comings and goings afforded by the mosque’s calls to prayer, while the nightly carnival atmosphere ensures a colourful, family-friendly vibe settles over the heart of the city.
Like this? Why not read about the Banda islands, another out-of-the-way destination.