Rain did not stop visitors to the World Royal Heritage Festival at the National Monument (Monas) square on Sunday from cheering on the floats of each participant in the festival.
The decorated horse-drawn carriage - Bala Krama Jayakarta - carrying Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his deputy Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was the highlight of the parade that circled Monas square, along with 169 representatives of royals throughout the country as well as 11 royals from overseas.
The city’s leaders donned royal suits similar to those of Pangeran Jayakarta, the ruler of Jakarta in the early 1500s.
Together with Tengku Mohamed Syawal from Kampong Gelam Palace in Singapore, they officially opened the last day of the four-day festival by hitting the traditional bamboo bell, the kentungan, at 3:30 p.m.
Although the festival was interesting, apparently many visitors had come to see Jokowi. “We’ve been here since 9 a.m., so we can get the best spot to see the governor,” said Sutrisno, a resident of Pondok Labu, South Jakarta, who came with his wife and infant child.
Another visitor, Wati, said she and her three children went to Monas from Matraman, East Jakarta, to see the parade.
“My son found out about it from the Internet and asked me to go with him,” said Wati. “It’s too bad I couldn’t see the parade as there were too many people in the parade lane.”
The event was Indonesia’s first in terms of exhibiting royal representatives from both inside the country and abroad. The festival also exhibited 80 royal carriages from the country’s kingdoms, like Surakarta in Central Java and Minang in West Sumatra. Overseas participants included Japan, the UK, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.