The enchanting and beautiful land of Parahyangan or Sunda are both magical names for West Java stretches from the Sunda Straits in the west to the borders of central java in the east.
The north coast of West Java is a part of the Sunda Shelf that stretches to the east and borders the Strait of Makassar and the Bali Sea. Most probably the best-known natural wonder on the south Sunda coast is Pelabuhan Ratu.
The geographical borders of West Java are to the west, is the Province Banten and Sunda Strait, lies the island volcano ‘Anak Krakatau’, the most violent volcanic explosions ever to occur anywhere in the world.
Powerful and ancient kingdoms, such as Tarumanegara, Pajajaran and Cirebon, have risen, ruled and fallen in the history of this Province and provide fascinating studies for students of archaeology and history.
West Java was one of the first, contact points in Indonesia for Indian traders and their cultural influences and it was here that the Dutch and British first set foot in Indonesia.
The Dutch moved their center of operations to Sunda Kelapa (now Jakarta) after fierce competition and rivalry with the British, only to return at a later date.
Sundanese culture combines very diverse elements. Sundanese language and manners range from highly refined and formalized to downright vulgar and ribald.
Sundanese performing arts comprise a dynamic tradition in which experiment has always been a vital factor. Even the most conservative musicians pride themselves on innovations they have introduced, as well as on preserving intact the tradition they have inherited, without apparent contradiction.
The Sundanese are an ethnic group native to the western part of the Indonesian island of Java. They number approximately 39 million, and are the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia. The Sundanese are predominantly Muslim. During the 2010 Census the government identified 1,128 ethnic backgrounds in the country, though total figures are not yet released for Sundanese. In their own language, Sundanese, the group is referred to as Urang Sunda, and Suku Sunda or Orang Sunda in the national language, Indonesian.
The Sundanese have traditionally been concentrated in the provinces of West Java, Banten, Jakarta, and the western part of Central Java. Sundanese migrants can also be found in Lampung and South Sumatra. The provinces of Central Java and East Java are home to the Javanese, Indonesia’s largest ethnic group.
Sundanese culture has a number of similarities with Javanese culture; however it differs by being more overtly Islamic, and has a less rigid system of social hierarchy. The common identity that binds Sundanese together is their language and culture.
West Java is covered with tropical forests with flora and fauna rarely found in other provinces. Further, its tropical forests are rich with various animals, among them many different types of monkeys.
It’s no wonder-the Land of Sunda, principally the Parahyangan Highlands, is a region of West Java that has received copious attention to detail and diversity from the forces of creation long ago (Parahyangan means “Abode of the Gods”).
Whatever you are looking for in your tropical vacation, you will certainly find something to please and surprise you in modern and traditional West Java! Plan on spending time to get around (roads are not always easy to navigate), but prices are fair and the locals friendly.
West Java has a wealth of natural resources to be processed, and used as a source of raw materials of various crafts. West Java geography structure ranging from the highlands to the coastal areas and varied climate of each region, making West Java rich of raw material, rich in cellulose fiber derived from natural fibers produced from different types of parts of plants and trees, as well rich diversity of plants that can produce natural dyes for dyeing batik and other crafts.
Some areas such as Purwakarta in West Java, Cirebon, Sukabumi is also famous for the clay raw material sources (both red soil and white soil) for its local pottery production, and high burnt pottery. In terms of visual, craft in West Java has a diversity of designs, shapes and colors of craft products.