Actually, Joko Gondel and Sri Gondel are not the real figures from two brides in the real sense. But they are two prominent “performers”, playing as the most important role in the coffee picking “drama” , a ritual ceremonies since 1870. They apparently are prime coffee fruit grains, coffee crops from the Kawisari and Sengon coffee plantations. The ritual itself has become a tradition, because people seemed to believe that the fruit of the coffee plantations formed from the meeting / marriage between Sri Gondel and Joko Gondel, which symbolize a fertilization between the pistil and stamens (Sri = female, Joko = male).
There are many ways to express thanks and their gratitude to the nature, owned by the Indonesians which passed from generation to generation. Especially to Sang Hyang universe, who has given His blessing through their harvest reap. Partly those expression of the gratitude has become a tradition that characterizes the local culture of each region. It happens in ‘selametan’ ritual, as an act of gratitude that occurred in two Kawisari and Sengon coffee plantation as well. They are both the oldest plantations in Indonesia. The Harvest of coffee picking ceremony is usually held in early July, which involve owners, managers and residents throughout the plantation.
Before the coffee harvest starts, the ritual begins with the salvation in some punden (spot believed to be the point where the holy spirit protector is located) that exist in the plantation. The prayer might put in their believe that the procession of the coffee harvest event would run smoothly and safely. Plants that would be picked, first be prayed by pinesepuh / elder person; from a prominent Hindu religious leader by using a combination of Traditional Javanese (Javanese Adat) and Hindus who still survive in the modern era now. Besides, the prayer are being said, in asking the Lord, may all the evil spirits do not interfere the marriage ceremony, for its own safety from Joko Gondel and Sri Gondel.
The ammount of the coffee beans being picked, are adapted to the Javanese horoscope that counts in the picking day. In Kawisari, Tuesday Pahing = 12, so that in this day, only 12 grains of red beans are picked as the first harvest. While in Sengon on Wednesday Pon = 14, there are 14 grains picked.
Joko Gondel and Sri Gondel, which symbolize as the first harvest (14 points), then placed into a small jar. By a board mill, they were carried in a batik cloth into a procession, starting by two men carrying the twins Kembar Mayang. They are walking towards the plant machinery. Arriving at the front of the processing machine, Sri Gondel and Joko Gondel were handed to one elders factory. They were flanked by four beautiful twin Kembar Mayang, which were arranged later alongside the production machine. It is a symbol of a completely offering to the leadership of the coffee plantation, along with the gratitude and hope for the well-being of all citizens of the plantation. The procession is further manifested in a series of ceremonies ‘selametan’ led by a religious leader of Islam. Subsequently all citizens dine in a warmhearted togetherness.
Power of Nature’s Blessing
Kawisari coffee plantation is located above an altitude of 800 m above sea level, while the plantation Sengon underneath, at approximately 400 m. These plantations stretch on Wlingi district, Blitar regency, East Java. Both plantations are flanked by Kelud and Gunung Kawi. According to what is often heard from generation to generation, the Sengon & Kawisari plantation seems very blessed by nature and astral forces. It is said that in ancient times this location was a royal Lembusuro and Mahesosuro (Sengon plantations) and the hermitage (Plantation Kawisari) the State authorities, and Prince Regent of the area Blitar, Kediri who want to be imprisoned in the mountain Kawi. The group always stop at this location to purify themselves before facing the Almighty. It added that the eruption of Kelud blessed the coffee aroma.
A 1,5 hour drive from Hotel Tugu Malang through picturesque natural landscapes of ricefields and East Javanese villages, you may arrive at Hotel Tugu Blitar for overnite. One of their special offer, you could savor is ‘The Lost Temple Dinner’ in Penataran Temple, which would be well prepared by the hotel . If you fly, the nearest airport is Surabaya airport. The hotel can arrange pick up service from the airport, or you can take an air-conditioned taxi. The ride takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes along a beautiful scenic road from Surabaya.
All the way from Blitar toward both family-run Plantation of Hotel Tugu Group, lies a beautiful sight, with superb clear river water, and the Kawi mountain overlooking the legendary and gallant Kelud. airport, or you can take an air-conditioned taxi.
In both plantations, were planted distinctive coffee seed and later processed in accordance with the Dutch secret recipe. Among other coffee types WIB (West Indische Breeding) wet processed, and then sorted into coffee WIB O BB, WIB O BS, WIB O BT, and WIB O BK and WIB III coffee. The WIB O type of coffee, famous by its flavor and rich aroma, are an excellent item for the higher price export market.
The excitement over the marriage between Joko Gondel and Sri Gondel that has been going smoothly and safely, of course is not only felt by the elders and citizens throughout the plantation alone. But certainly also been made Joko Gondel and Sri Gondel chuckled cheerfully and immediately looked at each other tenderly to breed for the next harvest.