THE CHICKEN CHURCH IN CENTRAL JAVA

Image by Matt Smith - Matt Smith on Flickr, Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons

There is a unique worship house at Rhema hill in Magelang regency, Central Java province. People call it the Chicken Church because it looks like a sitting hen in the middle of the forest.

After becoming the “What’s wrong with love?” movie shooting location, tourists are willing to visit this Chicken Church. They would like to know what kind of religious edifice it is.

A lot of visitors come to this strange building and the number increases on the weekends and vacation. They’re glad to bring their families, relatives and friends and take some photos as a memento.

In the founder’s opinion, it’s not suitable to call the building a chicken church. He said he built this worship house because he saw a religious edifice resembling the shape of a dove in his dream. Afterwards, he had a strong desire to build it in the real world. When he was in Magelang, he discovered a location that looked somewhat like the one he saw in his dream.

William Wenas, the manager of the Chicken Church as well as the 5th son of Daniel Alamsyah (the founder) said that a dove is the symbol of peace and love.

His father planned to build a dove shaped worship house, but he didn’t hire a designer and only the villagers who worked to build the edifice. That’s why it looks rather awkward and the shape is more like a chicken than a dove.

People often misunderstand the concept of the building and it is regarded as a church for Christians only.

“We have the team to explain to the visitors that this isn’t a church but a house of prayer for all the people of different religions. It has a concept that supports democracy and religious tolerance in the modern world,” said William.

As it isn’t a church, it doesn’t have a service schedule. The building provides rooms for everyone who wants to pray solemnly.

Besides having the corner for the Christians, the worship house has room that faces the direction to Mecca for Muslim prayers.

The concept of democracy and religious tolerance is appreciated by many of the visitors who left their comments on the soft board of the visitors’ corner.

“All my friends have different beliefs and we feel the atmosphere of peace and tolerance in this place,” said a visitor.

In order to reflect the religious tolerance and cultural diversity, the house of prayer displays different cultures from all the provinces of Indonesia. It also provides information of the danger of drug abuse.

There’s a small flower garden in front of the worship house. Inside the garden, there stand two angle statues blowing the trumpets and a woman sculpture holding a ceramic water jug.

On the first floor, there’re the seats for visitors who would like to take a look at the phases of building the worship house from the beginning to the end. The photos and videos of documentation are displayed with a projector and LCD monitors.

The size of the second floor isn’t as wide as the first floor, but has more windows for looking out at the view. There’re pictures of tourist attractions, traditional dances, wise words and moral quotes images on the walls.

Visitors can see the tail of the building, where there is a café that sells tasty food and drink to tourists who feel hungry and thirsty.

The third floor is narrower as it is the head of the dove or chicken. While standing in the beak, the visitors can have a limited view outside the building. If you would like to enjoy the whole beautiful forest panorama, you should go to the top of the edifice. Only 8 people are allowed to stand on the top of the head at once, so that you should wait for your turn.

After finished exploring each of the floors, it’s time to go down the basement. There, you’ll find 25 small prayer rooms and one of them is the mushollah. There’re the 2 x 2 m rooms for private worships and 2 x 6 m rooms for group prayers. Besides, there are also the bathrooms and toilets.

As the purpose of building this religious edifice was for prayers, the basement was the main part of the worship house. But it has become a tourist attraction and the peak of this giant chicken shaped building is the most important part for admiring the outstanding scenery.

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