The bronze elephant statue and the Wheel of Time Monument, standing earthy in the ground, are the earliest identifiers when you enter the National Elephant Museum in Indonesia.
The elephant statue is a gift from King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) from Thailand who had visited the museum in 1871. Whilst, the Wheel of Time Monument became a symbol of entering the time hall, to witness the evidence of the existence of the story of humankind in the past and at the same time contemplate the existence of our future. It is implied from a stone monument bearing “Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana” or “I believe will get there”.
The museum is well known among Indonesian society, especially citizens of Jakarta, who call the museum ‘Gedung Gajah’ or ‘Elephant Building’. Sometimes it is also refered to as ‘Gedung Arca’ or ‘Statue Building’, because the museum displays many statues from different periods.
This museum has three buildings, A Building called Gedung Gajah, B Building called Gedung Arca, and C Building which is currently under construction and planned to be completed in 2018.
From all the rooms, there are two rooms that should not be missed. The room is located on the 4th floor of the Arca Building, The Treasure of Gold and Ceramic rooms. There are a variety of special objects made of precious metals, gold and silver, and also ancient ceramics in there. The pieces of collection are highly valued because of the materials they are made of, their form as well as their functions.
If you have the opportunity to see the statues of Hindu gods in Indonesian temples, the ornaments or jewelry worn by those embedded in the relief can be seen in the original form of ornaments or gold jewelries in the glass boxes.
You have to come alone to see the beauty of those sculpture and art objects, because it is not allowed to take pictures in these rooms.
Experience visiting in here will be more interesting if you accompanied by a museum guide, because the officer might be conveys some interesting informations along the tour. One of them is the story of “Keris Si Ginjai” from Jambi with the story background of the fight between empire of Jambi and Mataram. The guide explains the kris is made only on certain days and also from special materials.
Except on Mondays, the National Museum is open everyday with an opening time of 08.00 am – 04.00 pm from Tuesday to Friday, and 08.00 am – 05.00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance fee for non-Indonesian visitors is Rp10.000,00/person, less than US $1.
The museum is in the center of downtown Jakarta, located at Jalan Merdeka Barat No.12, just 20 minutes from the entrance of Jakarta’s famous landmark, National Monument.
It is not difficult to get to the location when using public transportation. Corridor 1 Trans Jakarta bus has a bus stop right in front of it, as well as a tourist bus stop. When using online transport, you just need to point the GPS cell phone to the National Museum, and you will be automatically redirected to the location.