Lasem is a coastal area where Chinese traders arrived when they first landed on the island of Java. In this Lasem land, Chinese traders traded as well as broadcast Islam from generation to generation. One of the tourist attractions in Rembang which has become a historical building for Muslims is the Mosque and the Tomb of Mbah Sambu. Mbah Sambu’s tomb is located in Lasem District, Rembang Regency, Central Java province. Mbah Sambu’s tomb is visited by thousands of Muslim pilgrims every month.
Last year I had the opportunity to stop by on vacation to Mbah Sambu’s grave in Lasem, Rembang. I arrived in Lasem when it was getting late, around 22.00 WIB. The cool beach air plus the strong land breeze feels cold against the skin. But it was only for a moment. As soon as I and other tourists entered the mosque and Mbah Sambu’s tomb, the warm air would fill the room.
Who is the true figure of Mbah Sambu? According to the tour guide who oversees the holiday to this tourist spot in Central Java, Mbah Sambu’s real name is Sayid Abdurrahman Basyaiban. He is a citizen of Chinese descent who participated in broadcasting Islam in the coastal areas of the North Coast of Java, especially the Lasem area. Mbah Sambu’s heritage buildings are mosques and tombs that have typical Chinese architecture.
Even today, we can still find many people of Chinese descent living in coastal areas in Lasem and its surroundings. This shows how rich tourist attractions in Indonesia are with the assimilation of various foreign cultures. To reach Rembang Regency, tourists can depart via the north coast route from the direction of Tuban and Bojonegoro in East Java, as well as from the direction of Blora and Pati in Central Java.
Lasem is known as the City of Santri with its people living in peace and harmony. In Lasem there is also a statue of the Reclining Buddha, a place of worship for Buddhists. Then, what are the interesting things to see at Mbah Sambu’s tomb in Lasem, Rembang? Let’s discuss one by one through this tourist spot review article.
The Uniqueness of the Architecture of the Mbah Sambu Mosque
When I visited the Mbah Sambu mosque, my memory immediately went to the Muhammad Cheng Ho Mosque in Pandaan, Pasuruan. Both have similarities with Chinese architecture with a dominant red color. The interior of the Mbah Sambu Mosque uses a graphic design like a Chinese palace. The hall of the mosque in Lasem is fairly wide. The walls are covered with wood and ceramics with a unique pattern.
The large pillars supporting the Mbah Sambu mosque building also have Chinese architecture. There is very little touch of Arabic culture, namely only in the calligraphy of Al-Quran verses engraved on some parts of the roof and walls near the imam of the mosque. Even though at that time I prayed Isha at the mosque at midnight, it turned out that there were still many people who visited. There are some people who just rest just to unwind because they are traveling all day in a series of Wali Songo religious tourism tours.
For me, this opportunity to travel to religious tourist attractions in Central Java should not be wasted. My hands do not stop photographing some parts of the mosque which I think is unique. Pictures of tourist attractions here will remind tourists of the heroic atmosphere of tourist attractions in China and tourist attractions in Japan. This type of tourist spot is what makes me feel at home for long just to just stare.
Actually I want to ask the mosque caretaker about the history and origin of the mosque. But since it was already midnight, none of the mosque administrators were standing by to receive tourist visits. I can only ask a few local residents who trade snacks while enjoying a warm coffee dish typical of the northern coast community.
Bathing in sweat at Mbah Sambu’s grave
The next historical building in Lasem is of course the Tomb of Mbah Sambu. The location is right next to the Mbah Sambu mosque. Makan Mbah Sambu is on a strategic route overland from East Java to Central Java and West Java, and vice versa. Therefore, Mbah Sambu’s tomb is a tourist attraction on the island of Java which is visited by 9 other members of the Wali Songo, such as Sunan Gunung Jati, Sunan Ampel, Sunan Bonang, and others.
The tourist attraction of Mbah Sambu’s tomb in Lasem, Rembang is in the form of a unique cupola like a gazebo in a Chinese imperial resting garden. The tomb room is not too wide, in fact it can be said to be narrow. Once filled by a group of tourists from my group, suddenly the room felt too cramped. The air in the tomb became stuffy and hot. In a matter of a few minutes I immediately showered with sweat.
The head of the tourist group and Pak Kyai who led the prayer at that time stated that the uniqueness of a vacation to Lasem was like this. The air outside is very cold, while inside the mosque and the tomb it feels warmer. Is this caused by a limited oxygen supply or is there certain factors that cannot be explained logically? Well, I can only guess. The rest, I try to enjoy the atmosphere of beach community life in Lasem.
Lasem District in Rembang Regency has a variety of rich cultural tourism. The mosque and the tomb of Mbah Sambu are some of the interesting tourist attractions in Central Java to visit on your holiday. When you return from Lasem you can buy souvenirs of mangoes, guavas, and various marine products such as salted fish, dried squid, and others. Don’t forget also a variety of delicious and crunchy typical Rembang culinary tours such as brem from tapai, super big rengginang, Javanese jenang, and others.
Let’s go on vacation to tourist attractions in Rembang!