The Equator Monument in Indonesia’s Pontianak city, West Kalimantan province, has changed over time as its latitude has shifted by 0.03 degrees, 117 meters to the south of the monument.
Pontianak, W Kalimantan (Indonesia Window) – The 0 (zero) degree latitude on the Equator Monument in Indonesia’s city of Pontianak, the capital city of West Kalimantan province, has shifted by 0.03 degrees, 117 meters to the south of the monument.
“In 1928 the Equator Monument was built for the first time at 0 (zero) degree latitude. Then a few years ago it was calculated again using astronomy, and it turned out that the position of the equator shifted by 0.03 degrees to the south,” a guide at the monument said last week.
According to the guide, currently the position of the zero-degree equator has been built in the form of a globe-shaped monument with a distance of 117 meters from the previous monument building which is a mainstay tourist site for Indonesia and Pontianak in particular.
Based on records from the management of the Equator Monument, the first monument was built in 1928 in the form of a pillar with arrows, and in 1930, it was completed with the shape of a pillar with a circle and arrows.
In 1938, the original monument was rebuilt with improvements by architect Silaban with the following dimensions: the monument building consists of four pillars, each with a height of 0.30 meters, two pillars in the front as high as 3.05 meters from the ground, and the back of the pillar where the circle and arrows for directions being 4.40 meters high.
In 1990, the Equator Monument was renovated with a dome and a duplicate of the monument with a size five times larger than the original monument.
The duplicate of the Equator Monument and its dome was inaugurated on September 21, 1991, by Parjoko Suryokusumo, the governor of West Kalimantan for the period 1988-1993.
At noon, on March 21-23 and September 23 every year, other upright objects around the Equator Monument have no shadow. This shows that the monument is located exactly at latitude 0 (zero) degree.
On each of these dates, the culmination day is commemorated at the Equator Monument, when the sun is directly above the equator.
According to a resident of West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya district, Ardi, from the downtown of Pontianak, visitors with cars or motor cycles can travel about 12 kilometers for approximately 25 minutes to the Equator Monument.
The route includes crossing the Kapuas river on a RORO (Roll On, Roll Off) ship to go to the Equator Monument, Ardi said.
The Kapuas River is the longest river on the island of Kalimantan and in Indonesia with a length of 1,143 kilometers.
“We crossed the Kapuas river with the RORO ship. The crossing ticket for a car is 22,000 rupiahs (about 1.47 U.S. dollars) and a motorbike 15,000 rupiahs (about 1 dollar),” said Ardi, who was impressed by the uniqueness of the Equator Monument.
The uniqueness includes a local story about eggs that can stand upright when placed on the floor of the monument. It was said that if an unmarried man or woman is able to put an egg standing upright, he or she is believed to get a mate soon, he said.
Another uniqueness is that every tourist who visits the Equator Monument gets a certificate for crossing the equator in Pontianak city, West Kalimantan. The certificate was signed by the current mayor of Pontianak, Edi Rusdi Kamtono.
Tourists are free of charge to visit the Equator Monument, only paying a parking fee of 3,000 rupiahs (about 0.20 dollars) per vehicle, Ardi said, adding that, the monument is open at 7.15 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays, and at 7.30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays-Sundays.
In the monument complex, souvenir shops were built, selling various kinds of products such as T-shirts, miniatures of the monument, Pontianak traditional clothing, sultan weaving, amethyst, beaded bags, traditional clothes, car decorations, and mandau (a traditional Kalimantan weapon).
In addition, various Pontianak specialties are also sold inside the Equator Monument complex, such Chinese foods as sapo tofu, tiaw noodles, lek tau suan, ce hun tiau, fried bananas and chai cake as well as ice cream.
Reporting by Indonesia Window