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Chicken Church

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A giant cement chicken roosting on a forested hill overlooking Borobudur is perhaps a little unexpected, but this is not a cock-and-bull story. In the late 1980s Daniel Alamsjah (who sounds like a good egg, but a bit cracked) was cooped up in Jakarta, and began hatching a plan after he was egged on by God via a vision to build a house of prayer shaped like a… er, dove.

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Maybe a cock-up, but something seems to have been lost in the translation and the resulting “Gereja Ayam” (chicken church) as it’s locally called, was not all it was cracked up to be and for years laid abandoned in the jungle.

There she cheeps. Photo taken in or around Chicken Church , Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

There she cheeps. Photo: Sally Arnold

Daniel started to bring the dove (chicken) idea home to roost after visiting his wife’s family in Magelang and seeing some land he was cock-sure was the same as in his epiphany. He didn’t have a nest egg to finance the purchase, so instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, he got cracking and prayed to God. Subsequently he was offered the land at Bukit Rhema for the poultry (sorry) sum of 2 million rupiah. He still didn’t have the cash (even though it was chicken feed), but didn’t want the opportunity to fly by, so decided to wing it and pay it off over a ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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