Sultan Palace (Kraton) and Water Castle (Taman Sari) – Yogyakarta

Kraton Sultan Palace

Kraton or the Sultan Palace is the official residence of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Kraton means the place where the “ratu” or king resides. It was built in 1755-1756 under the leadership of Mangkubumi. The palace is located in the middle of Banyan Forest because it is between two rivers which is considered the perfect site to avoid possible flooding. The architecture of Kraton follows Javanese philosophy and mythological belief system. His Majesty Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X or HB X is the current sultan and governor of Yogyakarta. He, his wife and their five daughters call Kraton their home.

This image welcomes guests to Kraton.

This image welcomes guests to Kraton.

Kraton is not only a sultan residence but also a living museum that showcases and propagates Javanese culture. There was a traditional dance performance when we arrived.

Dancers who execute the slow and graceful steps of Javanese dance in the beat of gamelan music. The musicians and their instruments are behind the dancers.

Dancers who execute the slow and graceful steps of Javanese dance in the beat of gamelan music. The musicians and their instruments are behind the dancers.

The traditional dancers move really slowly and purposeful to show that every movement is important and meaningful.

The traditional dancers move really slowly and purposefully to show that every movement is important and meaningful.

Traditional dances are regularly performed at Kraton palace.

Traditional dances are regularly performed at Kraton Palace.

Here is a video of traditional Javanese dance performed at Kraton:

 

Virg and I with the Javanese dancers

Virg and I with the Javanese dancers

Musical instruments that are used to accompany the Javanese dancers at Kraton

Musical instruments that are used to accompany the Javanese dancers at Kraton

The musicians that played local instruments at Kraton. The bottom photo shows kris sword as part of their get-up.

The musicians that played local instruments at Kraton. The bottom photo shows kris sword as part of their get-up.

One of the musicians because he gamely smiled for the camera

One of the musicians because he gamely smiled for the camera

The main hall that leads to the interior of Kraton Palace.

The main hall that leads to the interior of Kraton Palace.

This statue is found to the left of the main hall. Its twin statue is to its right.

This statue is found to the left of the main hall. Its twin statue is to its right.

This is in the middle of Kraton complex and is surrounded by pavilions.

This is in the middle of Kraton complex and is surrounded by pavilions. This is the stage where musicians play when they perform for the royal family.

 

One of the pavilions found in Kraton. Nobody is allowed to enter this pavilion because it is for the Sultan's family.

This is residence of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Nobody is allowed to enter this pavilion because it is just for the Sultan’s family.

One of the pavilions in Kraton complex

One of the pavilions in Kraton complex. It is adjacent to the Sultan’s residence. This is where royal ceremonies are held.

One of the pavilions in Kraton complex

One of the pavilions in Kraton complex. The yellow cloth covers the light fixtures from Italy.

Virg and I in Kraton complex

Virg and I in Kraton complex

Chinese jars found in Kraton Sultan Palace

Chinese jars found in Kraton Sultan Palace

Virg and I with the staff of Kraton.

Virg and I with the staff of Kraton Sultan Palace. They wear traditional clothing-the bottom is called batik.

The kris sword of one of the staff

The kris sword of one of the staff of Kraton Sultan Palace

This is the fire alarm. It is carved out of a jackfruit tree. Our tour guide (above) showed me how to use it.

This is the fire alarm locals used in the past. It is carved out of a jackfruit tree. Our tour guide (above) showed me how to use it. I banged it several times, just softly so as not to alarm the people.

Virg and I with the prayer bell. This was tapped to signal the holy time of prayers.

Virg and I with the prayer bell. This was tapped to signal the holy time of prayers. This is located across the fire alarm.

This ornate box was used by the Sultan for storage of his puppets and other stuff.

This ornate box was used by the Sultan for storage of his puppets and other stuff.

Photos of HB X's family (top) and HB X's oldest daughter on her wedding day (bottom). These photos are found in a store across the wooden box.

Photos of HB X’s family (top) and HB X’s oldest daughter on her wedding day (bottom). These photos are found in a store across the wooden box.

Kraton has a school for those who want to study Javanese culture and arts. This men is into puppetry. The other people in the background study different arts.

Kraton has a school for those who want to study Javanese culture and arts. This man is into puppetry. The other people in the background study different arts.

Musical instruments being played by art students in Kraton Sultan Palace

Musical instruments being played by art students in Kraton Sultan Palace

Virg and I with the image of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono VI. This photo is surrounded by the photos of this family members

Virg and I with the image of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono VI (HB VI). This photo is surrounded by photos of the other sultans before and after him and their wives.

Objects found at the entrance of one of the museums at Karon Sultan Palace

Objects found at the entrance of one of the museums at Kraton Sultan Palace

The family trees of HB I and HB II. The animals is a unique symbol for each sultan. The men in the family are represented by fruits while the women are leaves.

The family trees of HB I and HB II. The animals is a unique symbol for each sultan. The men in the family are represented by fruits while the women are leaves. One of the sultans (I forgot which one) had more than a dozen wives and 70 children. HB X is a modern sultan because he has one wife.

The batik museum has this figure on its porch. The lady making batik is a common sight in Yogyakarta.

This museum has this figure on the porch. The lady making batik is a common sight in Yogyakarta.

Batik motif found inside the Batik museum in Kraton Sultan Palace.

Batik motif found inside a museum in Kraton Sultan Palace.

Upacara Khitanan or The Circumcision Ceremony is one of ritual ceremony of the son of the Sultan to become a young man. For those Ritual Ceremony the young man dresses up in a batik parang: the parang tuding motif and covered in gold; a rumpli and accesories and on his head a "putut" hat.

Upacara Khitanan or The Circumcision Ceremony is one of ritual ceremony of the son of the Sultan to become a young man. For those Ritual Ceremony the young man dresses up in a batik parang: the parang tuding motif and covered in gold; a rumpli and accesories and on his head, a “putut” hat.

The photo on the left shows Kanjeng Kyai Ampilan Dalem-the cloth worn by six menopaused women; accompanying the Sultan in every sate ceremony. The photo on the right shows Gelung Tekuk-one of the konde styles which only the princesses can use.

The photo on the left shows Kanjeng Kyai Ampilan Dalem-the cloth worn by six menopaused women; accompanying the Sultan in every sate ceremony. The photo on the right shows Gelung Tekuk-one of the konde styles which only the princesses can use.

Kraton Entrance Fee: IDR 12,500 (US $0.96) per person

Fee for Camera/Video: IDR 1,000 (US $0.77)

Tip to Guide: IDR 30,000 (US $2.31)

 

For more entries about Yogyakarta, please read Candi Prambanan – Yogyakarta, Borobudur – YogyakartaIn and Around Yogyakarta, Food – Yogyakarta, and Pasalubong – Yogyakarta.

 

Taman Sari Water Castle

A short becak (rickshaw) ride away from Kraton Sultan Palace is Yogyakarta Water Palace or Taman Sari. Taman Sari was the former royal garden of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. It was a resting area, meditation area and hiding place of the Sultan. It used to have an artificial lake, garden with flowering plants and pool complex. Today, only the pool complex remained as a reminder of a once flourishing area. The pool complex has the pools of the concubine, the tower where the sultan stayed to spy on his concubines and a private pool where the sultan and his chosen concubine frolicked for hours.

Our guide talked about the bombings that destroyed the place, one of which was courtesy of the Japanese during World War II. Every bombing destroyed part of Taman Sari complex and the local government as well as the national government do not have the funds to renovate the place.

The entrance of Taman Sari Water Castle. This used to be the rear entrance when Taman Sari was at the height of its beauty. Now, the old entrance is inaccessible to visitors.

The entrance of Taman Sari Water Castle. This used to be the rear entrance when Taman Sari was at the height of its beauty. Now, the old entrance is inaccessible to visitors.

Bathing complex of Taman Sari

Bathing complex of Taman Sari. The tower in the background was used by the sultan to watch his concubines bathe in the pools. Afterwards, he would choose his favorites and bring her/them to his own private pool located at the other side of the tower.

The Umbul Parisaman bathing complex. The photo on the right shows an structure with Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Chinese influences. I cannot remember which one is which except for the bottom part as the Muslim influence.

The Umbul Parisaman bathing complex. The photo on the right shows a structure with Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Chinese influences. I cannot remember which one is which except for the bottom part as the Muslim influence.

The private pool of the sultan where he had fun with his favorite concubines.

The private pool of the sultan where he had fun with his favorite concubines.

The top part is the changing room of the concubines. The bottom part of the bed (with holes) was filled with perfume. The bottom photo shows the washbin/mirror of the ladies.

The top part is the changing room of the concubines. The bottom part of the bed (with holes) was filled with perfume. The bottom photo shows the washbin/mirror of the ladies. This is found in the room across the changing room. Both rooms are accessible from the private pool of the sultan.

Both of them are found near the West entrance of Taman Sari. The man is making a puppet while the woman is making batik.

Both of them are found near the West entrance of Taman Sari. The man is making a puppet while the woman is making batik.

Virg and I at the West entrance of Taman Sari Water Castle

Virg and I at the West entrance of Taman Sari Water Castle

The other parts of Taman Sari Water Castle not on this blog have been taken over by the locals. A community of people built houses, small stores and made a living within the complex. The presence of this community greatly reduced the area that can be visited by tourists to less than 30% (my estimate based on the map the tour guide pointed to us).

Taman Sari Entrance Fee: IDR 12,500 (US $0.96) per person

Fee for Camera/Video: IDR 2,000 (US $0.15)

Tip to Guide: IDR 20,000 (US $1.54)

Becak Fare: IDR 30,000 (US 2.31) – The driver made several stops and showed us around Yogyakarta against our protests, but we ended up enjoying the side trip.




2 thoughts on “Sultan Palace (Kraton) and Water Castle (Taman Sari) – Yogyakarta

  1. Sayang ung Water Castle, I wish they would improve it more… I thought you are going to be the next Sultana in one of the picture near the pool in the Water Castle.. Puede ser… =P

    1. I agree Taman Sari has deteriorated and people have taken over the parts that are outside the inner walls. Nakakalungkot kasi bahagi ito ng kasaysayan nila. At baka asawa ako ng sultan in my past life. Or concubine. 😉

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