[Travel] Yogyakarta |Taman Sari, Leasure complex for the Sultan and His Concubines

Our morning destination is Taman Sari Water Castle, a royal garden complex where the Sultan may unwind from the everyday government. While it’s not in use anymore since only the royal bathing house remains, Taman Sari still attracted tourists for its romanticism and architecture blend from Europan design to Javanese esthetic and believes.

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Located near the Kraton Yogyakarta (the Royal Palace of Yogyakarta) or Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, Taman Sari is surrounded by houses and most of the complex is called Kampung Taman (Garden Village), with more or less 2,700 residents, and community consists on batik and traditional crafts. Interestingly, a part turned into Kampoeng Cyber (more on the next post about it).

It was built around 1758 CE, during the start of Yogyakarta Sultanate under Sultan Hamengkubuwono I (and designed by the Sultan himself) and completed by his heir, Sultan Hamengkubuwono II. The project led by Tumenggung Mangundipura who got inspiration from European architecture in Batavia and design draft by a Portuguese architect named Demang Tegis.

Taman Sari means taman (garden) + sari (beautiful/flowers) = beautiful garden filled with flowers. It was said when the garden in its full glory, Taman Sari was surrounded by a man-made lake (segaran) and filled/surrounded by flowers, built on a water reservoir called Umbul Pacethokan.

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The map of Taman Sari Complex in full

There are four areas in Taman Sari; the Segaran lake on the west, bathing complex in the south of the lake (Umbul Binangun), the third area Pasarean Ledok Sari and Garjitawati pool (south of the bathing complex) and the last one around the east side of the lake and the bathing complex.

The Bathing Complex

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Gedhong Gapura Panggung

We go through the gate with entrance fee around  (Rp. 7500 + Camera Rp. 3000 = Rp. 10.500/USD$0.75) for local and for foreigner Rp. 15.000 (USD$1.04). You can also hire a guide + tip Rp. 25.000 (USD$1.74). IMHO, it’s better with a guide because they can tell you the lore and history of this place.

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Gedhong Gapura Agung

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Gedhong Gapura Panggung, a podium for the Sultan and his entourage to see his daughters and the royal dancers danced between the four buildings of the Gedhong Sekawan.

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One of the Gedhong Sekawan for the musicians and palace courtiers to watch the entertainment.

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Kala Makala by the gate as the guardian against bad omen.

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The entrance to Umbul Pasiraman, or sometimes called Umbul Binangun or Umbul Winangun bathing complex. Umbul means pool.

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There are two pools reserved for the ladies (concubines of the Sultan) and their children separated by the middle barrier named Blumbang Kuras

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Dragon headwater inlet where the water comes in made in Chinese style.

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The second level was usually where the pool guard stationed. The guard looked over the farther side of the pool reserved for the Sultan’s children but they couldn’t see the ladies on the pool closest to the building since only the Sultan can look on his concubines.

The topmost of this central building was used for the Sultan to watch over the pools and see his concubines and their children play around. He might also choose one of the ladies to accompany him as the favourite of the day.

Once the Sultan chose a favourite (some said he bestowed a flower on his chosen one by magic means), the couple then retired to a more private pool at the back of this building.

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This inner third pool is reserved for the Sultan and his chosen favourite to spend their time together bathing.

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Jasmine plant

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Aromatherapy

The private pool is decorated with lotus-shaped mushroom water fountain like the other two pools, surrounded by the pool are large pots of plants to give a flowery scent. In this private area, at the corner, there’s also an incense and aromatherapy to give a pleasant and set up the mood for a romantic evening for the Sultan’s and the Concubine’s pleasure.

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A private sauna for the king with natural bamboo wood and incense. The stone bed will be heated and once it was hot, the Sultan may warm his body. In the olden days, there was a carpet on top of the bamboo to make it like a makeshift bed.

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Changing room for the Sultan and his concubines.

The Segaran Lake

The lake is no more since abandoned and earthquake. It was drained and not become a settlement. There’s an ‘island’ and a building called Kenongo built in the lake but the building is in ruins now.  Interesting, the underwater tunnel still exists to the ‘island’. Kenongo is a type of flower (kenanga – Cananga odorata) that grew around the Taman Sari, once upon a time.

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Kenongo building

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The settlement.

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The ‘underwater’ tunnel.

 

The Kenongo ruins

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Details of the gate.

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Head of Kalamakara, fell down from the top of the gate when there was an earthquake. The locals decide to leave it there, believing it’s the Kalamakara’s will to stay on the ground and hell hath no furry if he’s removed.

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On the west side, there’s also an entrance to go under and cross to another ‘island’ with the well and a hidden mosque.

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Local musician swinging top 40’s

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The well is called Gumuling Well and used for Wuḍūʾ (purification with water before praying).

 

The four staircases where everyone wants to take the photo

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The first-floor tunnel

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Prayer ‘room’ with a Mihrab (a niche room to indicate qibla, the direction of praying toward Kaaba in Mecca). Supposedly the first floor is for men and the second-floor Mihrab is reserved for women.

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Second-floor Mihrab

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Second floor with more window and lighting

 

A nice open sky

Once we’re done with the tour, the guide also takes me around the settlement and Kampoeng Cyber.

Yogyakarta Travel:

Source: Wikipedia, Lonely Planet

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