TAMAN SARI – KESULTANAN YOGYAKARTA WATER GARDEN RUIN
I looked forward to visiting this beautiful water palace.
In my humble opinion, this is the third place after the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace and Borobudur that visitor must visit in Yogyakarta.
Taman Sari from the Javanese word Taman means garden or park and Sari means beautiful or flower. I fascinated by the Javanese architectural style which mixed with Europe. Until now there is no evidence of where this European style came from.
I took Trans Jogja public bus from Jalan Kaliurang then transferred to the different bus. I got off in front of Fort Vredeburg. About 2 km south of the Yogyakarta Palace. I chose to walk guided by Google Map. Slightly lost … as usual hahaha!! I asked the local resident and he showed me the gate to Taman Sari with his right thumb. Typical of Javanese courtesy.
The narrow gate jam-packed with becaks and bektors (pedicabs with motorbikes). I paid the entrance fee and entered the coolest water palace ever.
Taman Sari complex consists of 59 buildings. It was consists of swimming pools, rest areas, workshops, meditation rooms, and mosques. Including 18 water parks and pavilions surrounded by artificial lakes.
It was former old palace Pesanggrahan Garjitawati found by Susuhunan Paku Buwono II. The place was a resting place for horse-drawn carriages going to Imogiri.
Taman Sari construction began during the reign of the first Sultan Hamengkubuwono. He wanted a place where he could relax after years of war.
The garden built three years after the Giyanti Agreement. Then completed during the time of Sultan Hamengkubuwono II. Taman Sari abandoned after Hamengkubuwono I died. It due to difficulties in maintenance and neglected during the Java War.
I walked around the bathing area while taking as many as photos possible. I did not realize there were so many settlements around the original building.
When I confused about where to go and looked around, an old woman approached me. She offered services to guide me. I hesitated to accept it when she said that I could pay whatever I had in my mind. At first, I wasn’t sure but then I trusted my guts.
Taman Sari divided into four regions:
- The west side was the artificial Segaran Lake with several islands and pavilions.
- Umbul Binangun which was a bathing complex on the south side of the artificial lake complex.
- Pesarean Ledok Sari and the Garjitawati swimming pool were on the south side of Umbul Binangun).
- The eastern front extends from Umbul Binangun Bathing to Pesarean Ledok Sari Market was a lake with artificial islands and suspension bridge and canal.
Although Lake Segaran is the first part of the Taman Sari complex, I went to this place on my last visit. Without a guide, I would not find it as there are many alleyways or winding narrow streets. Plus there are no signposts.
Artificial lakes were a place for boating activities for the Sultan and the royal family. Now the artificial lake is a populated village known as Taman Village.
There were three islands Pulo Kenongo, Pulo Cemethi, and Sumur Gumuling.
Pulo Kenongo was an island in the middle of the lake. It’s called Kenongo island because the Cananga trees grew on this island. There was a one-story building called the Kenongo building. In the Javanese language means Gedhong Kenongo.
The tallest building in the Yogyakarta Palace to see the entire area. Around there were vents for underground tunnels that used in the event of an enemy attack.
Pulo Cemethi or Panembung Island (In Java = Pulo Panembung) located to the south of Pulo Kenongo. One-story building where the Sultan meditate. Also a shelter for the royal family during the attack. Pulo Cemethi could only reach by passing an underground tunnel. Unfortunately, this building no longer exists.
Visitors reach this place through an underground tunnel like a labyrinth called Tajug (two-story round alcove). The first or top floor for male congregations. While the second floor was a place for female congregations.
If visitors speaks at the Sumur Gumuling, anyone can hear it throughout the building. In the middle of the well, there are five levels of stairs to meet in the middle. The fifth step connects four steps to the second floor. Under the stairs, there was a pool of water.
The weather was hot and humid with dark skies. Several times it started to drizzle but not long after it disappeared. My guide took the umbrella that she deposited at her relative’s house. They know each other as most homes inherited from generation to generation. They may not sell the land because it still belongs to the Yogyakarta Palace.
Without a guide, I also could not get through shortcuts and places that rarely travel by tourists. She showed several former Taman Sari buildings left in ruins.
I like to come during the low season, there were many opportunities to take lots of pictures. The village also seemed deserted. We only met some passersby or those who were selling food and souvenir for visitors.
UMBUL PASIRAMAN BATHING COMPLEX
Umbul Pasiraman, also known as Umangun Binangun or Umbul Winangun. Bathing complex for the sultan, queen, daughters, and concubines. The bath complex is a closed space surrounded by high structures. The only access was through two entry gates from the west and east.
The bathing complex is Umbul Muncar, Blumbang Kuras and Umbul Binangun swimming pool. The pool decorated with mushroom-shaped springs and large flower pots.
The northern building used as a place for the sultan’s daughters and concubines to rest. The pool divided into two by a central path that extends east-west.
The southern building with a tower in the center used by the sultan and queen. The right-wing of the building used as a sultan’s dressing room, the east wing used as a resting place. The central tower used by the sultan to look at the princesses and his concubines bathing in the pool.
In his day, besides the sultan, only women allowed into this complex.
PESAREAN LEDOK SARI DAN GARJITAWATI
The complex consists of several pavilions and parks. Ledok Sari is the only part of the complex that still exists. This building shaped like the letter U.
The Pasarean Dalem Ledok Sari used as a place of meditation for the sultan. Some say it is the place where the Sultan and Queen rest. In the center of the building, there is a sleeping area for the sultan with water flowing beneath it.
There were also a kitchen, tailor room, storage room, and two swimming pools for servants. Plus a garden of spices, fruits, and vegetables which were to be in this section.
On the west side, there is the Garjitawati pool complex. Unfortunately, the fourth complex from Taman Sari destroyed. It only leaves the former suspension bridge and the remains of the pier. Used by the sultan as a starting point for his trip to the Taman Sari pool with his royal ship. Now all parts that used to bridges, lakes, and gardens filled with settlements.
There are two gates that lead to the bathing complex. The west called Gedhong Gapura Hageng and east called Gedhong Gapura Panggung. Both gates decorated with bird ornaments, leaves, and flowers.
Gedhong Gapura Hageng
Gedhong Gapura Hageng was the main gate of the park for the sultans. At that time Taman Sari faced west and stretched eastward. This two-level gate has several spaces. The bird and flower reliefs show the year of completion of the Taman Sari construction in 1691. It was Javanese Calendar.
The eastern part of the main door remains while the west side covered by dense settlements.
Gedhong Lopak-Lopak (Gopok-Gopok)
On the east side of the main gate of Taman Sari, there was an octagonally shaped courtyard. In the middle of this courtyard stood a two-story tower called Gedhong Lopak-Lopak. In other words Gopok-Gopok. Now replaced by a row of flower pots and doors that connect this place to other places.
Located on the east side of Umbul Pasiraman with four buildings as a place of rest for the Sultan and family. On each side of the courtyard, there is a door that connects it to another courtyard.
The gate at the east of Taman Sari Water Palace. It is now the main entrance used by visitors to enter the Taman Sari complex. Gedhong Panggung symbolizes the year of Taman Sari development around 1758 AD.
This two-story building has a wall relief like in Gedhong Gapura Hageng. Of the four statues of dragon-snakes, there are now only two statues left.
This building on the east side of Gapuro Gedhong Panggung. It was once a place for courtiers to guard the water palace.
Sad to see the heritage buildings disappear little by little. The pride and joy of Javanese Sultan now ruined. Gardens, swimming pools, lakes, and beautiful buildings turned into residential areas. Most of it ruined with debris everywhere.
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