"The hidden paradise of the Sultan" Top 5 Page for this destination Yogyakarta Things to Do Tip by kokoryko
Yogyakarta Things to Do: 321 reviews and 730 photos
Taman Sari is a strange architectural feature built for Sultan Hamengkubuwono I in 1758, but by whom?
Some see a mixture of Javanese, Arab and Hindu styles or influences, and the creator is allegedly Javanese architect Tumenggung Mangundipura who travelled several times to Batavia, to learn about Dutch and Portuguese architecture which is also seen in this palace.
Hence the Portuguese creator legend, other see as author of this palace: a Portuguese “house builder” saved from a drowned vessel, who, ordinary worker (if not slave) on constructions sites, learned Javanese, worked hard, showed skills and cleverness, and eventually became chief architect of the Sultan.
I like the second story, but it seems less probable than the first one.
A big part of the Palace is subterranean, or at least very low, with long half-buried corridors, lit here and there by beautiful windows (picture 1). I am not sure my guide (not an “official” one) gave me the right explanations about the deep floodable corridor (picture 2) leading from the Sultans “hidden room” to some of the pavilions; it was sometimes flooded, so nobody could enter and reach the “hidden room”, and emptied, when the Sultan had to go through, one or the other way.
The hidden room (picture 3), located beneath servants quarters was not really hidden, but all servants were devoted to the Sultan and no officials would look for the Sultan in that area. . . . In this room, the Sultan had his secret life. . . .
The Sultan loved water and next to his room, he had decorated tubs (basins?) which were filled with warm perfumed water (picture 4).
Above his secret room were the servants quarters who lived in a quite luxurious place, given their condition; when you walk back the deep floodable corridor you come back to surface in an “official” pavilion and enjoy the garden, deep blue sky, decorated pavilions. . . Kalaa, is still watching with a good eye (picture 5).
On this link you may have a look at a very scholarly architectural description of Taman Sari (in French!) : http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/befeo_0336-1519_1978_num_65_2_3916#
One “official” entrance is at the south end of Jalan Ngasem; follow the West side of Alun alun, south, next to the Kraton, 100m, right on Jl. Rotowijayan, 250m, left, Jl. Ngasem, 200m, there you are, cross Jl. Patehan, walk across the picturesque birds market, you will arrive.
As it is an inhabited area, you can enter many ways, via small back streets; for instance, follow the previous way, turn right at Patehan, 150m left on Jl. Kadipaten, then the first or second alley, left, you enter in the complex.
Directions: Here is a map.
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