Taman Sari, The Beautiful Water Castle of Yogyakarta (PART 1)

Yogyakarta is the province in Java which have many destinations to visit. Most foreign tourist and domestic tourist choose Yogyakarta as the main destination visited after Dewata Island, Bali. Starting from historical tours, temples, caves, and many more.

The Gate of Taman Sari

Taman Sari  is located about 2 km south within the grounds of the Kraton, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Tamansari least complex can be divided into 4 parts. The first part is an artificial lake located in the west side. The next section is a building located in the south of the artificial lake, among the others Umbul Binangun Bathing. The third part is Pesarean Ledhok Sari and the pool complex of Garjitawati located in the southern part of the second. The last part is the easthern part of the first and second extends eastward to southeastern complex Magangan

Segaran Lake Area

The Segaran lake area was the main complex of the Taman Sari during its era. This complex consisted of a man-made lake called Segaran (“artificial sea”) with some buildings located on artificial islands in the middle of a lake. The buildings are connected by an underwater tunnel. It was used as the starting point for the royal family to reach the Taman Sari pools via a vessel. Today, the Segaran lake cannot be seen any longer as the water had been drained and the lake bed is now filled with human settlements. The underwater tunnel, which is now underground after the water had gone, still exist and can be accessed.

Segaran Lake Area, today is filled with settlements

Pulo Kenongo

In the middle of Segaran was an artificial island known as Kenongo Island (Javanese Pulo Kenongo). It was named after the cananga trees which once covered the island. On this island there is a one-storeyed structure called the Kenongo building (Javanese Gedhong Kenongo), now in ruins.

On the south side of Kenongo Island is a row of small buildings called the Tajug. These buildings were originally used as air vents for the tunnel located below the lake. This underground tunnel, constructed in 1761, was an alternative way to reach the Kenongo Island other than by a vessel. Also on the south side of the Kenongo Island is another artificial island called Cemethi Island (Javanese Pulo Cemethi) or Panembung Island (Javanese Pulo Panembung). It is a one-storeyed structure for the Sultan to meditate, or some said, a hiding place for the royal family during an attack. Another name for this island is Sumur Gumantung, because on the south side of this island is a well that hangs above the ground. This place could only be reached via the underwater tunnel. The building of Cemethi Island is now also in ruin. A legend says that there is a secret tunnel that connects the palace with the south sea (Indian Ocean) where Nyai Roro Kidul or the Queen of the South has her palace. The supernatural Queen becomes the spiritual wife of Yogyakarta Sultan for many generations.

On the west side of Kenongo Island is another one-storeyed circular structure that forms another artificial island in the past called Gumuling Well (Sumur Gumuling). These one-storeyed building can only be entered via the underwater tunnel. The building was used as a mosque. A niche in the wall of this building was used as a mihrab. The central area of this building is an elevated platform where four staircases meet, and then from the platform, one staircase reach the first floor. On the ground level of this platform is a small pool that was used for Muslim ritual ablution

Pulo Cemeti and Sumur Gumuling

To the south of Pulo Kenongo lagimyang contained an artificial island called “Pulo Cemeti”. Two-story building is also referred to as “Pulo Panembung”. This is where meditation always held in Taman Sari, said Sultan. There is also a call as “Well Gumantung”, because the south there are wells that hangs above the soil surface. To get to this place supposedly through an underwater tunnel.

Pulo Cemeti and Sumur Gumuling

Meanwhile, in the west of Pulo Kenongo are circular buildings like ring called “Well Gumuling”. Two-story building can only be entered through a tunnel under the water. The well Gumuling in his time also functioned as a mosque. On the second floor was found a niche in the wall that supposedly used as the mihrab, the imam leading the prayers. In the middle there are four levels open up and meet in the middle. Of the four levels of the meeting, there is one more level to the second floor. Under the four-level meeting that there is a small pond that supposedly used for ablution. TO BE CONTINUE…

By Rara Aywara

(Copywriter at visitingjava.com)


6 thoughts on “Taman Sari, The Beautiful Water Castle of Yogyakarta (PART 1)

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