Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Yogjakarta: Water Castle and Sultan's Palace

Yogjakarta is a large city in West Java known for its food and its traditional culture and arts. Within the city are several examples of 18th Century traditional architecture in the form of the Water Castle (Taman Sari) and the still used Sultan's Palace.

Taman Sari is easily accessible from the city centre and is a nice way of spending an hour or two in Yogjakarta. Entry costs around $AUD1.5 with an additional $AUD1 for using a camera. There are several guides at the entrance who will show you around for a donation which is worth whatever you feel like paying them - inevitably the tour will go to their "father's" batik shop where you can buy overpriced batik, but apart from this typical annoyance it's worth getting a guide.

The tour starts through the main gate which is ornately carved with typical Javanese motifs.

Through the main gate you are greeted by the first pool, where the wives of the sultan swam.

At the far end of the pool is a viewing platform where the Sultan could watch his wives swimming. The pool is also surrounded by jasmine plants giving the area a pleasant scent.

Through the second gate is the Sultan's private swimming pool.
Through the next gate brings you out into a courtyard where cock fights used to take place (the sandy area in the photo is the cockfighting ring).

Around this courtyard are several artisan shops making traditional puppets and batik.

Further outside the main entrance is an underground mosque where the Sultan and his family would pray.

From the Water Castle it is an easy walk to the Sultan's palace. 

Entry fee to the Sultan's palace is $AUD1.5 with a $AUD1 camera fee.

The palace is still used by the current Sultan and employs 3000 people. 

It contains several collections of artifacts and personal items of the Sultans. 

I was a little underwhelmed by the palace but one thing it did have was a live Javanese orchestra performance, which was relaxing way to finish the day before eating my weight in satay.

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