Taman Sari is a water castle that is located only about 1 kilometer at the west
side of the Sultan Palace, Kraton Yogyakarta. It was built on the era of Sultan
Hamengku Buwana I that was finally finished by Sultan Hamengku Buwana II. He built
this place by creating a new style that was a combination and a mixture of Javanese
and Portuguese architecture.
Some say that Taman Sari has been built after the Treaty of Giyanti (1755). During
the time, Sultan Hamengku Buwana has been dealing with battles and conflicts.
Therefore, Taman Sari was intended to be a place where Sultans can find a peaceful
heart and mind as a refreshing place. It was also created as a fortress to anticipate
the emergency situation, as a place for worship that is also equipped with a little
mosque at the Sumur Gumuling.
Taman Sari consists of:
1. The Sacred Room
There is the sacred place in the complex showing a separated building, which
once functioned as a hermitage place for the Sultan and his family
2. The Bathing Pool
This part was formerly a pleasure place for the royal family. Consists of two
bathing pool that are separated with a 2-storey building. From this building the
Sultan watched all the women swimming in the outer pool. Then he might ask some
of them to accompany him into the inner pool. The water sprouts from a forming
animal statue into the pool. The pool is also adorned with some big flowerpot.
3. Kenanga or Cemeti Island
This part compounds of some building such as Kenanga or Cemeti Island (forming
Island), Sumur Gemuling and underground tunnels.
Taman Sari was once a beautiful and sophisticated water-park that long time years
ago was also called as 'Segaran' which is in the Javanese word means artificial
Long time ago, every time Sultan visited the park, he went there by rowing a
private canoe through the suspension bridge called 'Kreteg Gantung' which lay
in front of the palace gate, southward or northward Kemandungan. The remainder
of the building that was once connected by the suspension bridge can still be
seen. Besides water transportation, there was also an underground passage or alley
from the Kraton of Yogyakarta leading to one of the park buildings which is called
Pasarean Ledok Sari.
Formerly, the water castle was not only a beautiful park but also the means of
avoiding danger. Whenever the enemies attacked the palace, Sultan and his family
would flee away through the underground passage. When all were in a safe place,
the Watergate would be opened and the water would overflow the passages and the
enemy would be sunk.
One part of the place was called Pulau Kenanga because in the front of the front
yard of the building grew Kenanga trees (Canangium Odoratum). The flowers spread
out the sweet fragrance through all parts of the park. The lofty buildings such
as the pond were built especially for the Sultan and his family as a bath-place.
The underground passage leading to the west area, and the bulwark which encircled
the area of the palace, as well as the one which leads south ward to a small village
called Krapyak, have been restored.
Versions on the Establishment of Taman Sari:
This version states that, in Mancingan (a place in beach of south Yogyakarta),
there was a unknown person whom the people consider him as a spooky. He did not
speak Javanese. As the people took him to Sultan Hamengku Buwana II, the king
took him as a servant in the palace. Afterward, the strange man began to speak
Javanese. He said that he was a Portuguese. By Sultan, He then was declared as
Sultan Hamengku Buwana II ordered him to establish a fortress. For his work,
the Portuguese was promoted as a demang called Demang Portegis or Demang Tegis.
It was Demang Tegis who was considered as the architect of the Taman Sari. The
concept of the building was known came from Portugal seen from its art and design.
The second version states that once upon a time, the regent of Madiun named Rangga
Prawirasentika who has served Sultan Hamengku Buwana I for years asked him to
be freed from the taxes obligation. Rangga Prawirasentika will agree with certain
conditions if only Sultan Hemengku Buwana I asked him to complete the ornament
of the palace. Sultan then agreed with the condition.
By Sultan Hamengku Buwana I, in 1684 Raden Rangga Prawirasentika was ordered
to create brick stones and other materials to make a garden as a place for recreation
as the result several wars. The order was marked by 'Sengkalan Memet' that stated
atur Naga Rasa Tunggal' (1684).
To establish the garden, the project was led by Raden tumenggung Mangundipura
and directed by K.P.H. Natakusuma, who later became K.G.P.A.A. Paku Alam I (Sultan's
son from his wife Bendara Raden Ayu Srenggara). The making of Gua Siluman is begun
1687 and marked with candra sengkala Pujining Brahmana Ngobahake Pajungutan (1687).
The doors and the gates, then finished in 1691.
The end of the project was marked with Sengkalan Memet 'Lajering Kembang Sinesep
Peksi' (1691). It described birds that absorbed the honey of the flowers.
This version also explained that the price to create the garden was even bigger
that the amount of money to be submitted for two years. Raden Rangga Prawirasentika
then asked Sultan to cancel the project. Sultan agreed and ordered K.P.H. Natakusuma
to finish the garden with his own money.