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SULTAN PALACE

Sultan PalaceVisiting  Yogyakarta would be unimpressive enough if you are not passing through the Sultan Palace of Yogyakarta Hadiningrat that is In Javanese, it is called as Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. The place, is where the king of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono lives.

The position of Kraton Yogyakarta is between a Tugu monument as the north limit and Panggung Krapyak as the south limit. On the east side, there is a River Code and on the west side, there is River Winongo. This Sultan palace is also located at the center position between the Mount Merapi and the South Ocean. For the Javanese people, the palace is believed as the center of life which consists of religious, cultural, political, etc.

Etymologically, Kraton or Keraton or Karaton is derived from the word: ka + ratu + an = kraton or also popular with kadaton (ke + datu + an = kedaton), a place for datu-datu/ratu-ratu or the kings/queens. In Indonesian, it is called as istana, therefore kraton is a palace, however a palace is not always kraton. Kraton is a palace that has a religious meaning, philosophy meaning and cultural meaning as well.

The place, more than 250 years ago used to be a top soil area on Garjitawati, next to Beringin and Umbul Pachetokan, that later a place named Ayodya was established there. The establishment of the palace was based on the Treaty of Giyanti (1755) that divided the kingdom of Mataram into Kasunan Surakarta and Kasultanan Yogyakarta. As the treaty gave Pangeran Mangkubumi the area of Yogyakarta, he built his palace afterward. Officially, Sultan moved to this 14.000 m2 building on October 7, 1756.

This Javanese architecture was gracefully located in the center of Yogyakarta. The architect was Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I himself that built the palace the north to the west. When he was a young boy, according to Dr.F.Pigeund and Dr.L.Adam on a Javanese magazine in 1940, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I had a nickname "de bouwmeester van zijn broer Sunan P.B II" or ‘an architech of Sri Sunan Paku Buwono II’ brother.

The Palace was built in 1265 or 1682 according to the Javanese calendar. There were two dragons tied each other in front of gate which means the year of the Palace was built, 1682. In Java script "Dwi naga rasa tunggal" means Dwi=2, naga=8, rasa=6, tunggal=I, read from behind =1682. The green color was a symbol of hope.

Outside of the gate, there were also two dragons that ready to defend themselves. In Java script "Dwi naga rasa wani", means: Dwi=2, naga=8, rasa=6, wani=1 ->1682. The red color symbolized courage. The field outside of the gate was used to practice by soldier of the Palace.

The building showed that the South Ocean, the Palace, the Tugu Monument and Mount Merapi were on one axis, the imaginary line that was believed as a sacred phenomenon. In the past, Sri Sultan used to meditate at a place of the axis before leading a meeting or giving orders to his men.

The path from the Palace to the Tugu monument represented the road of life that was full of temptations. Beringharjo market represented women temptation, while Kepatihan building indicated the allure of power. In summary, Tugu monument symbolized lingga (male sex organ) and Krapyak symbolized yoni (female sex organ), meanwhile kraton represented the physical blend of the Tugu and Krapyak.

Here is the detail of the Kraton Yogyakarta from the South to the North:

  1. Krapyak
    In the past years, Krapyak was a raised brick-stage used by the Sultan to watch his families and soldiers while hunting deers. Krapyak is located nearby small village, Mijen (from the word wiji means seed) that symbolized life, soul of human beings.
  2. The trees of Asem and Tanjung
    Leading to the northward, a straight street where on left and right sides, trees of asem (means sengsem or adorable) and tanjung (means disanjung or cared) grew beautifully. Those symbolized a good path of childhood that adored and cared by the parents.
  3. The Gate/Plengkung Gading (Nirbaya)
    This was the gate (Plengkung) that represented the child had become a teenager and adorable.
  4. The South Square (Alun-alun Selatan)
    There were two waringin (banyan) trees named WOK, the short form of BEWOK means beard. In the middle of the south square, there were two other waringin trees named Supit Urang, meaning chopsticks of a shrimp, surrounded by fence in the form of archer's bow, symbolizing the sacred part of human body. So it had to be protected (in the fence). The fence's bow form was characteristic of a girl and boy.
  5. Pamengkang
    In the left and right side of Siti Hinggil there were bathrooms. The Siti Hinggil surrounded by a street named Pamengkang, showing the positon when someone was sitting or lying with separated legs.
  6. Siti Hinggil (superior land)
    It was surrounded by gayam trees, symbolizing the youngsters feeling in love, safe and happy. In the middle of Siti Hinggil (a large open veranda), there was a Selo Gilang (a square elevated stone), where the Sultan sat when receiving visitors from relatives or subordinates. In that case, describing a wedding-chair where the young couples sat side by side.
    The trees planted here were: Mangga Cempora, mangga is Javanese language for please; cempora describes mix. Soka: imagining pleasure. Both trees had plenty of red and white colors (symbolizing woman and man sperm). All these were symbols of a marriage of young adult couple, in a safe, pleasant and lovable atmosphere, they should make love to produce human beings.
  7. Kemandungan (from the word kandung: pregnant)
    There are four trees here:
    •  Pelem becomes gelem, that is the wish comes from both side.
    •  Kepel becomes kempel, unite mentally and physically.
    • Jambu Dersono, dersono describing to be loved by other people.
    • Cengkir Gading, a small yellowish coconut tree. The coconut used in the ceremony when a mother is seven month pregnant.
    • In the left and right side at this yard, there is street aiming to go out side, this is imagining the negative influences which could occur during the growth of the baby in his mother womb.
  8. Regol (gate) Gadungmlati, arrive in Kemagangan.
    The road is narrow in the beginning and then becomes wider and brighter. That means the baby is safely born, growing to be a man facing his future life. There are kitchen in this premise, named gebulen and sekullangen, describing that for the child's growth there are available food. The street on the left and right side of the premises are reflecting, the negative factors which could influence the child life. The child must be educated properly, to the right paths, to the north, to the Kraton, where the Sultan lives doing his duties. In Kraton he could attain his goals of life, therefore he has to work diligently, with good and correct manner, faithful not to break the rules. He must also always remember and serve to God almighty.
  9. Kraton
    In Karaton, one has to follow the steps taken by the Sultan or Sri Sultan (the title is usually called by Yogyanese) before and after the ceremony of Grebeg in the north of Siti Hinggil (organized three times in a year, explaination of Grebeg follows in other articles). Sri Sultan steps out from Sri Manganti gate, facing the bangsal (hall) Ponconiti, ponco means five senses; niti means to inspect. The yard is called Kamandungan (collect), planted with trees of Tanjung, Kepel (unite), Cengkir Gading - yellow coconut (the holy color of God). It means that Sri Sultan has to concentrate his five senses and mind because he is going to worship the holy God.
  10. Bangsal Kencono (Golden Pavilion)
    It describes the unity of human beings and God.
  11. The Pavilion Praba Yeksa Praba
    Praba means light, bright; Yeksa means big. In this pavilion there is a lamp which is always burning. According to ancient belief, the travel to eternal life is following a light.
  12. Gedong Kuning (yellow house)
    It symbolizes the home of the peaceful spirits in heaven.
  13. Purworetno
    Meaning "We must always remember where we come from".
  14. The Gate of Donopratopo
    It means "A good man always gives something to others voluntarily and he is able to erase lust".
  15. Sri Manganti Hall
    This is depicting two angels are ready to show him the way as in accordance with Al-Qur'an.
  16. Bangsal Trajumas
    Means "You must know what is right and wrong. Don't think anymore of anything in this earth, your wife and family, you are leaving them".
  17. Regol (gate) Brojonolo(brojo means weapon; nala means heart) and sees a stone wall. "Renteng mentog baturana" (renteng means worry; baturana means stone divider) which describes that Sri Sultan should not be worried to implement adjust government. There is a tree - Jambu Tlampok Arum (Arum means fragrant), meaning "Speak always nicely, so your name will be famous all over the world".
  18. Bangsal Witono
    Means a seat in heaven could also mean begin. That is imagining "clear your thoughts and begin to pray".  The place have to be arranged by two subordinates by names of Wignya (clever), and Derma (destiny), symbolizing “You should be clever to sit in your throne as you are destined to represent God Almighty to rule your people".
  19. Bangsal (hall) Manguntur Tangkil
    It is a high place to worship God. The Bangsal Manguntur Tangkil is located inside the Bangsal Witono, this is describing that inside the body there is soul or life spirit. Sri Sultan is ready to meditate (samadi) the gamelan (Javanese musical instruments) by the name Kyai Monggang is played slowly and rhythmically following his breathing in meditation. The meditator has to arrange his breathing and concentrate solemnly by closing the nine holes of his body.
  20. Tarub Ageng (great, glory) and Pagelaran
    In the old days it was a place for the Patih (king's chief-minister) and other subordinates to wait before meeting Sri Sultan for audience. Gelar here means bright. That's describing that anybody who is meditating, submitting his/her life totally to the hands of God is in a great and bright path, as a gift from God.
  21. Alun-alun Utara (the North Square)
    With the two waringin trees are a comparison with someone's experience in samadi. He/she is feeling calmly and happily, as if he/she is a twin, microcosmos unite macrocosmos. He /she has to go on with the samadi, avoiding temptations.
  22. Go further to the North, there are:
  • Beringharjo Market
    Symbolizes temptations and obstacles during samadi, in the market there are plenty of delicious foods, jewels, luxurious things, beautiful women and handsome men.
  • Kepatihan
    The office of the patih, the sultan's chief-officer. It's a place where power is executed; rank, promotion of officers are decided and finance is arranged.
  • Tugu
    Pillar, symbolizing the acceptance of samadi. If the meditator could reach tugu safely, he could reject the temptations of usual world desire and lust (such as material wealth, high ranking position, delicious foods and drinks, a lust toward opposite sex and more over he/she always does good and correct thinking and conducts). By God blessing, the meditator could attain his goal in samadi, the Javanese says: in a position of "Manunggaling kawulo Gusti", manunggal means unity; kawulo means servant, human beings; Gusti means God. Thus, manunggaling kawulo Gusti means "The spiritual unity of the man and God, the creature and creator". Everything could be happened by the wish of God Almighty. 

 

 

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