Tantalizing Taman Sari (Water Castle), Yogyakarta

When a traveler is browsing in Kraton, then she/he should not miss The Water Castle or known as amansari, less than 1 Km west of Kraton. Just west of the Kraton, are the ruins, pools, arches and underground passages of the former pleasure gardens. It was built in 1758 by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I as a rest house and pleasure park for the Royal family. Tamansari means beautiful garden. It was badly damaged due to an earthquake in 1867. Some parts of it, for instance "Umbul Binangun" bathing pools have been restored.

Upon seeing the ruins of Taman Sari, some cultural experts say that it has multi purposed functions, such as:

1. A Rest house, in the form of water castle with beautiful park. The air is fresh due to:

  • Artificial lakes and canals
  • Bathing pools
  • Large gardens with several kind of varieties of trees
2. A place for sport and entertainment
  • Boating and swimming
  • Deer hunting
  • Classical dance Bedoyo and Srimpi
  • Gamelan music
3. A place for meditation
4. An important palace and shelter for the Sultan. It was well protected. It had 2 Bastions with 12 and 6 Cannons.

The Castle itself divided into two (2) complexes. They are:

1. Umbul Binangun - swimming pool complex

It is the swimming pool where only the Sultans women can frolic. In this complex only woman employees serve the Sultan. Theres also a three story tower, with Sultan private bedroom stands south of the swimming pool and The Sultans private bath-pool is behind the tower. Somewhere in the south part of the palace, there is a special place, believed to be Sultans meeting place, from time to time with the Goddess of the South Sea, Kanjeng Ratu Kidul.

2. Pulo Kenongo " Complex

Pulo Kenongo, the Palace of Kenongo Island was found in the middle of Segaran Taman Sari. (Taman Sari artificial lake, which was connected by water canal to the other artificial lake nearby the kraton) Kenongo is a name of flower trees planted in the front yard, where the fragrance spread out in the palace.
Just like in a palace, there were living rooms, bedrooms, rooms to make Batik, a hall to perform classical sacred dance of Bedoyo and Srimpi, gates and sentry-boxes guarded strongly by the palace soldiers.

Getting There:

There are two ways to visit this place. The one is through Pasar Ngasem Bird Market, just go inside and find an alley called KP III, turn left, walk about 200 m, there is the Pulo Kenongo rest house complex. The other is through Jalan Taman Sari, from Pasar Ngasem, go by becak to South Square, around 0,5 Km turn right, there is the East-main Entrance, leads the way to the Royal Swimming pools.

Where to Stay:

Tourist who wants to stay in the heart of the city has many choices since there are a lot of star and non-star hotels available.

Moving Around:
On foot

Other Things To See or Do:

Sightseeing into the castles complex and buy some souvenirs at Pasar Ngasem.

Dining Guide:

There are many local 'warungs' (food stalls) that serve local foods. You can try one of the famous Yogyakarta local dish calledGudeg, a curry of jackfruit, chicken and egg served with rice.

Souvenir Tips :

Pasar Ngasem " Bird Market, here is a market place which sells several kinds of cute birds and pets. Traditional products and household earthenwares are also sold here. In this area Batik Painters do not only sell their products, but some also give instruction in this art. Art shops and galleries of medium quality can be found allong the alleys.

Travel Tips:
  • No travelers is allowed to take picture of Sultan private bedroom at Umbul Binangun " Swimming Pool Complex.

For short distances you can take a becak (pedicab) to drive you around.

Some drivers offer you a city-tour for almost a whole day for 10.000 Rp per person.

Dress comfortably. Wear sneakers and a hat, the temperature in Jogjakarta is quite high. Bring along an umbrella, in case of rain.

  • When visiting Kraton or Taman Sari, avoid wearing shorts or mini-kirts. Your pants or skirts should be long enough to cover your knees. This conveys the message that you understand the local customs. And the locals will also respect you more.
  • Bring along a camera to capture the memorable moments. You are allowed to take pictures in this site with a minimum fee.