Yogyakarta: Sumur Gumuling

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Hi, guys!

Previously, we’ve explored the Taman Sari bathing complex. Today, we’ll be exploring Sumur Gumuling, a defunt mosque which used to house underwater tunnels.

You see, the whole Taman Sari area was part of an artificial lake called “Segaran”. The buildings in the complex were connected by underwater tunels. The royal family members would be transported by small boats to go to the buildings.

Sumur Gumuling is a circular building which can be accessed through one of the water tunnels. It is circular in shape, with arched holes on all four (upper level) and all eight (lower level) wind directions.

On the center of the building is a raised platform with four staircases ascending from the lower level, and one staircase to connect the raised platform with the upper level. A lot of people shoot photos on the raised platform, so expect it to be packed especially on peak hours and peak season).

The building was used as a mosque, so you will find a small niche/opening on the wall that was used as a mihrab (it indicated the direction of kiblah).

Sumur Gumuling can be reached by passing through gangs of local residents’ houses, which were particularly interesting because of the batik mural paintings on its walls. You can also purchase artworks or take up painting lessons with the locals. We’ll discuss about this street on the next post!

To us, the whole Taman Sari complex was mesmerizing, especially with the fact that it doesn’t resemble anything European (a style San is familiar with, having travelled extensively through Europe and having had art history classes in college).

Write to us in the comments if you want to visit this place or leave us your impression if you’ve visited 😀

Trivia: look up Nyai Roro Kidul to understand more about the Yogyakarta sultanate. Rumors say that there is a tunnel in Sumur Gumuling leading to her palace, exclusively known to the inner circle of the sultanate, incuding the Sultan himself.

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Front part of Sumur Gumuling.

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A tourist on the raised platform, seen from the lower level.
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Fi on the raised platform, seen from the upper level.
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San at one of the arched holes on the wall. Photo taken from the raised platform.

Love,

San

Yogyakarta: Taman Sari Bathing Complex

Hi, friends!

We’re still covering our trip in Yogyakarta and we’re on the third post of Yogyakarta. Today, we’ll learn more about the Taman Sari Water Castle.

Taman Sari is the (former) royal garden of Kraton Yogyakarta, which is the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is a complex that consists of a bathing complex, an irrigation system, a meditation/praying area, an area of relaxation, as well as a means of defense (especially during the war period).

The architectural features of this complex differ greatly from those of Europe. The royal palace was built on a straight line between Mount Merapi and the Indian Ocean, so the buildings with additional functions (such as Taman Sari) are built surrounding the palace itself.

The first thing you’ll visit when going to Taman Sari is the bathing complex. It was built for the queen, princesses, and concubines to bathe. It consists of two pools to bathe. A low building on the right side was used as a sauna, massage, or to converse and change clothes. On the left side was a building with a tower, from where the Sultan of Yogyakarta would secretly peek and choose which concubine would bathe with him. Behind the latter, concealed from the main pools, was a private pool for the Sultan and his chosen concubine.

After the bathing complex, you will be directed to a small plaza where you can take a photo in front of an intricate facade, watch ladies make handdrawn batik (called batik tulis), and buy souvenirs. From this plaza, you’ll be directed to another part of the Taman Sari complex, which we’ll discuss in the next post 🙂

Nomad Bananas recommends: take one day to visit the Kraton. Spend the first half to explore the royal palace, and then spend the second half to explore the Taman Sari water castle.

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Entrance to Taman Sari
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Stairs leading to the pools
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The tower from which the king would peek and choose which concubine should accompany him bathe
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Taman Sari bathing complex
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San trying to take a good pic

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The private pool in which the king would bathe with his chosen concubine(s)
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a woman painting batik at the plaza

Love,

San