Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Water Castle Taman Sari

Taman Sari (the Water Castle) , constructed over a period of many years by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, and then abruptly abandoned after his death. It is now a series of pleasure gardens rebuilt in the 18th century for the sultan and his family. The complex once boasted lighted underwater corridors, underground mosques and meditation platform floating in a sea of lilies. The most remarkable structure at Taman Sari is the Sumur Gumuling, commonly refer to by the local as the mosque.

The bathing pool for Hareem of Sultan. From the other side of it, the Sultan watch and observed his hareem from a small tower, he would throw a flower to the bathing pool and let his hareem struggle in fun to get the flower. And the winner would stay with the Sultan for "honeymoon" in a special room in the palace.


People have lived in Yogyakarta area since time immemorial as over the centuries they have been attracted by the rich soil caused by the numerous volcanic eruptions. Earliest recorded history dares from the 9th century and was dominated by Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms that gave rise to the magnificent temples such as Prambanan, Ratu Boko, Kalasan, Sambisari and Borobudur found in this area. Texte by Shakuntaladevi

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Jalan Malioboro (Malioboro Street) is a major street in Yogyakarta, the name is also used more generally for the neighborhood around the street. It runs north from the Yogyakarta kraton (palace) towards the roads that lead to either Surakarta to the east, or Magelang to the north, as well as Mount Merapi. This is in itself is significant to many of the local population, the north south orientation between the palace and the volcano being of importance.

The street is the centre of Yogyakarta's largest tourist district; many hotels and restaurants are located nearby. Sidewalks on both sides of the street are crowded with small stalls selling a variety of goods. In the evening several open-air streetside restaurants, called lesehan, operate along the street.

Less obvious to the tourist, but more for the local population, side streets, lanes and structures that lead on to Malioboro are as important as the street itself.

Text by Shakuntaladevi - photo by Ovie