Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kraton of Yogyakarta or "Yogyakarta Palace

After the Prambanan Temple, we were driven to Kraton or Yogyakrta Palace.

The palace of Yogyakarta, known as the Keraton (also spelled kraton or karaton), is a grand complex that was meticulously planned to reflect  the Javanese cosmos. This splendid example of traditional Javanese architecture has no equal. Designed and built in stages, the Keraton was completed in 1790.

"Yogyakarta Palace was built by Prince Mangkubumi in 1755"

With this piece of info I anticipate and imagine ancient princes and princesses running around the palace grounds a few hundreds of years ago!!!
Tour guide went and bought tickers for us, including a tix for the Camera!

Kraton of Yogyakarta (formally known as: Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat) is a palace complex located in the city of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. The palace is the main seat Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family. It serves as a cultural center for the Javanese people and contains a museum that displays the sultanate's artifacts."

On entering we were greeted by this huge mask on the wall:
 And we were ushered to the huge square and asked to sit for a palace performance...I think some gamelan players. The tour guide then sat behind us chatting with her friend.
 Look at us, thankful to be sitting on a chair and rest our tired legs after all the Prambanan climbing!
 The performers were at the far end.
 And they played soothing music from tradtional instruments.

 After the performance fit for a king, each tour guide took their charges round, and we followed ours. 

"When you enter the palace itself, you will escape from the heat and crowds of the city and step into a cool and serene place a world away from the chaos of the outside world. Visitors will enjoy the peaceful atmosphere here as they wander around the palace grounds."

"This elegant complex of pavilions was constructed entirely on ancient beliefs and each feature of the complex, from the courtyards to the trees, has a special symbolic meaning related to sophisticated Javanese world view."

A green square called alun-alun  fronting the palace, has a large banyan tree in its center, while behind the palace is another similar square. When a sultan dies, the cortege leaves by the southern gate on its way to the cemetery of kings at Imogiri.
 Rambling and huge, we needed a palace guide, otherwise we would walk round in circles ad miss certain parts and even get lost!

 "The Keraton is built facing directly north towards the majestic Mt. Merapi with to its south backing the Indian Ocean which is believed to be the abode of Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul, the Queen of the South Seas and the mystical consort of the Sultan. Malioboro road was originally used as the ceremonial route, not unlike London’s Pall Mall, and forms a straight line drawn from the Sultan’s palace to the Merapi volcano."

 We are now following the guide into one of the rooms housing the sultan's artefacts.....
 Palace guards (replicas) and also real ones are inside these guard posts 

Guide: these 2 guards are replicas
            those 2 inside.......are REAL (she kept a straight face while saying that, but  she sounded very             cheeky and it came across as quite hilarious!

 These 2 REAL tourists trying to sound the gong or drum or was HUGE!!!!
 The 9th sultan, father of the present.
 Our guide showing us the family tree of the sultans.

 Previous sultans could have many wives...
 But present Sultan has only one, because polygamy became outlawed. 

The present Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Yogyakarta retains the title of Sultan although Yogya has become one of the provinces of the Republic of Indonesia. The Sultan of Yogya,is also the governor of the province, and is still considered the cultural head of this region, and is greatly loved by his subjects.
 Present Sultan's only wife.
 That put Jogjakarta in a case where there is no heir-apparent and negotiations are still ongoing for the Sultan  to choose a woman (one of his daughters) as a successor or a man (one of his own brothers ) since he has no sons. 
16 people are eligible to succeed him: his 5 princesses and 11 brothers. 
 one of the many artefacts on display...

 gifts from abroad
 gifts from European monarchs

 huge rich and grand ceiling to give you an idea of the opulence and the grandeur of royal life.

 Most of the kings studied overseas and served in the army 
 one was a photography enthusiast

 with his collection of equipment and books 
 at the entrance, palace tour guide takes our picture
This palace was designed to be more than just a royal residence. It was built to be a focal point of the Sultan’s entire kingdom. Today, the Keraton is a piece of living history and tradition. It continues to be used, both as a home of the Sultan as well as for other important ceremonial and cultural  functions of the Yogya court.
 And we could only get a glimpse of what life in the palace must have been like: it must have been a hive of activity with many palace "dalangs and dayangs" running about doing their chores.

"Access to the actual home of the present Sultan and his family, as well as to his offices, is through a separate entrance, away from the visitors’ gate."
And so, we came back to the mask on the wall, and the end of the palace tour.

"Even with Yogya’s modernization, the Keraton of Yogya continues to be respected by the people of Yogya, steeped as it is in mysticism and philosophy. In the afternoons, after the palace is closed to visitors, women in traditional costume can be seen respectfully sprinkling water and flowers on the pillars, lighting incense to “cleanse” the keraton from evil spirits."

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