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Yogyakarta Royal Palace

Yogyakarta Royal Palace - (Photo by Aris Arif Mundayat)

Rating : 3.2 ( 41 Voter(s) )


Address : Yogyakarta

Koordinat GPS : -7.784472,110.361671


A. Overview

The history of Yogyakarta Sultanate started in 1558. That year, Ki Ageng Pamanahan was granted Mataram area by the Sultan of Pajang after his service in helping Pajang Kingdom defeat Arya Penangsang. Ki Ageng Pamanahan was the son of Ki Ageng Ngenis or grandson of Ki Ageng Selo, a prominent Islamic religious leader from Selo, Grobogan. In 1577, Ki Ageng Pemanahan set up his palace in Pasargede, or also known as Kotagede. Staying in the area, Ki Ageng Pamanahan remained faithful to the Sultan of Pajang. He died in 1584 and was buried in an area west of Kotagede Mosque.

After the death of Ki Ageng Pamanahan, the Sultan of Pajang appointed Sutawijaya, Ki Ageng Pamanahan’s son, as the new ruler of Mataram. Sutawijaya was later called Ngabei Loring Pasar, the Lord of the North Area of the Market, due to his residence. Unlike his father, Sutawijaya refused to serve under the Sultan of Pajang. He wanted to have a land of his own and even rule the entire island of Java. Knowing this, Pajang Kingdom tried to seize back their authority in Mataram. They attacked Mataram in 1587. However, during the aggression Pajang troops were devastated by the eruption of Mount Merapi. As for Sutawijaya and his army, they were safe.

In 1588, Mataram became an independent kingdom with Sutawijaya as the ruler entitled Senapati Ingalaga Sayidin Panatagama. He was then better known as Panembahan Senapati, denoting that he was an army commander and religious leader at the same time. To strengthen his position, Panembahan Senopati determined that Mataram inherited the tradition of Pajang Kingdom which means they were obliged to continue Pajang’s authority over all parts of Java Island. In 1601, Panembahan Senopati passed away and was succeeded by his son, Mas Jolang who was later known as Panembahan Sedo ing Krapyak. In 1613, Mas Jolang died, passing on the throne to Pangeran Arya Martapura. However, Pangeran Arya Martapura was very prone to illness and thus was replaced by his older brother, Raden Mas Rangsang entitled Sultan Agung Senapati Ingalaga Abdurrahman. He was also known by the name Prabu Pandita Hanyakrakusuma or, more famously, Sultan Agung Hanyakrakusuma.

During Sultan Agung’s reign, Mataram Kingdom underwent development in politics, military, art, literature, and religious life. Sciences as law, philosophy, and astronomy began to be studied. In 1645, Sultan Agung died. His son, Pangeran Amangkurat I, ascended the throne in replace of him. After Sultan Agung’s death, Mataram Kingdom saw considerable degeneration in itself that rooted in the royal family internal dispute and conflict of which VOC took advantage. The conflict reached its climax on February 13th 1755 with the signing of Gianti Treaty which parted Mataram Kingdom into two, Surakarta Sunanate and Yogyakarta Sultanate.

The treaty settled that Pangeran Mangkubumi was to be the Sultan of Yogyakarta entitled Sultan Hamengku Buwono Senapati Ingalaga Abdul Rakhman Sayidin Panatagama Khalifatullah. Then Pangeran Mangkubumi was officially inaugurated as the first Sultan of Yogyakarta and called Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana I. Thus began the history of Yogyakarta Sultanate. The current royal line of succession is as follows.

1. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana I (1755-1792)
2. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana II (1792-1810)
3. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana III (1810-1813)
4. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana IV (1814-1822)
5. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana V (1822-1855)
6. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana VI (1855-1877)
7. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana VII (1877-1921)
8. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana VIII (1921-1939)
9. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana IX (1939-1988)
10. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwana X (1988-present)

Yogyakarta Royal Palace is the center for Javanese culture that still exists today. Yogyakarta Royal Palace was set up by Sultan Hamengku Buwono I. The King of Yogyakarta is Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X (HB X). Before assuming the throne, Sultan HB X was called Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Haryo (KGPH) Mangkubumi. Sultan HB X functions also as the governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

Inside the Palace, there are a number of buildings, each has its name and function. There are also room for the royal heirlooms, library that keeps old manuscripts, and photography museum that keeps tens of photos of Yogyakarta rulers as well as their family and relatives. Some traditional ceremonies are performed in regular basis in the palace. Among the ceremony are Jamasan (washing heirlooms and horse carts) and Grebeg Maulud. The sultan and family live inside the palace complex, in a section called Keraton Kilen.

B. Features

Yogyakarta Royal Palace is one of the palaces that still function as ruler’s residence and government office in Indonesia. Yogyakarta’s special status as a special province in fact owes to the existence of the palace.

Yogyakarta Royal Palace is a link of a chain of palace construction in Java and so that it is architecturally related to previous Javanese palaces. In a wider perspective, it is linked to the palaces in Southeast Asia set up earlier.

This architectural resemblance is caused by the similar cosmological background, i.e. Hindu concept of Jagad Purana, a universe that is centered on a round continent of Jambudwipa, which is surrounded by seven spheres of lands and oceans. In the continent, there is Mount Mahameru, upon which the Gods dwell. The Royal Palace design replicates the universe in this concept.

In the order, the central point is the most important element to keep the balance of other things. In terms of a kingdom, the plan is manifested by centering the territory on Kuthagara, surrounded by Negara Agung, Mancanegara, and Pesisiran on the outermost sphere.

Upon a land as wide as 1,3 km2, the palace complex is divided into seven sections in accordance with the concept inherited from Hindu tradition that sees 7 as a perfect number. This also fits the principle of Javanese cosmology that the world is divided into three spheres, namely the upper world, the abode of the Gods (supreme being); the middle world, where human beings live in; and the lower world, where evil power resides. The upper and lower world consists of three worlds each so that overall, this world constitutes seven spheres. As for Yogyakarta Royal Palace, the spheres are as follows:

1. Sphere I: North Square up to North Siti Hinggil
2. Sphere II: Keben or North Kemandungan
3. Sphere III: Sri Manganti
4. Sphere IV: Pusat Kraton
5. Sphere V: Kemagangan
6. Sphere VI: South Kemandungan
7. Sphere VII: South Square up to South Siti Hinggil

In the palaces of Mataram dynasty, the center is usually Purbayeksa/Prabusuyasa Hall. It is where the royal heirlooms are kept and where the King lives in. The hall is surrounded in spherical order by Kedhaton yard, Kemagangan yard, Kemandhungan yard, and the Square at the outermost part.

As mentioned above, to keep the universe in harmony, each section of the palace complex was constructed in a concentric structure as follows:

  1. The outermost part. Consisted in this sphere are the North Square and the South Square with all of their attributes: the Grand Mosque, Pekapalan (street), Pagelaran (main hall) and market around the North Square that together constitute Catur Gatara Tunggal. As for the South Square, around it there are the Kepatihan elephant stable and the fortress as military infrastructure.
  2. The second sphere consists of the North and South Siti Hinggil—a protruding yard that can be found both in the north and south parts. The north Siti Hinggil—in which there are Witana and Manguntur Tangkil Halls—is where the Sultan performs formal state ceremonies while the South Siti Hinggil was used for more Sultan’s private occasions, such as observing the army training or watching combats between man and tiger (called rampogan) or man and bull. The last part of this sphere is Supit Urang/Pamengkang, the passage surrounding Siti Hinggil.
  3. The third sphere consists of North Kemandhungan Yard and South Kemandhungan Yard. Kemandhungan Yard is a space before getting to the center. In the north one, there is the Pancaniti hall whereas in the south, there is the Kemandungan Hall.
  4. The fourth sphere is Sri Manganti Yard, in which there is Sri Manganti Hall, a waiting room for meeting Sultan. There is also Trajumas Hall at north of Kemagangan Yard. Kemagangan Hall lies south of Kemagangan Yard. This hall is used as a transition spot before entering the center of the palace.
  5. The fifth sphere is the Concentric Center where Kedhaton Yard lies. In this central point of the palace, the architecture of Javanese is apparent as there are Tratag, Pendhopo, Peringgitan, and Dalem sections.

Every yard is surrounded by a kind of fortress that forms strong enclosures. Each yard is connected to each other by a gate and so there are 9 gates in the complex.

1. Pangurakan Gate
2. Tarub Agung Gate
3. Brajanala Gate
4. Srimanganti Gate
5. Danapratapa Gate
6. Kemagangan Gate
7. Gadung Mlathi Gate
8. Kemandhungan Gate
9. Gadhing Gate

The number of the gates and the yards (each 9) is a perfect allegory of nine holes in human body. Moreover, the design of the palace has two imaginary axes, i.e. north-south as the primary one, and west-east as the secondary.

Sultan is a central figure in the kingdom’s life. He is God’s representative on Earth, the army commander, and religious leader (Senopati Ingalaga Ngabdul Rahman Sayidina Panatagama Kalifatullah). Sultan’s position is sacred and so is every formal activity of his. Therefore, every room in the palace has its own interior design and level of sacredness.

The sacredness of the spaces can also indicate how frequent the Sultan uses them. Sultan usually appears in the Squares, Pagelaran, and Siti Hinggil three times a year that is during Pisowanan Ageng Grebeg Mulud, Sawal, and Besar. Out of those occasions, Sultan also comes to the spaces in incidental and special cases, such as in Sultan Inauguration Ceremony and Crown Prince/Pangeran Adipati Anom Inauguration Ceremony.

Sultan’s presence is more frequent in Kemandhungan. There is the hall of Pancaniti (literally “observing the five”) here, where Sultan holds court for special cases. The hall is also the waiting room for some custodians when called on by the Sultan.

The next is Srimanganti Yard, in which the Sultan receives his guests in non-formal and semi-formal manner. It was here that Sultan Hamengku Buwana II wrote and read the sacred book of Serat Suryaraja in front of his officials. Kedhaton Yard is the innermost and most sacred section. At its center, there are , the Prabayeksa Hall, the building where the royal heirlooms are kept, and Kencana Hall, the seat of Sultan. Sultan usually receives important guests such as president and governor here.

C. Location

The Royal Palace of Yogyakarta is situated at the center of Yogyakarta, in between Alun-alun Utara (the North Square) and Alun-alun Selatan (the South Square).

D. Access

As it lies downtown, it can be reached easily. It can be reach either by private or public transportation. Almost all public transports in Yogyakarta can take you to there.

E. Ticket

The ticket to get to the front part of the complex, to Pagelaran and Siti Hinggil for example, is priced at Rp 5.000, while to the back part is Rp 7.000

F. Accommodations and Facilities

Parking lots are there around Pagelaran, Keben, and at Alun-alun Utara. There are also souvenir peddlers around Keraton.

Text: Adi Tri Pramono
Translation: Reza Daffi
Foto: Collection of Jogjatrip.com
(Primary data and various sources)

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