Address : Jl. Boyong, Kaliurang, Kabupaten Sleman, Yogyakarta
Ullèn Sentalu is a private museum owned by Ulating Blencong Foundation. Located in a tourism area at Merapi Mountain’s slope, Kaliurang, Sleman, Special Region of Yogyakarta (DIY), the museum was founded on the initiative of the Haryono family to preserve Javanese tradition, particularly batik. It sets upon 11.990 m2 land refered as Kaswagaran Garden. The construction of the museum began in 1994 and was completed and inaugurated on March 1, 1997 by KGPAA Paku Alam VIII, then governor of DIY. The date of inauguration was chosen because it represents an Indonesian historic event, i.e. the returning of Yogyakarta as the capital of the Republic of Indonesia in 1949 from the Dutch hand.
The reason for choosing Kaswargan Garden as the museum setting is its altitude (it is situated at the slope of Merapi Mountain). In Javanese philosophy, mountain has a mystical value. Therefore, the museum also wants to implicitly tell people that many things recorded, displayed, and narrated in seven of its showrooms do reflect Javanese culture grandeur. The name Ullèn Sentalu is an acronym of ulating blencong, sejatine tataraning lumaku, meaning that the museum will act like a torch for Javanese culture, which is dimming and wearing off as time changes. In short, the museum enrolls itself in a mission of preserving the old and noble Javanese culture.
The gothic-architectural museum presents old Javanese culture through various forms of documentation, such as batik of various motifs, traditional clothes, paintings, and photos of cultural activities and Javanese prominent figures. The exhibition rooms seem to be recorders of past events, especially those of the nobles from the four kingdoms of Solo and Yogyakarta, which are Surakarta Sunanate, Istana Mangkunegaran Surakarta, the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, and Puro Pakualaman Yogyakarta.
The museum has been renovated several times. Most recently, there was built a new exhibition room in 2007. The addition of the room was a concrete step taken by the museum management board in responding tourists’ appreciation to the existence of Ullèn Sentalu Museum. Nowadays, Ullèn Sentalu is regularly open for visitors everyday except Monday from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. The museum also welcome academicians who intend to do a research, such as those of the purviews of architecture, interior design, fine art and design, anthropology, and history. For every visit, either for a tour or research, Ullèn Sentalu will always provide a guide.
After visiting Ullèn Sentalu, tourists will surely talk about various uniqueness of the museum which looks like an old European castle from the outside. The museum’s distinctive features are reflected by the architecture, exhibition rooms, collection with its miscellaneous items, and the guide’s unique way of narrating the stories behind every item.
The architecture of the museum is so special that it models European castles from the Middle Ages that are close to Gothic style. The museum takes form of a castle made of piles of dark mountain stones, decorated with many kinds of creepers. Such appearance gives the museum unique and distinctive characteristic compared to other museums in Yogyakarta, or even in Indonesia.
Besides its architecture, the museum’s displays are also amazing since they were designed by professional curators. This is apparent in the arrangement of items in the showrooms, display windows, shelves, tables, and also photos and paintings on the wall. The arrangement is also beautified by excellent spot-light sets that the displays look impressive with a certain kind of atmosphere.
Not to mention, there is also narration told by the museum guide which makes visits in the museum more interactive.
Starting a tour, visitors will be accompanied by a guide to walk through a narrow trail heading to the first room in the museum, Guo Selo Giri. Here, visitors will see and listen to stories of the royal families and prominent figures of the four Javanese kingdoms through the photos and paintings.
After Guo Selo Giri, the guide will take visitors to Kampung Kambang, which is a seemingly floating area (surrounded by waters) above Guo Selo Giri that consists of 5 showrooms: Tineke Room, Paes Ageng Gaya Yogyakarta Room, Vorstendlanden Batik Room, Batik Pesisiran Room, and Putri Dambaan Room. In every room, tourists can see Tineke’s letters, paintings of Javanese bride, and various kinds of Batik clothes (of the royal [keraton], coastal people [pesisir], and Chinese), and also a story of a gorgeous princess from Keraton Yogyakarta who opposed polygamy, Gusti Nurul Koesoemawardhani.
Passing Arca Durga Garden, tourists will enter the last showroom, the Cultural Room, in which they can see a statue of a classic Javanese dancer, a statue of a Javanese bride, and some paintings.
After the tour, while filling in the guest book, visitors will be served with a keraton special beverage that is believed to be able to recover the spirit and stamina. Next, without guide’s accompaniment, visitors will be allowed to look around the museum to take pictures or to merely sit on the stone benches while enjoying the cool air at the slope of Merapi Mountain. Twitters of various kinds of birds will add to the natural atmosphere of the museum garden.
Ullèn Sentalu is situated at Boyong Street, Kaliurang, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta.
To reach the museum, tourists could rent a minibus that is usually provided by the hotel they are staying in. Besides, there are also public transportation vehicles available such as minibus of Yogya-Kaliurang route. They can be easily found at Kaliurang Street or also Giwangan Bus Station and rate about Rp. 5.000 – 10.000 (May 2008). If tourists want to have a more comfortable trip, taxis are always available but of course, will cost more.
The museum entrance tickets are divided into: US$ 5.00 or Rp. 45.000 for international tourist; Rp. 25.000 for international students; Rp. 25.000 for adult domestic visitors; and Rp. 15.000 for domestic highschool students. Every tour in the museum must carry at least 2 people.
F. Accommodations and Facilities
The management of this international class museum provides visitors with graceful, smart, and courteous guide. The guides are fluent in English, Japanese, and French.
Around the area, there is the Beukenhof restaurant for visitors who want to have meals in elegant atmosphere. Furthermore, there is also Putri Malu Souvenir Shop which provides keepsakes such as local handicrafts as well as batik clothes of Jogja and Solo style.
Among other public facilities that the museum provides are clean conveniences, green garden, Djagat Academic Modern Art Gallery as a display area for young artists (painter and sculptor), and a musholla (small mosque).
Text: Khidir Marsanto
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Reza Daffi
(Primary data and various sources)