Mangkunegaran Palace: A Resistance Symbol to Arbitrariness

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Mangkunageran Palace.

Very sunny that afternoon. It was past five o’clock but the city’s sky was still shining. I was still sitting on a chair inside of Triwindu Market front gate and enjoying free dish of Jenang Suro*1. Solo was indeed welcoming the Islamic New Year which would come tomorrow, so Association of Triwindu Market Trader distributed this special food to all visitors.

Triwindu Market itself, in the past was called as Windujenar Market. An art and antique goods marketplace which was built by Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya (KGPAA) Mangkunegara VII*2  to commemorate twenty-four years of his reign. Therefore this market was located not far from the palace.

Because of that history, a visitation to Triwindu Market will never be perfect if you don’t visit the palace from the king who built this market. Even after all my survey trip in Solo City was over, I put Mangkunegaran Palace and Triwindu Market as destination packages which were highly recommended for all Marketing Conference participants to visit.

Not long after I finished in eating Jenang Suro which was sprinkled with Javanese typical Sambal Tumpang, I left Triwindu Market, passed through its wide front yard and looked back to very distinctive and classic market building before saying good-bye.

I slowly walked along Diponegoro Street sidewalk, heading north for three hundred and fifty meters to visit Mangkunegaran Palace. Walking at the end of T-junction, then I arrived across  of palace gate. Heavy traffic flow made me struggling to cross Ronggowarsito Street which implemented a one-way system and circled palace complex.

While in one corner of the T-junction, there was a view of visitor crowds to a hotel which was combined with a restaurant, called Omah Sinten Heritage. After I investigated, later I found out that this restaurant had indeed become one of favorite places for young people to office employees to hangout to welcoming national holidays on tomorrow.

Successfully crossing Ronggowarsito Street, I rushed towards palace gate through a path along a hundred and fifty meters with a very wide yard on either side of it. Before actually arriving at the gate, a building of Puro Mangkunegaran Museum greeted me on left side of the gate. The museum looked deserted and without guards, so I couldn’t be sure whether the museum was still accepting visitors to visit or not.

Puro Mangkunegaran Museum.
Palace gate.

Likewise with the palace high gate, its iron fence was tightly closed without guards. It clearly indicated that the palace didn’t receive guests that afternoon. The palace was indeed closed for visitors at exactly five o’clock in the afternoon.

I could only enjoy the elegance of Mangkunegaran Palace from a distance and stare around in awe. But I’ve never been disappointed, I was already very grateful to be able to visit it. This was the palace which is a symbol of the power of Solo City in the past

Mangkunegaran Palace also became a resistance symbol from an aristocrat against VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) power and local arbitrariness which was applied by Pakubuwono II as a supreme leader of Surakarta Sunanate. A fierce resistance which resulted in a brilliant victory from Raden Mas Said at that time.

My visitation at Mangkunegaran Palace had to be rushed to stop because I couldn’t do anything in front of its giant gate. I decided to finish this visitation and headed to next destination which was included in a long list of my survey.

Let’s get out of here!

*1: Jenang Suro is porridge which is made from rice which was cooked with various traditional herbs and spices such as coconut milk, lemongrass and bay leaves so that it tastes more savory than usual porridge. This porridge is a symbol of gratitude to God and is usually served to welcome 1 Muharram or Islamic New Year.

*2: Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya (KGPAA) Mangkunegara is a title for the ruler of Mangkunegaran region.

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