Who doesn’t know about the greatness of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace. This two and a half century old palace was still the largest kingdom in Java until today. Founded by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I as the embodiment of Giyanti Agreement on 1755.
Simultaneously with the stepping down of the sun from the highest peak, I began to leave Pasar Ngasem (Ngasem Market), together with my group along Taman Street to east. Apparently the tour guide intended to entering my group to Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace from south side.
Changing steps on Jalan Magangan Kulon, I finally entered the palace through Plataran Kemagangan (Kemagangan Courtyard). In this Plataran, there was only a Bangsal which looked clean and well-maintained, namely:
I noticed a uniqueness around this Bangsal where people who passing through this area had to get off their motorcycle and pushed it. The absence of vehicle engine noise made the situation around Bangsal was quiet, cool and serene.
In the past, Bangsal Magangan functioned as a training ground for abdi dalem (courtiers). But now, this place was used for wayang kulit performances and several other activities. Including functioning as a kitchen to carry out a big celebration, for example Ngapem. Ngapem itself was a procession of making apem cakes which was carried out at the moment of the coronation or anniversary of king ascension at Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace.
Its existence was also very strategic to make this area accessible for tourists from south side of palace complex because it was quite close to Taman Sari and Pasar Ngasem.
After enjoying the silence of Bangsal Magangan, I continued to north and started to entering Plataran Kedhaton (Kedhaton Courtyard). Kedhaton is the main platform which has the highest hierarchical level because it is the center of palace complex. Some of the parts which I got on this plataran were:
This building was used as an official royal banquet venue. European-style formal banquets were also commonly performed by the Sultan in this place. Now this place was used to clean the royal heirlooms during Suro month.
In some parts of Bangsal, there was an interior decoration in the form of a dragon snake. “Dragon snakes are a typical animal from China, this shows that at that time Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace had cultural influences from China“, said a female tour guide who accompanied my group.
Right next to Bangsal Manis is the embodiment of Bangsal Kencana. Raised on three floor steps, this Bangsal was a building used to hold important palace ceremonies. If Bangsal Manis relied on a combination of green and cream in its interior carvings, then Bangsal Kencana exhibited a combination of green and pink color.
Gedhong Patehan (Patehan Building)
Gedhong Patehan was located adjacent to Gedhong Danartapura. This building was used by abdi dalem in making tea for the king. Non-alcoholic drinks for the king were also prepared in this building. If the king was entertaining guests from Europe who drank alcohol, another room called Gedhong Sarangbaya would be used.
“If the Sultan wasn’t present or was on duty outside the city, the serving of tea was still done every day, i.e on six in the morning and eleven in the afternoon“, a tour guide said.
Gedhong Patehan wasn’t open to public, therefore I couldn’t visit this building inside. Five female courtiers would serve the tea. Gedhong Patehan was led by KRT Danukusumo, grandson of Hamengkubuwono VIII.
Unfortunately, this building wasn’t open to the public. Visitors could only catch a glimpse of activities in this building through an open door at the back of the building.
The last part which I visited was a building with glass walls. This building was called Gedhong Kaca and was designated as Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX Museum.
Gedhong Kaca was the longest part which I visited. In the main hall, there was President Soekarno’s statement when he handed over the safety of Yogyakarta to Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX as the King of Yogyakarta and Yogyakarta was part of the Republic of Indonesia.
And in the mandate of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX coronation the sentence was also spoken:
“Although I have received a true western education, but first I am and remain Javanese“.
I didn’t have enough time to visit the palace in its entirety. Hopefully one day I could come back to this place to do a deeper exploration.