Designed and built between 1756 and 1790 by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, the Sultan’s Palace (Keraton) is a fine example of traditional Javanese court architecture, although European amenities were subsequently added. Every element of the Keraton is symbolic, and the compound itself is laid out based on ancient Hindu-Javanese concepts of the cosmos on a north-south axis that stretches from the Indian Ocean in the south to Mt Merapi to its north. The Keraton is the hub of the cosmos harmonizing the kingdom with the divine forces.
The best way to attempt an understanding of its many complexities, fraught
with mysticism, is to tour with one of the docents here, many of whom are descendants of former royal court members or servants. A large wall at the entrance to the compound was designed to keep evil spirits out. Within, Bangsal Sri Manganti Pavilion (Pendopo) to the west is where the sultan receives guests, and dance performances are presented here on Sundays and Thursday mornings. To the east, the Bangsal Trajumas Pavilion(Pendopo) houses wedding palanquins, cosmetics tables
To the east, the Bangsal Trajumas Pavilion(Pendopo) houses wedding palanquins, cosmetics tables and other treasures. A European-style gazebo with stained- glass panels was once used by palace musicians. Dominating the courtyard is the Bangsal Kencono Pavilion(Pendopo), with a tall, peaked roof representing sacred Mt Meru at the center of the universe. Museums on the premises house royal regalia and sacred objects.
All are overseen by silent court retainers, men dressed in formal Javanese lurik (handwoven, striped) jackets and batik sarongs, while bare-shouldered, batik- swathed women are often seen in a procession en route to serving the sultan’s thrice-daily tea. After the palace is closed to visitors, these women also perform purification rituals with holy water and flowers to cleanse the Keraton from evil spirits that might have crept in.
Before leaving the area, have a look at the Royal Carriage Museum in the southwest corner between the main square (alun-alun) and the palace entrance to see many items made in Europe and presented to previous sultans by Dutch patrons.
Best Time to Go : Visit as soon after opening time as possible as it closes early. Weekends and public holidays will be crowded. Getting There From Jalan Malioboro go on foot, by
Getting There : From Jalan Malioboro go on foot, by Andong (horse cart) or becak (pedicab). Alternatively, hire a car, driver and English-speaking guide to take you around.
Opening Times Sat.–Thurs. 8 am–2 pm; Fri. 8–11 am. Admission Fees Rp5,000 for foreign tourists.
Admission Fees Rp5,000 for foreign tourists.