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The Mystique Taman Sari Water Castle in Yogyakarta

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You guys, in the spirit of not letting stories sit, expiry and die inside my laptop, I am declaring this week as Yogyakarta week. This means I’ll be writing snippets about stuff I found interesting from my recent Yogya trip every day for this week. There will be a post about palace, rice, temple and art so stay subscribed! Today I’ll start with my second favorite place in Yogya, Taman Sari.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Fuelled by my fascination of public bathing ritual, which was started from soaking in Koyasan hot spring, I put Taman Sari into my Yogyakarta itinerary last weekend. Taman Sari once was Yogyakarta’s royals private bathing area, which resembled a small palace hence the nickname Water Castle.

Located in the actual palace complex, we went there right after we visited the palace. Though I have heard about Taman Sari before, admittedly only recently, I refrained myself from googling it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s everything I could ask for from a historical bathing area.

Taman Sari Water

Taman Sari itself used to be a much larger complex with its own artificial lake, well and hidden pathways. What’s left and well preserved, though, were just the bathing areas and a part of the hidden pathway. The main bathing area with two ponds were used by the royal family, while the one above was used privately by the Sultan and his chosen concubine.

The air felt mystique. Maybe it was the blue green water, or maybe it  had to do with the pouring rain, but I definitely felt a sense of tranquility, even with many people around, not unlike what I felt while walking around Okunoin at Koyasan. Or maybe it’s just the calming effect of being surrounded my water.

Water Castle Taman Sari

The architecture of Taman Sari reminded me of India, a little google revealed a rich mixture of cultures behind it. There were European, Chinese, Javanese, Hinduism and a wee bit of Portugese influences behind it. No wonder it has pretty amazing details.

Taman Sari bath

I sent a snap of Taman Sari to Fafa while at it and explained to him a bit about it, including the concubines bathing part. He replied with one word: saucy. Then and there the tranquil feeling left my mind.


Are you fascinated by historical building as much as I do?

Ps. I want to dedicate this post to Elizabeth of In Search Of, a fellow blogger who encouraged me to write more about Indonesia. This one is for you Liz!


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