Only a few blocks away from the Kraton, Tamansari is well-worth allocating a few hours of your time to stroll through its ruins. This former royal garden contains innumerable hidden secrets.
Tamansari is a royal garden and pool compound built between 1758 and 1765 by Sultan Hamengku Buwono I. It is also known as the water castle, from its Dutch ‘ waterkasteel’.
It was originally composed of four distinct sections that are now largely occupied by residential settlements. Visit the well-preserved bathing complex, which is connected to a number of annexes by tunnels.
More than a simple resting area, Tamansari included a mosque and underground galleries (sumur gumuling) for meditation and retreats. This is where the Sultan is believed to have contact every year with the mythical goddess of the South Sea, Nyai Loro Kidul.
This royal garden suffered a lot of damage during the Diponegoro war (1825-1830) and the 1865 earthquake.
Even if most buildings collapsed during those two destructive events, Tamansari is still one of the most representative architectural remains of 18th century Java. The restored pool complex is just awesome and contains a great deal of historical information. Even if the entire complex cannot be restored as it was originally, the few elements demarcated by the World Monument Fund represent significant cultural heritage.
The mixture of oriental and western styles is a fascinating aspect of its architecture. From the bathing compound, a stroll through the tunnels, the kampung settlements, the underground mosque and the fortress is an excellent way to discover the heart of Yogya. Since it has been rehabilitated by Gulgenkian foundation, Tamansari is the stage of regular cultural events and fashion shows.
How to get there
Tamansari is approximately 2km south of the Kraton. It’s a nice walk. Otherwise becaks are great for such short distances.
Open every day from 9am to 3pm
Ticket cost Rp15,000 plus an additional Rp3,000 if you wish to take pictures.