Taman Sari Water Castle

Taman Sari, A Royal Water Castle

In the early 17th century, Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, reigning Sultan of Karaton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat (now called Yogyakarta Special Region), proposed the construction of an area to rest, meditate and a refuge in case of an invasion. Taman Sari Water Castle was built with several features, a bathhouse, an underground mosque, a man-made lake with man-made islands in the middle of the lake, and a fortress with many underground tunnels. Several features are now in ruins, and some are under reconstruction. The bath house, underwater mosque, and some tunnels are available for tourist visits.

The main attraction in Taman Sari is the bathhouse and underground mosque. Taman Sari has 3 main pools. One pool for Sultan’s daughters and his 35 wives/concubines, one for daughters of aristocrats and other princesses, and one private pool for the Sultan and his chosen wife of the day. History states that on a special day, Sultan would “hunt” for his new wife by looking at the pool while daughters of aristocrats and other princesses bathed. However, nowadays the pools are just for sightseeing and forbidden for swim or bath.

To get to the Water Castle, there are several ways. The standard way is to get through the Sultan’s Palace grounds, a tourist site—a 15-minute walk from the Main Palace to the Water Castle. In front of the Water Castle, there’s an entrance fee of USD 2. It is recommended to use locals as a guide.

You can wander off by yourself, but with l, local guides can tell you interesting backstories of each part of the Castle.

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