Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jogjakarta: The Water Castle

After visiting the sultan's palace, we walked over to Taman Sari (also called the water castle, allegedly full of "beauty and secret"), which is the sultan's former royal garden and bathing house. Dating back to the 18th century, the garden used to be significantly larger (including an artificial lake), but has been swallowed up by the surrounding neighborhoods... all that remains well-preserved is the bathing house with its elaborate gates and pools.  Lonely Planet tells me that the sultan has the Portuguese architect killed in order to protect the secret location of his "pleasure rooms."

The royal family's bathing complex consisted of 3 separate pools, two of which were in the same courtyard.  Our guide let us know that one was for the kids and the other for the sultan's many wives and daughters: 

A third pool in a courtyard separated from the other by the sultan's changing room/resting area was reserved for the sultan and the concubine(s) of his choosing.

While walking the grounds of the Taman Sari, we stumbled across this guy making the wayang kulit- Javanese shadow puppets.  He was hand hammering/stamping stretched buffalo hide in intricate patterns, which are later painted with bright colors, like the sample at the end of his table.  Pretty cool.

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