Kraton (Photo Journal)

#1 in 18 Things To Do In Jogjakarta

I was very excited to visit Kraton, the Sultan’s residence (As I always am, everytime I visit new places). I think I was the only one who moved around so much to get tickets and went back to the entrance looking for a tour guide. We were greeted by this monster face at the entrance to the residence complex.

Kraton’s entrance
A house to welcome special guests
Reception area for special guests. Also a stage for performances.

This barrier has symbols on its details. I’m so sad I forgot to take note of them. You see, the crown on the head of the dragon symbolises the numeric ‘one’, then the dragons bodies each makes 9 humps (the inverted ones included), then there are symbols on the monster’s face which I forgot. The whole thing supposed to tell the year the barrier was built. If someone knows about this, can you help me complete the year? 19_ _?

A barrier built in 19 (something)

There were many things to see at the complex. I saw historical and symbolic properties owned by the royalties, including these musical instruments below, called gamelan. I wish I could witness see how the instruments sound like when played together. They are only used for special occasions, like the birthday of Prophet Mohammad and Hari Raya.


Our guide told us that after all kinds of wear and tear of the place, due to old age, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions, most of the things around the complex, including chandeliers and other decorations, are gifts from other countries! So take a look at this Narnian looking lamp post. It was a gift from England. There were many similar lamp posts around. They are definitely not Javanese. Also, notice the stained glass under the roof. Those were from Holland.

Not just a lamp post

While walking to the different parts of Kraton, I walked pass a corridor with two different puppets on each side the walls. I wondered what they were. Apparently, they are the two characters of Javanese’s version of Romeo and Juliet! It is called Rama and Sinta.


Then there were inscriptions from other countries to the Kingdom for historical events. If I’m not mistaken, this big tablets with Javanese and Chinese inscriptions on it was given by the Chinese on the coronation of the Ninth Sultan.

Kraton also has a big role in Indonesia’s history. The Sultan did not give in to the Dutch when they came to colonise Indonesia. Instead, he told the Dutch to respect the Kingdom as having higher authority than the Dutch’s military at the time. With this, Jogjakarta gained special authority in governing the area. The Sultan of Jogjakarta is also the Governor, who, in other provinces, has to win majority of votes by the people. There were many historical inscriptions about Jogjakarta’s uniqueness in Indonesia. One thing I noticed on the inscriptions is the dates written in Javanese calendar system at the bottom! Very cool!

Inscription with Javanese date

This inscription is particularly interesting because half of its content is the full name of the ninth Sultan. His name is Ingkan Sinuwun Kanjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwono Senopati Ing Ngalaga Abdurrakhman Sayidin Panatagama Kalifatullah Ingkang Kaping IX Ing Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. Reminds me a lot of the heirs in Game of Throne when they introduce themselves.

Inscription with the long name

The ninth Sultan also has a museum on his life journey, from the day he was born, to the days when he studied abroad to Holland, to becoming Indonesia’s first vice-president.

Ninth’s Sultan’s museum’s ceiling

Other interesting displays includes a clock with Javanese numerics, a very pretty bowl (I have no idea why I like it so much) and an all-in-one clock (It shows not only time, but also dates).

Javanese clock
Pretty bowl
My dream clock

I hope you enjoy this post about Kraton! The next post will be about #2 on 18 Things To Do In Jogjakarta, the royalties’ bathing place, Water Castle/Taman Sari.


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