You almost wish you were somewhere else that day. The sun was high that day and as my skin felt the pang of sunshine, I craved badly for water to gush through my throat. But as I went here, I put those complaints at the back of my mind for a while because that jewel of a place is most beautiful under the sun.
Taman Sari Water Castle. In 1765, the Sultan Hamengku Buwono I requested the help of a Portuguese architect to build him water gardens, hidden in the Keraton area of Yogyakarta. Tamansari means perfumed
garden and the area is over 12,600 acres consisting of pools, a bathing complex and artificial lakes along with a collection of 59 buildings.
As I walked around in awe, I almost felt like I was on vacation somewhere on the coast of Italy or Spain. The cream walls were contoured so beautifully and sang elegance against the blue of the sky and water. As the sound of splashes from the fountain comforted my ears, it amazes me how full of culture Yogyakarta is. The atmosphere was so serene and I was more than happy to be hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city. True, the city has become more crowded as time passes by. But with treasures like Tamansari, who wouldn’t fall in love with Yogyakarta? I know I have.
Anyway, back to the water castle. More of the notable features of the area are the meditation space, fort, mosque and underground tunnels that connect the structures. I had the chance to walk along the dome-like mosque and it must have been an amazing sight back then when it was time for the daily prayers. The walls resonated every sound that I made and the rays of sunshine peeking through the arches gave were so delicate that it made me just want to linger.
The Tamansari garden complex is no longer being used by the royal family and is now settled by local residents who occupy the grounds. Of course, I love observing locals and their day to day lives so I ventured through the alleyways with a cold drink in my hand as my best friend. Little kids were running around and as I tried to steer out of their way, a mural caught my eye.
This amazing piece is of a Wayang painting and it made me smile because of how locals of Yogyakarta are so in touch with their culture. I mean, I would kill to be able to make an artwork like the one above but then again it already gives me so much happiness to appreciate them especially when it comes as a surprise like this colorful mural.
More artworks from local hand that caught my eye were of a rebellious, declarative and outspoken kind. The repulse of corruption. These paintings spoke of vulture and rat-like actions of government officials taking advantage of people’s hardwork and money. It definitely spurred the rebellion in me and I realized just how people yearn to stop this vile act in hopes of avoiding corruption as the only thing Indonesia is known for. Props to you lot who gave a voice to the voiceless.
Now, as an Indonesian, I truly love Batik and as mentioned before, the Taman Sari complex is now occupied by a settlement called Kampung Taman. This community is famous for their Batik, creating of traditonal paintings and handicraft. So along the way, I found a woman sitting down and creating a Batik cloth where ahead, a man that appears to be her husband were making small Wayang pieces and dolls. Their years of dedication shone across their faces and the effortlessness of their movements. That was such a simple yet beautiful sight because they were so happy and appreciative of what they’re doing. It’s a great lesson for anyone and I admired that from them.
Before I left Taman Sari, I took the time to admire the scenery around me. Looking over the locals’ houses, I saw the city of Yogyakarta and its beauty; its perfume, its signature brand. Culture. Hey Yogyakarta, you have captured me in every way. People have crossed distances for you to see your beauty, and I believe I will never stop loving you. Cheers to more explorations!