Taman Sari: Life in the Sultan’s Own Backyard


What an Amazing World!

“Transport Mister? Water Castle?” all rickshaw drivers kept asking me the same questions during my visit to Yogyakarta (Jogja) in January 2011. It was not my first trip to the city, however I always missed Taman Sari – or better known as the Water Castle to foreigners – on my previous visits for so many reasons, until this July.

On a sunny Tuesday morning, Alexander, Detta and I were joined by a group of local university students before the ornate gate of Taman Sari complex. Painted in an ivory color, the floral-patterned gate led to a small courtyard with a manicured garden which brought us to the royal bathing complex, a walled compound of three bathing pools and a watch tower.

During its heyday the tower was used by past Sultans to watch their concubines bathing in the pools and later choose his favored one to enjoy the privilege of…

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