Tamansari Water Castle: A Place for Princesses to Bathe and be ‘Hunted’ by the Sultan
Located near the Kraton, this place was also known as the garden for the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Tamansari was originally built for multiple purposes yet now only several buildings remain. Some of its original functions were a place to rest, to meditate, to work, to hide and to defend the Sultan’s family. In this present day, some of its buildings have now become homes for local residents and only the mosque, resting and bathing space, and underground tunnels are accessible by tourists.
With its combination of eastern and western style building, this unique escape of the royal family has its own appeal and story. The most famous place in Tamansari is the bathing and resting place of the Sultan and his Princesses named Umbul Pasiraman. Most tourists find this place interesting as there is a unique story behind its origins.
The Sultan loves to go hunting during his free time and The Umbul Pasiraman was designed to appease the Sultan of that desire. Different from the Panggung Krapyak which was designed to hunt deer, the Umbul Pasiraman (which means a place to take a bath) was designed for the Princesses to take a bath and for the Sultan to relax and ‘hunt’ for a wife.
To catch his ‘two-legged prey’, it is said that the Sultan would throw a rose from the high tower on the south of the pool and the Princess who caught that rose will be his ‘wife’. Usually, the ones who would catch the rose would either be the Queen or his concubines. There are three different pools at Umbul Pasiraman namely Umbul Binangun, Umbul Muncar and Blumbang Kuras each a different area for the daughters of Sultan and his potential wives to bathe.
Other than the Umbul Pasiraman, visitors can also explore an underground tunnel and mosque. The tunnel was once a hideout but now is not functional as it is partially used for local residences. Unlike most mosques, the mosque on this premise is a unique circle shaped building, with Sumur Gumilang beneath which was a place for the Sultan to pray.
Tamansari is only a few blocks from Kraton and can be reached by walking about 15 minutes from there. People can also use becak to go to this place. For those who use vehicle, you can go to Jl. Taman Sari through the Pasar Ngasem area and enter the East Gate as it has bigger parking lot.
Tamansari is located near Pasar Ngasem where people could buy various local foods. A lot of stores and stalls also sell souvenirs along the road.