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Keraton Yogyakarta


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Once you are there, the vastness of the halls sweeps your breath away. Imagine a secret city lurking inside a sprawled Javanese cradle, Yogyakarta Keraton or Sultan Palace shimmers and fascinates culture buffs who desire to discover precious authenticity, irreplaceable heritages that can never be out of date. Established in the eighteenth century and still stood erect until present, Keraton nowadays has become a tourism gem as well as Sultan's faithful comfortable residence. Open from Monday to Friday, non sovereigns are invited to find exotic opulence like nowhere else in the world.

Few facts about Keraton may instill a frown on one's forehead. The well-thought philosophy challenges ancient great Greek thinkers who much excelled in bewildering concepts and ideas. For one thing, the location of Keraton is a result after overwrought consideration and accurate calculation. Keraton's centre, Yogyakarta obelisk, Mount Merapi, and Parangtritis Beach are set on one straight line that proposes a local belief theorizing how mystic creatures from the north volcano mountain and the south coast shall assist Sultan's ruling. West to east sides are two undulating rivers, Code and Winongo, which prevent any flood drenching the ostentatious palace. To perfect it all, a common perception takes account that previous civilizations used to perceive Yogyakarta as the universe and Keraton stays as the centre of all.

To run the gamut of Keraton's beauty is not as simple as it seems. The one storey architecture upholstered with brilliant Javanese décor covers a stretching territory that includes two ample public parks, alun-alun, a spacious open garden and an extended backyard. Two-meter high walls envelop Sultan's private residential area where visitors are now permitted to explore partially for enjoyment. As one penetrates through layers of layers inside the majestic yet lonely building, plush adornment complemented with ornate carvings beckons clueless eyes who are hungry for swanky, endearing surprises.

You could, if you want to, saunter in Bangsal Kencana (the main hall) where Sultan's authoritative seat lies. Plenty of priceless gamelans along with antiques and heirlooms loiter luminously, making you wish to take one back home as a rare souvenir. Equally captivating, Bangsal Prabayeksa (the weaponry hall) exudes decorated Javanese spears, blades, and shields a few valuable collections of rare keris, mystical daggers, are also exposed, minus their supernatural powers. There are still more enchanting curios to come when you delve into the Carriage Museum. A gift far from Netherlands often leaves visitors staring, scrutinizing the immaculate sparkling details. The two glittering horse-carriages, Kereta Kencana, have always been the alluring magnet that renders how well respected Yogyakartan Sultan is in the eyes of western countries.

Before stepping out from Keraton, it is quite interesting to count how many gates available in Sultan's home. The total number of nine is said to correspond to human's body holes noted in a vernacular saying of babahan hawa sanga. Most locals would advise that the best time for a visit to Keraton is when Shadow Puppet show takes place. All gamelans will echo out their hypnotizing melodies, tuning you on to an oldtime performance which dates back to eons ago. One interesting feature Shadow Puppet show has in accordance to most contemporary entertainments is that it goes all night long.