Fuelled by my fascination about public bathing, which was started from soaking in Onsen in Japan, I put Taman Sari into my Yogyakarta itinerary together with Candi Borobudur Temple. Taman Sari once was Yogyakarta's royals private bathing area. The architecture resembles a small palace, hence the nickname Water Castle.
Taman Sari Yogyakarta's Water Castle
Taman Sari Complex
Located in the actual palace complex, the bathing area was our first stop after we visited the palace. Though I have heard about Taman Sari before, admittedly only recently, I refrained myself from googling it. It didn't disappoint. It's everything one could imagine about an olden age royal bathing area.
The complex itself used to be a much larger with its own artificial lake, well, and hidden pathways. What's left and well-preserved, though, were just the bathing areas and a part of the hidden pathway. The royal family used the main bathing area with two ponds while the Sultan and his chosen concubine would use the private part of the complex.
The air felt mystique.
Maybe it was the blue-green water, or maybe it had to do with the pouring rain, but I definitely felt a sense of tranquility, even with so many people around, exactly how I felt while walking around Okunoin at Koyasan, Japan. Or maybe it was just the calming effect of being surrounded by water.
The Architecture of Taman Sari Reminded Me of India
A little Google research revealed a rich mixture of cultures behind it. There were European, Chinese, Javanese, Hindu, India (of course!) and a wee bit of Portuguese influence behind it. No wonder it has such pretty and amazing detailed architecture.
I sent a snap of Taman Sari to Fafa there and explained to him a bit about it, including the concubines bathing part. He replied, "saucy!". Then and there, the tranquil feeling left my mind and I decided to treat myself with one of the popular local Indonesian food in Yogyakarta.