Thursday, 9 October 2008

Jogja & Solo Revisited II - Karaton Kasunanan, Solo

Solo, aka Surakata, was the twin city of Jogja during the Mataram dynasty of the 18th century as well as during Dutch colonisation. The rivalry between the two cities is endemic and continues to this day. From 1945 to 1948, the Dutch re-occupied various regions in Java including Yogyakarta, Surakarta and surrounding areas.
A visit to the Karaton Kasunanan in Solo, built in 1745, is guaranteed to transport you back to the enchanting Mataram Kingdom. This elegant palace complex is well maintained and palace guides do a thorough job of showing visitors around.

The Throne Hall occupies central position, the central axis orientated in a north-south direction. Next in importance, armaments, strategically positioned adjacent to the king. The surrounding spacious yard was where the people could gather to wait their turn to meet the king.
Airy verandas lead to and from the many halls decorated with stained-glass panels, ornate balustrades and traditional wood carvings.
The attention to detail sets an alluring presence .

Ornate lamp posts; Dutch influence

Loving detail; museum piece

Traditional plaster work; wooden eaves

Residential quarters on the Palace grounds.
The music pavilion adds to the eclectic ambiance, an obvious admiration for things European. Imagine an afternoon of music and dancing with ladies of the court. Practice makes perfect . . . Palace officials reciting the Imperial history with lead tutor giving feedback on intonation and rhythm.
The Palace sage bent over the scriptures and chanting in full meditation. He must be close to 90.
Culture and tradition speak for itself. We are what we are made from . . . a fact hard to deny.

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