The Enchantment of The 19th Century Water Garden

Jl. Veteran, Warungboto, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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A very beautiful ancient water garden that was designed privately is found in Warungboto area. The water garden is located amidst the Pesanggarahan Warungboto that had ruined now.

Updated on 1/26/2015

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When we pass by Jalan Veteran (the road directing to the right from the crossroad before Gembira Loka zoo) and see the ruins of a house-like building, we may neglect it as it looks like a common house building. Starting from now, however, we must know that the building is historical since it is one of the pesanggrahans built by Hamengku Buwono II.

The proof of it is that the name of the building is mentioned in one traditional Javanese song telling about Hamengku Buwono II. In that song, the building is not called pesanggrahan Warungboto as current people call it now, but it is named pesanggrahan Rejowinangun. The song itself in overall tells about the success gained during the reign of Hamengku Buwono II.

For some people, visit to this place will be boring, because there is no grandeur we can see. However, tourism does not always mean visiting luxurious places, does it? Simple places, even those that left only remains, must have an attraction. YogYES that visited this site a couple of days ago still found the beauty of some corners even though many parts of the building had been destroyed.

We began exploring the building from the front part or the one in direct border with the main road. This front part is of square shape with the floor made from something like cement. Located in front, this part possibly functioned as a hall or lobby as in modern buildings this time. From the front part, we can see the view of all complex of the pesanggrahan.

On the left side, there is a narrow, downward staircase. We could directly guest that the building of this pesanggrahan was of two stories like other buildings of similar pesanggrahan constructed of two floors. We have to be careful to go downward because there is no holding rail on both sides and much moss grow on most parts of it to make them slippery.

It is in this underground floor that we can see much of the enchanting parts of the building. The most beautiful part is the garden area that is completed with two ponds. The first pond is of circular shape with the diameter of 4.5 meters and the there is a water spring in the center of it. The second pond, on the other hand, is of square shape with the dimension of 10 meters x 4 meters. Those two ponds are adjacent one to each other with the connecting channel that can be seen clearly from the second pond.

We were astonished by the architecture of the pesanggrahan building when we are in this garden area. How could not we be so, the designer of this building that was built in 1800s had thought of the existence of a garden with very private pool, surrounded by other buildings to make it unseen from outside. Besides, the walls encircling it also looked high and thick, signaling the robustness of the ancient buildings.

To the north and south of the pond, there is a sufficient wide door of medium high. The door connects to other part of the underground space. In the east part of the pond, we will see three windows, one is of square shape and the other two are with arch shape on them. While in the west part of the pond, there is one door with an arch at the upper part, connecting to the next two arch doors equipped with some staircases. The last two doors connect the garden area underground to the ground floor.

Returning to the ground floor and explore the south side of the building, we will see the ruins of the wall. The wall was possibly the divider among the rooms in the pesanggrahan. There is unique part of the wall with its uneven surface that is predicted to have ornaments in the past. One robust wall still stands in the front part of the southern side. On the wall, there are square windows.

Actually, when Archeology Department arranged the place in 1980, there were still some ornaments. One of them should be the garuda statue in the south side, and a dragon statue in the east part and one flowerpot as a component of the pond. Unfortunately, YogYES did not find them even though we have explored each corner of the room. You might find one when you visit this location. We might be the only one who missed them!

To visit this place, there are some route alternatives. The easiest to take is when you leave from Kotagede. If we are on the way to Kotagede, we may pass by Jalan Kusumanegara until we get to the crossroad close to SGM milk factory, then we turn right. If we leave from Kotagede, we only have to take Jalan Ngeksigondo to the west direction until we get to Gambiran gas station and we turn right.

This pesanggrahan is relatively easy to reach and we do not have to pay anything to enter the location. One sure thing, when you make your tour to Yogyakarta you will feel to complete your visit if you have come to pesanggrahan Warungboto that used to be utilized by the family members of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat kingdom to meditate.

Text: Yunanto Wiji Utomo
Photo & Artistic: Agung Sulistiono Mabruron
English Translation: Emanuel, Downhill English Services

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