Indonesia Photo Tour – Day 4
By Michelle Alten
As we set out into the city of Yogyakarta in the morning, we already feel the hot sun beating down. I hop from one shady spot to another as we make our way into Keraton Ngayogyakarta, the city’s sultan’s palace. The sultan of Yogyakarta is also the region’s governor, the only royalty in Indonesia who also has a governing role. In the main courtyard, a man reads from a massive tome, a poem that will take weeks to complete. His words travel through the heavy tropical air. Behind him, elaborate gamelon instruments sit silent, waiting for the end of Ramadan. We step into a small museum where we discover handmade batik textiles, each with a unique design, intricately created from wax by a different woman artisan.
After winding through the streets past rickshaws, whose drivers take advantage of a moment to nap, we pose for a photo with some Indonesian girls who are excited to encounter foreign tourists. A short ride through the city’s raucous streets brings us to Taman Sari. Here the labyrinth-like rooms of the sultan’s water palace lead us to discover delicate relief carvings. The palace, begun in the 1700’s, still has pools where the sultan, queens, princesses, and concubines, once found pleasure and refreshment.