Ulen Sentalu – a Javanese art and culture museum houses hundreds artefact from royal houses and Kraton (Palace) of Mataram Kingdom’s descendance namely; Yogyakarta, Pakualaman, Surakarta, and Mangkunegaran. The collections illustrate the culture and life of Javanese, especially in the new Mataram kingdom period through a largely feminine standpoint.

Ullen Sentalu (photo by Harianpost)

The name Ullen Sentalu is an acronym for “Ulating Blencong Sejatine Tataning Lumaku” which means “the light of life’s journey”. Unlike other museums in Yogyakarta or Indonesia in general, it illustrates the culture and life of Javanese through the perspective of Puteri Kraton (Royal Princesses) of four kingdoms from new age Mataram Royal; Yogyakarta, Pakualaman, Surakarta, and Mangkunegaran.

Located in Kaliurang, on the slope of Mt. Merapi, the choosing of the location has something to do with the Javanese belief who considers Mount Merapi as sacred place. The whole vibe of the museum is full of feminine energy, with a lot of focus given to the feminine figures of the kingdom instead of the Kings and Sultans of Java.

Cool breeze of Kaliurang gently carried the scent around us and accompanied as we walked the maze-like corridors connecting one building to the other. This private museum houses numerous sculptures & paintings depicting the lesser-known members of the Javanese royal family, private photographs and letters they owned, as well as statues excavated from dig sites.

No visitor will be left without a guide because it is the guides who bring life to the museum’s collection through their stories. Visitors must wait for a certain small group quota to be filled up before the tour started. Photography is only allowed in some spots and prohibited during guided tour; so, the visitors can focus more on the story, guided through each room and the collections exhibited.

We journeyed through a labyrinth of chambers containing lifelike paintings of the royal family, incomplete sculptures dug out from excavation sites, batik fabrics belonging to princesses and the princesses’ actual clothes and fashion item throughout the 60-minute tour.

Ullen Sentalu (photo by liburmulu.com)

The next room is to a narrow lane heading underground named Guwo Sela Giri that hosts many beautiful portraits and paintings of Javanese royalty from the four kingdoms. In the Kampung Kambang area that was built above a pool of water, there are five rooms that visitors can visit (Poem Room for Tineke, Royal Ratu Mas Room, Surakarta Batik Room, Yogyakarta Batik Room, Putri Dambaan Room). Each room contains collections of arts and some are tribute to princess or queen of the Palace.

Finally, we arrived in the outside area of the museum. Then guide took us to the Sasana Sekar Bawana, passing through the Retja Landa corridor. This corridor displays statues of gods and goddesses 8-9 century AD, or from the future development of Hinduism and Buddhism in Java.

At the end of the tour, we took a short break at Bale Nitik Rengganis. You will be treated to a special drink called Ratu Mas Jamu, the special recipe a legacy of Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mas, consort of Sunan Paku Buwono X. A herbal drink that promised youth and beauty.

Come & join our trip exploring Jogja. Please contact Matta Tour for more detailed info & itinerary.

Decoration at Ullen Sentalu (photo by areyouhaere.wordpress.com)

Decoration at Ullen Sentalu (photo by areyouhaere.wordpress.com)

Ullen Sentalu (photo by piecesofmyjourney wordpress.com)