Arts, Cultures, Rituals and Other Information of Puro Mangkunagaran


This beautiful, well taken care Palace (Puro=Karaton) is located in the heart of Surakarta (Solo), in between Ranggowarsito, Kartini, Siswa and Teuku Umar streets.

The construction of the Puro dated back in the year of 1757 by the then Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Aryo (K.G.P.A.A) - Mangkoenagoro I (1757-1795). Adipati - Junior King.

The Mangkunagaran Principality was founded after a series of bitter struggles against his family and the Dutch V.O.C (East India Company). In that old days, his nick-name was Pangeran Sambernyowo (Pangeran : prince - Samber : strike or grab with force - Nyowo : soul).

He was very dangerous in the battlefields for his enemies, this brave and brilliant prince has been awarded the title of National Hero by the Indonesian government.

PENDOPO AGENG (The Great Pendopo Pavilion)

It. is in the center of the Palace Compound. Its 3270 sq.m Pendopo is a place to perform banquets and traditional dances accompanied by gamelan music. The gamelan (heirlooms) called 'Kyai Kanyut Mesem' (Drifting in smiles) is one of the best gamelan set in the country.There are also other sets kept here, such as Monggang, Kyai Udan Asih, Udan arum, etc, and also a golden lion statue as a guard.


The Pendopo Ageng is a traditional Javanese Joglo house, it has four main big pillars in the center. Its high rounded ceiling was painted with ornaments contains Javanese phylosophycal teachings.

Kumudawati painting was instructed by K.G.P.A.A. Mangkoenagoro VII in 1937. It was designed by a Dutch architect Karsten and painted by Liem Tho Hien, J.A. Atmowirjoso and their friends. The painting has eight colors in the middle, the philosophycal meaning are :

1. Yellow signifies a preventive against sleepiness
2. Blue against disaster
3. Black against hunger
4. Green against desire or frustration
5. White against lust
6. Rose against fear
7. Red against evil
8. Purple against evil thoughts

Surrounded by 12 (twelve) Javanese zodiac. Kumuda could be interpreted as the eight-leafed nymphaea lotus in Candi Borobudur, representing the jewel of lotus or the notion of perfection. That's mean a man should occupy his mind with spiritual perfection and free it from narrow minded and selfish manners.

Kumudawati ornaments in Mangkunagaran consisted of 12 Javanese Zodiac, 8 divine attributes representing the eight directions and a spectrum of eight colors in the middle of ornaments. Circling the Kumuda center representing the jewel in lotus. Philosophically's mean : Welfare, happiness, peace and eternity.

K.G.P.A.A Mangkoenagoro IX had instructed the renovation at these ornaments and completed in September 1993. Javanese architecture is recognized as simple but elegant. The wooden pillars which support the Pendopo Ageng were taken from the forest of Danalaya (Danalaya woods are preserved only for the Karatons of Yogya and Solo, it is believed to contain supernatural power).

The golden-color of Mangkunagaran is yellowish-green (pareanom) combination as the identity of this kadipaten Anom (Crown Prince) of Mangkunagaran.

Paringgitan is a place to perform Wayang Kulit (leather puppet).

Dalem Ageng (The Great House) it is a traditional house called limasan with eight main pillars. The traditional and sacred ceremonies are performed here.

Sri Mangkoenagoro VII was a collector of ancient goods and valuable arts. There are golden rings, silver and crystal wears, ancient inscription of 903 AD. Gold plated dresses for royal dancers, jewellery, javanese inscriptions on these rings said : 'Srihana sraya gahan ghurnitta dharma hyang' which is meant happiness, protection, fame and glory with you.

There are also magnificent collection of masks from various Indonesian parts, a series of royal portraits and book collection of classical works by Mangkoenagoro Princes, the famous book for Javanese philosophy is Wedotomo.

The interior of the great house is excellent. In the central of the house there is a krobongan, a special room used for a newly married couples, flanked with two statues - one man and one woman in front of the krobongan, on the right and left side, called Loro Blonyo, symbolizing well being.

In the exhibition room there are also the antique royal carriage, named Kyai Condroretno, and a gold genital cover for a queen.

Balewarni, apartement is on the right side of the main house is for the princesses.

Balepeni is on the left side is for the princes.


A building reflects a combination of modern and traditional architecture. There is a dining room here and an elegant dress room for the queen.

General office and library

The Puro compound is equipped with offices taking care of the general administration as well as for business. A good library is also available. Mangkoenagoro families, in the old days, were well known for its good management to run the court companies, properties, plantations, holiday resorts, etc. The Mangkunegoro's court, they had also their own traditional military units, the cavalry and the artillery. The military building was still there.

Arts, Cultures, Rituals and Other Information of Puro Mangkunagaran

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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