Istana Mangkunegaran

Istana Mangkunegaran information

Prices
admission 18,000Rp
Opening hours
8.30am-2pm
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Dating back to 1757, the Istana Mangkunegaran is in better condition than the kraton and is the home of the second house of Solo. It was founded after a bitter struggle against Pakubuwono II, launched by his nephew. Members of the aristocratic family still live at the back of the palace.

The centre of the palace compound is the pendopo , a pavilion built in a mix of Javanese and European architectural styles, and one of the largest in the country. Its high, rounded ceiling was painted in 1937 and is intricately decorated with a central flame surrounded by figures of the Javanese zodiac, each painted in its own mystical colour. In Javanese philosophy yellow guards against sleepiness, blue against disease, black against hunger, green against desire, white against lust, rose against fear, red against evil and purple against wicked thoughts.

Behind here is the dalem (residence), which forms the delightful palace museum. Most exhibits are from the personal collection of Mangkunegara VII. On display are gold-plated dresses for royal dances, a superb mask collection, jewellery and a few oddities, including huge Buddhist rings and gold genital covers. A guide is mandatory (and worthwhile) for the museum. Most guides are very informative and speak English (a tip of 25,000Rp is appreciated).

At the pavilion, there's gamelan music, singing and dance-practice sessions on Wednesday, from 10am until noon.