HISTORY OF JOGJA, The Drum Band and The Monarchy

It was 5am and a cool 18 degrees celsius in Jogjakarta and there was not much activity out on the streets.  In the north there were nebulous sounds coming through the mist and passing through the kampung settlement along the Code River. It was a harmonic composition with the sound of a drum beat, not just one drum, but lots of drums. People say that if we try to seek it in the north, the sound moves to the south, if we seek it to the west, the sound moves to the east.  It has been named the ‘Drum Band Soul’.

Nobody knows where the sound comes from, whether it is human, a lost soul or natural phenomenon and mysteriously it only sounds in the morning and the evening. The urban legend lives in the  daily life of Jogjakarta. There is not only the Drum Band Soul but other urban legends such as Nyai Roro Kidul, Merapi Mountain and the Sacred Tress at Alun-Alun.  It is just like an ancient city where its citizens live with legends, curses and local traditions. Not only are there ancient customs which continually linger on in daily life but also the modern ones. Jogjakarta is a mixture of modern and traditional.

Yogyakarta was the centre of the Mataram Dynasty after the Giyanti Agreement in 1755. Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, a Prince who was exiled from Kasunanan Castle, moved to the south. He built a palace on the new site about 60 kilometers from his ex-castle. First, the palace was located in Imogiri and then moved to Gamping and finally it was moved to the inner city. People say that Hamengkubuwono got a sign in his dream, so he needed to act on it.
The development of the inner city based in the Jogjakarta Palace is central in the mind and heart of its citizens. Hamengkubuwono built a 20 meter high fortress which is the centre of economic, military and culture of the empire. Kumpungs such as Taman Sari and Kauman Ngasem are old kampungs but modern lifestyle has overtaken them.

After the Independence of the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX and Sri Paku Alam VIII launched a statement that the Kasultanan and Kadipaten (the two royal regions), belonged as a part of the whole area of the Indonesia Republic. Since then, it has been known as Yogyakarta Special Region.

Jogjakarta is a unique provincial government as it is the only province in Indonesia where the government is lead by the  Sultan who is also the King of Jogjakarta Palace. The policy was resolved after the Jogjakarta monarchy installed its authority into the Indonesian Republic in 1945. In the era of the struggle for independence, the monarchy of Jogjakarta also gave financial support to the republic.

Jogjakarta Province has 6 administration districts which are known as kabupaten and these are Bantul, Sleman, Kota Jogjakarta, Kulonprogo and Gunung Kidul. Each kabupaten has a bupati (political leader), who is elected by citizens every 5 years. There are unique areas which are popular tourist destinations such as Sleman which has  agro villages, or Gunung Kidul which has a beautiful white sand beach and natural caves.

Text. Danu Primanto
Editor. Tasha May



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Posted by on Sep 11 2011. Filed under News, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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