Minggu, 29 Juli 2012
Istana Kuning (Yellow Palace) in Pangkalan Bun
Kutaringin's founder was Pangeran Adipati Antakesuma. He was one of the princes in Banjar kingdom. It is said that he'd like to rule on his own, so her brothers let him find his own domain. A legend states that after journeying for a while, he stumbled upon rows of banyan (beringin) tree, thus he named his kingdom Kutaringin.
We were lucky enough to be able to visit Istana Kuning. It was made of ulin (ironwood). Unfortunately, the real palace burned down many years ago. The local government rebuilt the palace, however they did not really listen to the descendants of this kingdom, thus some parts did not resemble the palace in the past. I found it very sad since many parts of the palace, like the courtyard where the king addressed his people, and secret tunnel leading to a nearby banyan tree, were no more.
Here you can see the banyan tree, if my memory serves me right, the secret tunnel from the palace should lead to this place. So that whenever danger was present, the royal family could escape, safe and sound, protecting their lineage.
This is a replica of royal Kutaringin horse carriage. It is said that on certain times, some people might see a beautiful lady on this carriage. With traditional clothes and all, perhaps a lady from the past? Spooky, eh? I did not see anything during my visit, thankfully.
The original one was destroyed during the fire that I mentioned earlier. Too bad. Still, the replica will give you quite an insight about what the lords and ladies of Kutaringin used back then as a mode of transportation.
And here you can see replica of gamelan, traditional music, in Kutaringin. They really use a lot of yellow color, yellow denoting the royal family. I'd love to play it but it seemed disrespectful somehow. Maybe one day, when a festival is held, you will be able to see a similar gamelan being played for the audience.
In the background you can see the replica of what the king and queen might wear in the court back then.
James assured me that it was fine to take pictures, providing you had no evil intention. He told me that some time ago, a tourist took so many pictures of the paintings but none of the kings' faces could be seen. Perhaps the tourist had an evil intention? I asked, jokingly. James replied solemnly that the answer could be that, or, perhaps the ancestors did not take a liking to the tourist. Who knows!
The guides (James is one of them) have their shares of curious tales. Whenever you are in Istana Kuning, feel free to ask them about the stories... and be entertained! (or spooked, if you get scared easily) Make sure to ask about the legends, the stories concerning the palace, and how Pangkalan Bun continues to remain safe and sound after all these years.
It's like a promise. A powerful pact.
And I feel honored that I was able to visit this place, seeing those things with my own very eyes.
It makes me proud that Indonesia has so many cultures and languages and traditions.
Hopefully, one day, I will be able to visit again.