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Timings : 08:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Taman Sari Gua Sunyaragi, Cirebon Overview

Taman Sari Gua Sunyaragi is located in Western Java region of Indonesia. It is a cave that is situated in the village of Sunyaragi in Cirebon City. The Sunyaragi cave is a cultural site in Cirebon sprawling over fifteen hectares. The cave has artificial waterfalls, along with beautiful gardens where one can see statues of the Garuda, Virgin Sunti Women and majestic elephants. Taman Sari Gua Sunyaragi cave is a small part of the Pakungwati Palace (now Kasepuhan Palace).

Taman Sari Gua Sunyaragi used to be a water palace for the Sultans of Cirebon. This part of the Javanese island was formerly enveloped by a lot of lakes (in ancient times Lake Jati used to flow in this area), ponds, swimming pools and magnificent waterfalls. 

“Sunyaragi” in the Javanese language literally means “in a silent form”. This place used to be a place of spiritual escape where the Sultans would come to meditate in the serene surroundings.

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History

There are two schools of thought regarding the establishment of the cave. According to the Carub Kanda version, the cave of Sunyaragi was passed down to the generations of the palace. As per this version, Taman Sari was constructed because Pesanggrahan Giri Nur Sapta Rengga was converted into a royal burial. 

According to the second school of thought, the Caruban Nagar version, Sunyaragi was founded by Prince Kararangen, great-grandson of Sunan Gunung Jati.

The caves have been restored a number of times. The first time it was restored was in the year 1852 after the Dutch attack in 1787. The second restoration was carried out by the Dutch colonial government in the year 1937 and it was last renovated by the Directorate of History and Antiquity Protection and Development and Directorate General of Culture from 1976 to 1984.

Architecture

The architecture style can be judged from the structural makeup and motifs on the cave. The designs show classic Indonesian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and European influences. 
  • One can also see Hindu architectural styles in Bale Kambang building, Mande Beling building, the shape of the gates and in sculptures of elephants, the eagle-headed man with a snake wrangling around him. 
  • Carved peach blossoms, sunflowers and lotus flowers on the building walls and complexes highlight the Chinese architectural styles.
  • Since Sunyaragi was under the rule of a Sultan, Middle Eastern and Islamic influences are seen at various places. There are signs of the Qibla at various places, particularly near the prayer area. The rooms or structures are also very similar to those meant for performing ablution.
  • Also Dutch Colonial styles standout through the windows, rotating staircases and through the shape of Pesanggrahan building.
  • The caves are bathed in spirituality and religious sanctity because there are many sacred symbols and expressions that depict the same. The shape of the Jinem Ward is similar to that of the Holy Kaaba. The Balela Hajj Statue resembles the statue of Lord Vishnu.

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