Pura Mangkunegaran is one of the cultural heritage buildings, representing the wealth of Nusantara traditions and history. In addition to serving as royal members’ residences, this palace has become a cultural tourist destination in Indonesia.
Recently, Pura Mangkunegaran has garnered attention through viral posts on social media. It stands as a cultural tourism destination that combines the acculturation of traditional and modern culture.
The modernization touch happening at Pura Mangkunegaran and the resilience efforts made by the Pura Mangkunegaran administration to minimize the negative impacts of modernization have attracted the attention of the Student Creativity Program team in Social Sciences and Humanities Research at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM).
Syahriza Indra Utomo, Doni Andika Pradana (Philosophy 2020), Daffa Naufal Nurrahmad, Salma Nur Rahmasari (Political Science 2021), and Nurul Athifah (Archaeology 2021) were part of this research team.
They, along with Dr. Sartini, a lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy, conducted an in-depth study on local cultural hybridity as an effort to counter the negative impacts of modernization at Pura Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, Central Java, known as the ‘Millennial Palace.’
This research, which began in June 2023, primarily focuses on the dynamics of modernization at Pura Mangkunegaran.
One of the team members, Doni Pradana, explained that modernization at Pura Mangkunegaran started during the reign of KGPAA Mangkunegara I and continued to the present with KGPAA Mangkunegara X.
“The openness of each reigning king always has its characteristic that becomes the identity of leadership,” Pradana said.
During the reign of Mangkunegara VII, modernization became evident with the construction of a Mangkunegaran societeit or a public meeting place used for discussions among nobles, following the European trend in the 1900s.
“In addition, at that time, there was already a garden in the western area of Pura Mangkunegaran, which served not only as a garden but also included a barbershop and a family swimming pool,” he explained.
Another team member, Salma Rahmasari, emphasized that the garden in the western area of Pura Mangkunegaran, known as Taman Pracima, had been neglected, experiencing damage and decay.
However, during KGPAA Mangkunegara X’s reign, the revitalization of Taman Pracima was promoted, taking inspiration from the condition and structure of the garden during Mangkunegara VII’s rule, adjusted to the modern era’s developments.
Rahmasari explained that revitalizing Taman Pracima adds a ‘millennial’ sense to Pura Mangkunegaran. Most of the visitors, who are from the millennial generation, want to enjoy the beauty of the royal garden in a more contemporary concept.
As a center of Javanese culture, Rahmasari said Pura Mangkunegaran plays an important role in preserving Javanese cultural values and traditions. Despite being open to modernization, this palace has maintained its identity by combining Western and Javanese cultural elements.
“Up to KGPAA Mangkunegara X’s leadership, the acculturation between Javanese and European cultures is still visible, especially in architectural designs. The revitalization of Taman Pracima during Mangkunegara X’s rule reflects an open attitude toward modernization while maintaining Javanese cultural values,” said Rahmasari.
“This attitude creates harmony between tradition and modern progress, giving Pura Mangkunegaran a distinctive character that sets it apart from other palaces.”
Dr. Sartini mentioned that the research conducted by these students uses the perspective of philosophical science, aiming to reveal the dynamics of modernization occurring at Pura Mangkunegaran through the lens of postcolonialism and cultural hybridity theory.
Author: Gusti Grehenson