Tugu Jogja, The Symbol Of People’s Unity in Yogyakarta

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Tugu Yogyakarta is located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta Province. Currently, Tugu Yogyakarta is one of the famous tourist attractions in Yogyakarta. Almost all the time, many tourists want to capture memories when visiting Jogja by taking pictures in this place.

This monument is a marker for the northern boundary of Yogyakarta City. Initially, this monument was named Tugu Golong Gilig and is now known as Tugu Pal Putih (pal also means monument) because the color of the paint used is white.

History of the Tugu Yogyakarta

Tugu Jogja was built after the construction of the Jogja Palace in 1756 by Sri Sultan Hamangku Buwono I, the founder of the Yogyakarta palace. The Yogyakarta Palace was built based on Javanese concepts with reference to existing natural landscapes, such as mountains, seas, rivers, and land.
The embodiment of the concept into the spatial layout of the Yogyakarta Palace resulted from the life journey of Sultan Mangkubumi.

The main principle used as the basis for the construction of the palace by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I is the Hamemayu Hayuning Bawono concept. This means making bawono (nature) hayu (beautiful) and rahayu (safe and sustainable). These concepts were embodied by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I with the South Sea and Mount Merapi as the axis.

Tugu Jogja has a symbolic value of the unity of the people and is a magical line because it connects the South Sea, the Yogyakarta Palace, and Mount Merapi. When it was first built, the building clearly depicted Manunggaling Kawula Gusti, namely the spirit of unity of the people and the rulers to fight the colonizers.
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The spirit of unity or what is called golong gilig is clearly depicted in the monument building. The pillar of the monument is shaped like a gilig (cylinder) and the peak is shaped like a golong (round), finally the monument is called Tugu Golong-Gilig. Another function of the monument is as a reference point when Sri Sultan Hamangku Buwono I meditated facing the peak of Mount Merapi at that time.

The Tugu Golong Gilig was originally 25 meters high. The top of the monument is shaped like a ball, so it is called “golong”, while the body of the monument is shaped like a truncated cone that is round and long (gilig). Because the monument is white, in Dutch it is called De Witte Paal. Therefore, this monument is also often referred to as the White Pal Monument.

Philosophically, the Tugu Golong Gilig Monument symbolizes the unity of creation, feeling, and will to face the Creator (the unification of all wills to face the Creator). The color white was chosen to symbolize purity of heart which should be the basis for this effort.

Tugu Golong Gilig is flanked by two villages, namely Pingit (storing) in the West and Gondolayu (corpse odor) in the East. This naming has the meaning that when humans are about to start a journey towards the Creator, the first thing to do is to leave behind things that smell bad.

From Tugu Golong Gilig to the south, there is a road named Jalan Margatama which means the road to virtue. Next is Jalan Maliabara (Jalan Malioboro) which means the use of a “torch” of light, namely the teachings of the saints. To the south again is Jalan Margamulya which means the road to glory. To get there, humans must be able to expel (ngurak) bad desires. Therefore the next road is named Jalan Pangurakan.

On June 10, 1867, the condition of the monument changed completely, which was when a major earthquake struck Yogyakarta. This condition caused the Tugu building to collapse. The Golong Gilig Monument fracture was left for twenty-two years without any attempt to repair it.
The renovation of the new monument was carried out when Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VII was in charge. He ordered Patih Dalem Danureja V to supervise the construction and be responsible for its funding. Patih Dalem Danureja V was a palace official (a kind of prime minister) who ran the government and also sided with the Dutch East Indies government. During the construction process, the Patih was assisted by an architect chosen by the colonial government named Y.P.F. Van Brussel.

When the Dutch government renovated the entire Tugu building, a new building was made using the lower part of the Golong Gilig Monument. The new monument, which was inaugurated on October 3, 1889, has four marble inscriptions embedded on its four sides. Each inscription is written in Javanese script and reads as follows: on the west side: “Yasan Dalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana Hingkang Kaping VII”, on the right side: “Yasan Dalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana Hingkang Kaping VII”, on the east side: “Yasan Dalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana Hingkang Kaping VII”, on the west side: “Yasan Dalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana Hingkang Kaping VII”, on the east … west side: “Yasan Dalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwawan Hingkang Kaping VII”, on the south side: “Wiwara Harja Manggala Praja Kaping 7 Sapar Alip 1819”, on the east side: “Hingkang Mangayubagya Karsa Dalem Kangjeng Tuwan Resident Y. Mullemester”, and north side: “Pakaryanipun Sinambadan Patih Dalem Kangjeng Raden Adipati Danureja Hingkang Kaping V Kaundhagen Dening Tuwan YPF Van Brussel Opsihter Waterstaat”.

The renovation changed the shape of the monument from its original shape. The part of the monument is no longer round but rather a pointed cone. Since then, the monument has been called De White Paal or the White Pal Monument. The height of the monument is 15 meters or 10 meters lower than its original shape.
In fact, the renovation was a Dutch tactic to erode the unity between the people and the king. To eliminate the message of unity and oneness like the Golong Gilig Monument, the Dutch colonial government actually designed a monument that was different from its original form. However, seeing the struggle of the people and the king in Yogyakarta that occurred afterwards, the Dutch tactic was unsuccessful.
Tugu Jogja has four physical forms, namely a stepped box at the bottom as a base, a box with inscriptions on each side, a blunt pyramid with ornaments attached to each side, and the peak of the monument which is shaped like a spiral cone.
These forms are combined with ornaments that have Javanese symbols, such as dry (Hasta Karya), arrows, “waru” leaves, loto leaves, lotus leaves, janget kinatelon, praba forms, six-pointed stars, rows of dots or ceceg, diamonds, water drop shapes, and setiliran.

In addition, there are Javanese writings on all four sides. The colors used on the monument are a combination of dark chocolate and gold found at the top of the Yogyakarta Monument. The geometric shape of the monument consists of blocks, prisms, and bud-like twists.

That is the description of the history of the Tugu Jogja Monument and the philosophical meaning behind it. Hopefully useful. Come and witness the beauty and cultural richness of Yogyakarta. Discover the charm of Jogjakarta with Yogyakarta Tour to visit various interesting destinations such as Borobudur & Prambanan Temple, Sultan Palace – Tamansari Watercastle, and also Merapi Mount Sunrise.

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