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Imogiri Royal Cemetery (Pemakaman Imogiri)
Imogiri Royal Cemetery (Pemakaman Imogiri)

Imogiri Royal Cemetery (Pemakaman Imogiri)

Imogiri Hill , Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 55782

The Basics

While it’s possible to visit Imogiri independently, most visitors join an Imogiri Kings Cemetery tour not only for the convenience of round-trip transportation and the cultural insights of a guide, but also for help with dressing up in the appropriate costume. A typical Imogiri guide explains the symbolism that lies behind the cemetery architecture, tells you how the three kingdoms came to be, and shows you some significant resting places. A guide might also introduce you to the abdi dalem, or cemetery guardians, and translate as they speak with you about their lives. It’s best to hire a guide in Yogyakarta, though if you speak Indonesian and want to visit on your own, the guardians will be happy to introduce the site to you directly.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • With its colorful culture and long history, Imogiri is perfect for heritage buffs.

  • You can rent the required Javanese court dress for a small fee on arrival. The women’s costume is strapless, so plan accordingly (e.g., wear a strapless bra).

  • Women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the sacred site. Please respect this prohibition. Children are allowed if they are of an age to behave respectfully.

  • You must leave all belongings at the registration desk.

  • The site is reached by a long series of stone steps with no wheelchair access.

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How to Get There

Imogiri Kings Cemetery is about 11 miles (17 kilometers) from the Sultan’s Palace (Kraton) in Yogyakarta. Getting there by public transport is fiddly: catch a city bus to the Giwangan Terminal and then, if your Indonesian is good enough, pick up a bemo minibus. Given the logistical and cultural complexities, many visitors opt to join a tour.

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When to Get There

The graves open to the public three times a week, on Monday morning (generally the quietest time), Friday afternoon, and Sunday morning. Imogiri is closed during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Three times a year, on 1 and 8 Sawal and 10 Bulan Besar per the Javanese calendar, they open for special ceremonies; guides and Yogyakarta Tourist Information can advise when these fall.

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A Tale of Three Kingdoms

Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo, king of the Islamic Mataram Kingdom, built the Imogiri Kings Cemetery for himself and his regal descendants in 1632. Per a civil war treaty dating from 1755, Mataram’s heirs now rule over two separate sultanates (Muslim kingdoms): the cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, also known as Solo. Therefore, today, the cemetery is home to kings, queens, and royal descendants from three separate kingdoms.

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