Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon a Place When Three Religions and Cultures Unite

Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon a Place When Three Religions and Cultures Unite
Cirebon a a city that located at West Java Province, Indonesia. It is located on north coast of Java that is known as Pantura that connected Jakarta – Cirebon – Semarang – Surabaya.

At the beginning, Cirebon came from the word Sarumban. Cirebon was a small village that built by Ki Gedeng Tapa. As time went by, Cirebon became a crowded village and the name was also changed to be Caruban (Carub at Cirebon means tight-knit). It was given the name like this because at Caruban there were many people that came from different tribes. They were Sundanese, Javanese, Chinese and Arab tribe, religion, language and customs. Then, the pronunciation of Caruban changed to be Carbon and Cerbon.

Besides because of the naming of Cirebon, it was also caused by the livehood of the people there. Some of the people there were fishermen so they worked to catch fish and rebon (small shrimps) along the beach. It was also caused by the making of “terasi, petis” and salt. From the term of residual water when they made “terasi” (Cirebon called belendrang) that was made of the residual processing “udang rebon” so spread Cai-rebon (Sundanese means rebon water) and then changed to be Cirebon.

If you go to Cirebon, it is not complete if you haven’t visited Karepuhan Palace of Cirebon. The location of the palace is on Jl. Kasepuhan No 43, Mandalangan, Kasepuhan, Lemah Wungkk, Cirebon, West Java Province of Indoneia. It just needs 30 minutes from Kejaksan Railway station and 30 minutes from Harjamukti Bus Station of Cirebon. The coordinat of the place is 06º 43' 559" South latitude and 108º 34' 244" East longitude

The History of Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon


Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon was built by Pangeran Cakrabuana on the era of Islam Development or on 1529. At the beginning of the construction of Kasepuhan Palace it was the elaboration of Pakungwati palace the oldest palace at Cirebon. Pakungwati palace was located on the east of Kasepuhan palace, built by Pangeran Cakrabuana the son of Pajajaran King on 1452. The development had the same time with Tajug Pejlagrahan that located in the eastern.

The named of Pakungwati was from the name of Queen Dewi Pakungwati biti Pangeran Cakrabuana who married with Snan Gunung Jati. She passed away on 1549 on Great Mosque Sang Cipta Rasa. Her name immortalized and glorified by the ancestry of Sunan Gunung Jati to be the name of Pakungwati Palace and now to be Kasepuhan Palace was the Islamic Kingdom where the founding of Cirebon enthroned. Here was the Central government of Kasultanan Cirebon.

Pn 1969, there was internal conflict on Kasultanan Cirebon. It made the region divided to be Kesultanan Kanoman and Kasepuhan. Kesultanan Kanoman was led by Pangeran Kartawijaya and titled Sultan Anom I. While Kasultanan Kasepuhan was led by Pangeran Martawijaya and titled Sultan Sepuh I. Both of sultan were siblings and they stayed at their own palace.

The Singularity of Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon


Visiting Kasepuhan palace as is you visit Cirebon at past. The existance of Kasepuhan Palace reinforces that there had acculturation process at Cirebon. The acculturation was not only among Java culture and Sunda culture but also with the culture in the world like Chinese, India, Arac and Europe.

It forms the identity and tipical of the people at Cirebon nowadays. They are not Java nor Sunda. This impression will be felt when we enter the palace in the first time. The existance of two statues of white tigers at the gate. It shows that Kasultanan Cirebon is the generation of Pajajaran Kingdom. It also shows the Hindu infulence as the religion of Pajajaran Kingdom.

The gate is like a temple at Bali, the carving at the door of the gate is Europe style, the fence of Siti Hinggil is ceramics from China and the wall that surrounded the palace is made from the red brick special architecture from Java. All of them is the proof of acculturation.

The nuance of acculturation is more obvious when we enter in the front room that function as museum. At this room there are many knick knacks special from Java Kingdom like ancient chariot, two ancient palaquins and some ancient arms. At this museum the tourits can see many kinds of souvernir collections like jewelry, abroad weapons like gun from Egypt, cannon from the Mongolian and Portuguese armor.

The throne is made from simple wood with the becaground of nine colour flags. It shows Wali Songo. It proofs that Kesultanan Cirebon also influenced by Java and Islam. Beside this at the back yard the tourists can see the garden palace and some sacred wells. This region is crowded visiting by the people especially when celebrate Maulid Nabi Muhammad SAW

Beside as the central of the government, at its prime Kasepuhan Palace also to be the center to spread Islam at West Java. The influence of Islam can be seen on the building in the palace. For example the number of the poles. There are five poles that shows Rukun Islam and six poles shows Rukun Iman. At Pringgadani ward there was a painting “Ali Tiger” from Middle East. Ali tiger was a symbol of Cirebon at past. Beside this there is small Langgar that used to pray and read Holy Qur’an.

Some effects of Feng Shui can be seen at the arrangement of the way at the palace complex that is not tend to straight. Reputedly, the aisle to the main ward also made turn on porch. The unsure of Chinese Culture also seen on the colour of the building that is dominated by gold and green. The complex of Kasepuhan also surrounded by water as representation of sea. It means as humility and breadth of heart. When the tourists enter the complex of palace, they will pass the bridge above the little river and the water is still flow until now.

Next to the palace garden is the first yard of palace that very closed with Hindu culture. To enter and pass this yard there is two gates i.e. Adi Gate and Banteng Gate. Both of the gates are located in north and south and they also make from red brick. The shape of the gates are taper up like a mountain and completed with some stairs. This shape is the character of Hindu-Buddhist building

Architecture and Interior


If we see the outer condition of Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon, it can be seen the combination of Europe unsure like cannon and lion statue in the front garden. The furniture, glass table with French style used to accept the guesses who want to meet Sultan. As stated above, the gate with Bali carving style and the wood door with French style show the cosmopolitan of Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon.

Sultan Cirebon has predilection to adopt style and architecture from Europe to fulfill some parts at Kasepuhan Palace. We can see the model and the carving on the meeting room – a place where ultan and his ministers do the meeting that is made almost same interior of French Kingdom under Bourbon Dynasty. It is like the chair style, table, and chandelier. There are nine combinations interior style. We can see nine colour clothes as the backgroud of throne. The nine colour clothes symbolize of Wali Songo.

Another interesting things from Kasepuhan Cirebon palace is there are some original chinas from China as trimmer on all walls at Kaepuhan Palace Cirebon. The chinas can we found almost all parts at Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon.

After we passed Pancaratna and Pancaniti, the next we will enter the first yard. We must pass Adi Gate and Banteng Gate. Adi Gate is a gate with dimention 3.70 x 1.30 x 5 meters made from bricks. Adi Gate is on the north of Siti Hinggil. Banteng Gate is a gate with bentar shape with dimention 5.50 x 9 meters. This gate is bigger and higher that Adi gate.

First yard is Siti Hinggil complex. At this complex there are some building likes Mande Pendawa Lima that function to sit for king gusrd, Mande Malang Semirang that function to Sit Timadu king seeing the event on the royal square, Mande Semar Timandu is the building to sit king advisory. Mande Karesmen is a building to perform the art for king and Mandi Pengiring is a building for king bridesmaids. There is still a building with dimention 17 x 9.5 meters. It is called Pengada. Its function is a place to check the guess who want to meet king.

The second yard is restricted by brick wall. On the north part of the fence, there are two gates – Regol Pengada and Lonceng Gate. Regol Pengada is en entrance gate to the third yard with dimention 5 x 6.5 meters. Its gate with shape Paduraksa using stone and wood door. Lonceng Gate is located in the eastern of Pengada Gate with the dimention 3.10 x 5 x 3 meters. The shape of this gate is Koriagung (roofed archway) using brick as the base material.

The second yard is divided by two parts. Pengada yard and the yard for Langgar Agung Complex. The dimention of Pengada yard is 37 x 37 meters that function to park the vehicles or tether horses. At this yard, there was a well for horses to drink. Langgar Agung faces to the east, with the dimention 6 x 6 meter. The terrace is 8 x 2.5 meters. So, the shape of this building is like inverted letter T. It is caused the front terrace is bigger than the main building. The terrace has half wood wall from the surface of the floor then the half upper is wood trellises. The wall in the main building made of stone wall. The shape of Mihrab is a curve with dimention 5 x 3 x 3 meters. On the mihrab there is a wood rostrum with dimention 0.90 x 0.70 x 2 meters.

The roof of Langgar Agung is two overlapping roof by using shingle. The construction of the roof consists of 4 main poles. Langgar Agung has yard with dimention 37 x 17 meters. The fuction of Langgar Agung is a place to pray the family members of the palace. The building of Langgar Agung is also completed with Pos Bedug Somogiri. The shape of this building that faces east is square with dimention 4 x 4 meters and there is a “bedug”. This buiding has no wall and the shape of the roof is pyramid. The cover of the roof supported by four main poles and five supporting poles.

Between second yard and third yard there is a wall that function as barrier with the gate. The dimention is 4 x 6.5 x 4 meters. This gate is completed by two doors made from wood and if it opens and closed will put out the voice. So this door called Gledeg (thunder) door. On the third yard there are some buildings, such as :

- Taman Bunderan Dewandaru (Dewandaru Park Roundabout)
The sketch of this yard is ovate and makes from stones. The name of the rock is Bunder. This name has meaning agreed. Dewa means Gods or Ghost and Ndaru means light. So the meaning of Dewandari is the people illuminate people who lifes in the darkness. The spacious of garden is 20m2. At this garden there are nandi, soko tree that symbolizes fun and happy, 2 lion statues symbolize Pajajaran, table and two stools of cannon named Ki Santomo and Nyi Santoni.

- Ancient Objects Museum
This building faces east and the shape is letter “E”. There are two doors at that building. Some ancient objects from Kasepuhan Palace Cirebon are saved at this place.

- Cart Museum
The museum faces west and on the eastern of Dewandaru Park Roundabout. The museum has measurement 13.5 x 11 meters. On the museum there some carts and other things.

- Tunggu Manunggal
The building is short stone + 50 cm and surrounded by 8 vases. It symbolized Allah is only one

- Lunjuk
The building that faces east has dimention 10 x 7 meters has function to serve the guess. The guess writes and report what they want when meet the king.

- Sri Manganti
The building is on the east of Tugu Manunggal and the shape is square. This building opens without wall, with four poles, 12 middle poles and 12 outer poles. The roof is fullfilled with white and brown carving. The name of the building is Sri Manganti. Sri means king and manganti means waiting. So the whole meaning is wait the king decision.

- Main Building of Palace
The main building of the palace is a place where the king does his activities. There are some rooms that have different functions, such as:

  • Kuncung and Kutagara Wadasan. It was built on 1678 by Sultan Sepuh 1. Kuncung is the building that has dimention 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 meters. It used to park the Sultan vehicle. Kutagara Wadasan is a white gate with the special characteristics of Cirebon with dimention width 2.5 m and height + 2.5 meters. The style of Cirebon can be seen on the bottom part of the gate. On the bottom, there is with wadasan carving and the upper with Mega Mendung carving. The meaning of the carving is as the leader he must have the strong base or Sultan must protect his subordinates and the people . 
  • Jinem Pangrawit is a building as palace porch. The name Jinem Pangrawit comes from the word Jinem or Kajinem means place for working and Pangrawit comes form rawit or small, smooth and good. The floor is from marmoreal, the wall is white and decorate with Europe ceramics. The roof supports by 4 wood poles with concrete pedestals. This room is used Pangeran Patih and vice sultan to accept the guess. 
  • Gajang Nguling is a room without wall and there are 3 meters six round columns with tuscan style. This room has floor tiles and the green ceiling. It is not lengthwise room but oblique room and it merges with Pringgodani ward. The shape of this room is like elephant reveals with its trunk. This building was built by Sultan Sepuh IX on 1845. 
  • Pringgadani ward is a room on the south of Gajah Nguling room. This room has square green four main poles and its function was used for Cirebon Regent, Kuningan, Indramayu and Majalengka when they wanted to face King. Sometimes, this room also used as venue for the people. 
  • Prabayasa Ward is located on the south of Pringgadani ward. “Prabayasa” comes from the word Praba means wing and yasa means big. The words has meaning that Sultan protects his people with his both big hands. On the wall there is a relief named Kembang Kanigaran means symbol of the palace. It means that Sultan must lead the kingdom with his mercy. 
  • Bangsal Agung Panembahan is a room that on the south and one meter higher that Prabayaksa ward. The function is as Gusti Panembahan’s throne. The room is still original and there is no renovation since 1529. 
  • Pungkuran is a porch that located behind the palace. The function of this room is to put “sesaji” when Maulid Nabi Muhammad celebration 
  • The Maulud kitchen is located in front of Kaputren” faces east that function as a place to cook when they celebrate Maulid Nabi Muhammad SAW. 
  • Pemburatan is a building on the south of Kaputren. Pambuaran means scratch. Its function is as a place to scratch the fragrant woods to completeness on “sesaji” maulid Nabi SAW.

Ticket Entrance


There are two Palace at Cirebon. They are Kasepuhan and Kanoman. To enter Kasepuhan Palace the domestic tourists must pay 20.000 rupiahs and for students are 15.000 rupiahs while for foreign tourists must pay 70.000 rupiahs.